The Fall of Baghdad

Anderson, Jon Lee

Published by Little, Brown Book Group, 2006
ISBN 10: 0349118787 / ISBN 13: 9780349118789
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Synopsis: For every great historical event, there is seemingly always one reporter whose eyewitness accounts are infused with such power and literary impact that they become joined with the subject in our minds. Widely considered the on-the-ground authority by both journalists and news sources, Jon Lee Anderson’s dispatches out of Baghdad for the New Yorker were hailed as the best writing published anywhere on the war. The Fall of Baghdad is a masterpiece of literary reportage about the experience of ordinary Iraqis living through the endgame of the Saddam Hussein regime, its violent fall, and the troubled American occupation. In channeling a tragedy of epic dimensions through the stories of real people caught up in the whirlwind of history, Jon Lee Anderson has written a book of timeless significance.

Review: The press coverage of the second Iraq war was notable for the American military's program assigning journalists to be "embedded" with specific military units. While this afforded more personal coverage, the reportage was inherently narrow, missing out on the larger perspective of a sprawling and complex situation and telling stories only from the American troops' point of view. Such is not the case in The Fall of Baghdad, journalist Jon Lee Anderson's harrowing account of the Americans' capture of the Iraqi capital. Anderson was not embedded but on the ground in Baghdad and recounts the increasing anxiety and dread of Iraqi citizens as they try to prepare as best they can for a seemingly inevitable invasion. Not only were the Iraqis fearing for their lives, dwelling as they did in what they knew to be the largest target city in the nation, they also lived in fear of Saddam Hussein while he was still in power and so projected a facade of desperate optimism and unfailing loyalty. Anderson chronicles the collapse of this feigned allegiance and the Iraqi people's joy of being free of Saddam but also reports hints of the kind of anti-American sentiment that would come to deadly fruition in the months following the end of conventional fighting. Additionally, Anderson tells of the journalists covering the war, who struggled with the conflict between their drive to tell the story of what was happening and their desire to stay alive. Anderson keeps the scope of his book limited to the situation within Baghdad, omitting any mention of the larger political issues related to the war, which means that the book is not only non-partisan and highly focused but also incredibly claustrophobic, capturing the feeling of being trapped in a city about to be devastated. --John Moe

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Fall of Baghdad
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publication Date: 2006
Book Condition: Good
Edition: New Ed.

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