Tells what it was really like to be in Iraq just before and as the American troops came in. The details she shares put my understanding of the occupation/invasion of Iraq into a more realistic perspective.
The courage and grace of the author/reporter, the woman, and how she brought understanding to the Iraqi people are really remarkable. She makes it so personal - funny and heartbreaking. I heard her report from Bagdad for NPR just the other day after a bombing in the green zone - I cried when I heard her voice shake. I was glad my new "friend" was Okay.
I read a review (elsewhere) that chided Anne Garrels for reporting on ?local color?, it is that local color that helps to paint the picture of the Iraq that we find ourselves struggling with today. The people she met, the stories they told, the future they predicted, all came together to help me, a true non-student of politics, understand the situation a bit better.
I?d love a follow-up done sometime ? what has happened to some of the people she knew in the year or so since she left Baghdad? What else do we need to hear from Iraq?s people? not the militants, but the true, proud, Iraqi people who deeply want the future they dared dream of?
The story says much ? both in what has been written, as well as by what was not said. This is not a review of American policy, but a glimpse into the Iraq of late 2002 and early 2003.
As a long-time listener of NPR, I ?knew? many of the players of whom Ms Garrels spoke. I felt as though I was worrying about friends? friends that I had listened to during the days leading up to the war, and through those tumultuous early days after the fall of Baghdad. This book gave me the other side of the story ? and told me what it took to get the story. The picture is more complete now ? although I suspect it will never have all of the spaces filled in.
The audio version was outstanding. The narration by the author moved with the story, leading me to think that she was, perhaps, envisioning the events again as they unfolded. It felt very much ?present tense?. The e-mails from Vint Lawrence added a break and contrast, and truly enhanced the tale.
In many ways, this book is a set of love stories ? a husband and a wife, a journalist and her profession, a man and his country? and they are all deeply, and inexplicably, intertwined.
Thank you all, for sharing your stories with me.
A good audio book, with the exception of the irritating, terrible monotone “Brenda Bulletins” by “V”. The material in these pieces could have easily been incorporated into the author’s story, thereby eliminating what was a needless distraction to an otherwise good listen; and where did “V” get his voice training for heaven’s sake?
Not too heavy on the political analysis, Anne Garrels' book is simply a fascinating, sometimes gripping account of the life, the business, and the busy-ness, of being a war correspondent in the 00's. Beautifully read by Anne and her husband Vint Lawrence. While other reviewers have complained about Vint's "Brenda bulletins" their very mundaneness completes the picture: a journalist has a life beyond her/his work, and Vint's emails are a reminder of what Garrels leaves behind in her wanderings abroad. A terrific listen.
Ann does a great job of providing a balanced report of the Iraq War, primarily how it is affecting the daily lives of the Iraqi people. One page may describe an Iraqi who is happy to be liberated & the next page may describe an Iraqi who feels they had it better under Saddam. I was impressed with the balanced reporting. I would listen to it again.
This made my Top 5 best non-fiction books from Audible, not only for Garrels' honest and insightful writing, but also because we are blessed with hours of her professional voice instead of NPR's usual few minutes. I disagree with the negative opinion regarding her husband's updates. As the one who was left behind when my husband went to the Gulf in 2003, I can appreciate V's position and I liked hearing from "the other half." The voices of those left at home are just as important, and his Brenda Bulletins round out Anne's character and give us a more complete picture of her as a person. We meet the woman, not just the war correspondent. Given that she sees her "fixers" in several war-torn countries as part of her family, it's nice to know a little about that family thru V's updates. Wonderful book!
This was a truly powerful piece of writing and narration. The author has an amazing ability to help you to see, smell, taste and feel what is happening around her. It added a great deal of depth to her reporting (which I listened--and listen-- to avidly). I found myself sitting in the car to hear just a little more, which is a great compliment. This was very moving, sad, funny and disturbing--and wonderful. If you want to know what it is like in a totalitarian country (I've been in one, and the border crossings and politics are all the same) and what war is like on the ground. It humanizes the Iraqi people, which is also great.
As an Army officer who was in Baghdad six months after this book took place, I recognized a lot of the places she was talking about (the hotel she was in was across the Tigris from my post) and understood some of the situations she encountered. This book was a different look at the same world I was in, and my husband (who was also in Baghdad) and I really enjoyed listening to it. It was interesting to see what life was like in Baghdad before the occupation, and what the initial battles were like from the journalist's point of view. Her husband's emails were very eloquent; I almost looked forward to them as much as the rest of the story! An interesting look at Baghdad before, during, and after the American troops arrived.