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Imperial Life in the Emerald City | [Rajiv Chandrasekaran]

Imperial Life in the Emerald City

The Washington Post's former Baghdad bureau chief, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, takes us into the Green Zone, headquarters for the American occupation in Iraq. In this bubble separated from wartime realities, the task of reconstructing Iraq is in the hands of 20-somethings chosen for their Republican Party loyalty. They pursue irrelevant neoconservative solutions and pie-in-the-sky policies instead of rebuilding looted buildings and restoring electricity, angering the locals and fueling the insurgency.
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Publisher's Summary

In this unprecedented account, The Washington Post's former Baghdad bureau chief, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, takes us into the Green Zone, headquarters for the American occupation in Iraq. In this bubble separated from wartime realities, the task of reconstructing a devastated nation competes with the distractions of a Little America: a half-dozen bars, a disco, a shopping mall - much of it run by Halliburton.

While qualified Americans willing to serve in Iraq are screened for their views on Roe v. Wade, the country is put into the hands of inexperienced 20-somethings chosen for their Republican Party loyalty. Ignoring what Iraqis say they want or need, the team pursues irrelevant neoconservative solutions and pie-in-the-sky policies instead of rebuilding looted buildings and restoring electricity. Their almost comic initiatives anger the locals and fuel the insurgency.

©2006 Rajiv Chandrasekaran; (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • A National Book Award Finalist

"A devastating indictment of the post-invasion failures of the Bush administration." (Booklist)
"An eye-opening tour of ineptitude, misdirection, and the perils of democracy-building." (Newsday)
"With acuity and a fine sense of the absurd, the author peels back the roof to reveal an ant heap of arrogance, ineptitude, and hayseed provincialism." (Boston Globe)
"As chilling an indictment of America's tragic cultural myopia as Graham Greene's prescient 1955 novel of the American debacle in Indochina, The Quiet American." (New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (640 )
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3.8 (318 )
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4.0 (315 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer Columbus, Ohio,USA 03-01-14
    Amazon Customer Columbus, Ohio,USA 03-01-14 Member Since 2014

    I work a lot. I can listen to books while I work. My new hobby. Thank God I can multi-task!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Informative"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Imperial Life in the Emerald City to be better than the print version?

    Maybe, I need to read this book and check the facts. A lot of this I didn't know


    What other book might you compare Imperial Life in the Emerald City to and why?

    Not sure


    What does Ray Porter bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His voice, sounds very "as a matter of fact" kind.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The plight of the Iraqis. Need to double check a lot of these facts, to be convinced that this story is as good as it seems.


    Any additional comments?

    Iwill recommend this book to most of my friends.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Mailloux Los Angeles 02-18-14
    John Mailloux Los Angeles 02-18-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    69
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    Story
    "depressing reminder"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I really wanted to like this book but it literally sucked the life out of me. As each new layer of the onion that was the occupation of Iraq was peeled away I was reminded more and more of why our poor Nation is in debt while billions of dollars were squandered and misspent.


    Has Imperial Life in the Emerald City turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Yes. Incredibly depressing.


    Have you listened to any of Ray Porter’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    How easily it was to scam money from the Bush administration.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Nevada 01-28-14
    Amazon Customer Nevada 01-28-14 Member Since 2015
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    14
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    "Rajiv is right on. What a clairvoyant journalist!"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes- I now understand the truth about "Bubble" American planning. I now understand why most of the planning attempted within the beltway has very little to do with us, outside the beltway.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Imperial Life in the Emerald City?

    Amazed at the channeling of dialog and the great understanding about what others are thinking and saying. NASA should hire the author. I would sleep safer at night.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Ray Porter?

    Sure would.


    Was Imperial Life in the Emerald City worth the listening time?

    Yes I now know the truth about Bush and Cheney. I now can see why the ruling politicians enact such useless regulations for the lowly american citizens. It is the "Bubbles" fault.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-04-13 Member Since 2013

    I work. I ski. I play. I write. I have a family. I garden. I coach. I volunteer. I sketch. I run. I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Disturbing Account"

    This is a good production. The reader is able to distinguish characters well. The story is a disturbing account of the US occupation of Iraq. The book keeps good time.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kassandra Kelly Oregon City, OR USA 11-19-12
    Kassandra Kelly Oregon City, OR USA 11-19-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Great audiobook!"
    Any additional comments?

    I saw the movie first, The Green Zone, and decided to follow up with the source material. Glad I did. Years have passed since the events of this narrative, but it only serves to remind me how hopelessly skewed the whole endeavor was from the outset--and why it didn't have to be. It's tragic.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Fletty 06-12-07
    E. Fletty 06-12-07 Member Since 2012
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    "ILEC Review"

    This was such an enlightening book. I finally feel like I understand why this war is such a fiasco - but written very charitibly in regards to the good intentions of those involved. Very engaging.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Seth 03-30-08
    Seth 03-30-08 Member Since 2011
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    "Amazing"

    Fascinating and detailed account of the American venture in Iraq and how it went so wrong. A must read for students of history or anyone else for that matter.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Sid Vogel 07-04-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Limitations of the American form of Government"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Imperial Life in the Emerald City to be better than the print version?

    I suppose so, it was every easy to listen to, and it is not necessarily a book I will need to refer back to.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Imperial Life in the Emerald City?

    The author's descriptions of all the good people accepting the challenge and danger of trying to create a new, great society in Iraq with all their effort, and their ultimate failure.


    Have you listened to any of Ray Porter’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is a good listen.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Why America can not actually win a war! Our system is the result of our history, and it can not really be exported in the short term, and we should not try.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a great listing of many of the failures of American occupation policy in Iraq. There are very little proposed solutions to these myriad complex problems. The author writes from the level of a private who complains that the sergeants over him do know what they are doing, and the Captain in charge is an idiot, and the Colonel in command has no clue, and the General must be smoking dope and living in a brothel somewhere. Nevertheless, though it is obvious the author really wants to criticize the Republican Administration, and the senior leaders and their ambitious desire to actually make life better for the Iraqis, what he really does is show how the American form of post war occupation, developed generally from WW II Germany and Japan, really can not work. Our government is too big, to complex, to focus on the important things first, and that makes working and securing a post combat occupation almost impossible. We do not have good occupation doctrine and systems, and we probably do not have the ruthless political will needed to pacify and occupy any country and change its culture. Thus, we should not try. In the future, we need to defeat the enemy forces, find the most powerful guy in the country, put him in charge, and bribe him to not to attack us. Other than that, we need to let the locals run their own countries, and save us all a lot of heart ach.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Candace Tracy, CA, United States 02-24-14
    Candace Tracy, CA, United States 02-24-14 Member Since 2012

    Daily commuter relying on Audible to keep awake. I need excitement! If something crazy doesn't happen in the first 20 mins I'm done!

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    "Too boring to endure..."
    What would have made Imperial Life in the Emerald City better?

    I listened to about 1 hour and had to change to something else.


    Has Imperial Life in the Emerald City turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No. I have listened to other spy novels and still love the genre.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Ray Porter?

    Narrator was OK. Storyline was... just... a... snoozefest.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Imperial Life in the Emerald City?

    I didn't get through enough of the book to comment.


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy Perry, Utah, United States 02-18-14
    Tracy Perry, Utah, United States 02-18-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Not worth my time, but maybe you?"
    Would you try another book from Rajiv Chandrasekaran and/or Ray Porter?

    Nah probably not. Just not my interests, never saw the movie, maybe it's good, either way I couldn't even finish the book.


    What was most disappointing about Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s story?

    Really hared to follow with soooo many characters and never quite sure who it is that is telling the story.


    Which character – as performed by Ray Porter – was your favorite?

    none


    Could you see Imperial Life in the Emerald City being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Don't really care who


    Any additional comments?

    Can I get my credit back for this one? Blahhh boring!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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