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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.

Critic Reviews

  • 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 Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • M Munger
  • San Diego, CA United States
  • 05-04-15

Addition educational perspective on complex topic

Easy listening & enjoyable no matter what your viewpoint.
Added more perspective to a subject that gets a lot of spin.
Worth the listen.

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Good not great

Good information and good narration story could have been more in depth and more epilogue would have been nice too

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  • jon
  • Meridian, ID, United States
  • 03-29-14

He shoots he scores

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

I don't have time to read for pleasure, so this is the only way I can digest books like this.

Any additional comments?

I am a veteran, and I lived through this with a front row seat. The stupidity and corruption described in this book only scratches the surface. Read this book, and the next time you feel like the government has the answers, remember what you learned from this tragic story.

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Sad but true.

What a story...ill planned and carried out even worse, how can a country go to war without any idea of what the plan is once you've won...Iraq could have been a tremendous success but instead it left a nation that is growing more terrorists and making live even more risky. The book makes that very clear. Ray Porter did an excellent job bring a difficult book to life.

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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.

  • Overall
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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.

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  • Story

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.

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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

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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

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Devastating Indictment

I think even the most passionate opponent of Operation Desert Freedom hoped that the Bush administration knew more than we did, or had thought things out deeper than we had, or had a plan we were not privy to. History has proven that none of that was true, and this book documents just how little preparation and thought preceded the military decision to invade.

This book is a case history in the folly of trying to impose cultural values at the point of a gun. Of course the U.S. government should have known this was folly - the British empire had demonstrated it in the same region 80 years before. But perhaps nobody in the administration had read David Fromkin's "A Peace to End All Peace".

Hopefully, both Fromkin's book and this one by Rajiv Chandrashekaran will be required reading for all future administrations.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful