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Publisher's Summary

When Emma Sky, an intrepid young British woman, volunteered to help rebuild Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, she had little idea what she was letting herself in for: a tour that would last over a decade, longer than that of any senior military or political official. As the only adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Kirkuk and the closest confidante to US General Odierno, Sky was valued for her controversial voice and outsider's point of view - during the most painful stages of the war, she was one of the few to develop friendships and relationships with both Iraqis and Americans alike.

In the West, violence in Iraq is typically explained away as the symptom of psychopathic terrorists, blurring and arbitrary colonial borders, and ancient hatreds between Sunni and Shia. But the violence stems from weak governance and corrupt elites, empowered by the US-led coalition, who use sectarianism to mobilize support and fail to deliver service to the meet the needs of the country's citizens. Women and men, Iraqis and Americans, soldiers and civilians, the ordinary and yet extraordinary, Western cultures and Eastern all collide in Iraq.

©2015 Emma Sky (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"This authoritative first-person account is a must-read for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the complexity of the Iraq war, and the road to the current crises with the Islamic State." (Publishers Weekly Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Inspiring memoir; irritating narration

The pronunciation of Arabic words and names is poor in most audible.com books about the Middle East. This is understandable, and mostly forgivable given the inaccessibility of the language. But narrator Henrietta Meire belongs in a class of her own. She can pronounce "Iraq" and "Saddam Hussein," but for everything else, she's just winging it. She mangles even commonly known terms like Sunni, which she pronounces to rhyme with bunny -- and since this word occurs hundreds of times in the book, it is quite distracting. She has notable lapses in English as well, to include pronouncing Rumsfeld as Rumsfield, and corps (as in an Army Corps) to sound like corpse.

With that caveat made, this is a great book about the Iraq War. Sky was against the war, but spent nearly a decade there working closely with the US Army to make the aftermath succeed. Which it did, very briefly, following the surge, before collapsing again. Sky's story humanizes everyone involved, whether Iraqi, American, British, civilian or military. Worth a listen, despite the narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good not great

Someone desperately needed to tell the narrator how to pronounce not only iraqi names but also words such as "baton" and "reneged." Makes it rather difficult to listen to

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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In-depth review of failures and success in Iraq

Strong story telling by the author. The story behind the success and failures of US and Coalition decisions. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

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Unique insight and remarkable story

Emma Sky helps regular folks understand the coalition in the Iraq War & some of the key Iraqi leaders and citizens working for an Iraqi future. Ultimately it is a sad story of tremendous effort, and near victory, unraveling to violence and chaos. Screen writers should craft a version for the movies, as it could help explain a tragic period in Iraq & the west to a larger audience.

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A phenomenal story with a perfect narrator

What did you love best about The Unraveling?

It was a story I didn't know. I was against the Iraq war, then listened to this and learned so much. It changed my thoughts and knowledge of the Iraq war.

What did you like best about this story?

The raw emotion that comes through from the unraveling of this amazing story.

Which scene was your favorite?

The end was intense and so heartfelt.

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

All of it. The true story of one woman's journey. How a democratic society was created.

Any additional comments?

This isn't brilliantly put together, but you will learn a lot. It was great to learn so much about Iraq and what was done to help the people and create a democracy. Everyone should read/listen to this book - you will learn so much.The narrator for the book is utterly wonderful. She's clear, concise and factual, letting emotion creep in when needed. Towards the end you can hear hints of devastation in her voice whilst still being factual and concise.So glad I bought this book. Highly recommend it.

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wonderful book, but terrible narrator

I heard Emma Sky at the Auckland Writes Festival and she was extraordinary. Why was a narrator selected who mispronounces so many places and names that listening becomes unbearable. Please reissue this important work with a competent narrator.