Iraq War

 

Finkel, David.  The Good Soldiers (Picador, 2010).

It was the last-chance moment of the war. In January 2007, President George W. Bush announced a new strategy for Iraq. It became known as "the surge." Among those called to carry it out were the young, optimistic army infantry soldiers of the 2-16, the battalion nicknamed the Rangers. About to head to a vicious area of Baghdad, they decided the difference would be them.

Fifteen months later, the soldiers returned home — forever changed. The chronicle of their tour is gripping, devastating, and deeply illuminating for anyone with an interest in human conflict.  With The Good Soldiers, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Finkel has produced an eternal story — not just of the Iraq War, but of all wars, for all time. David Finkel is a staff writer for The Washington Post, and is also the leader of the Post’s national reporting team. He won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in 2006 for a series of stories about U.S.-funded democracy efforts in Yemen.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
Winner of the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize
Winner of the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award

 

McCornmick, Patricia.  Purple Heart (Balzer and Bray, 2009).

When Private Matt Duffy wakes up in an army hospital in Iraq, he's honored with a Purple Heart. But he doesn't feel like a hero. There's a memory that haunts him: an image of a young Iraqi boy as a bullet hits his chest. Matt can't shake the feeling that he was somehow involved in his death. But because of a head injury he sustained just moments after the boy was shot, Matt can't quite put all the pieces together.

Eventually Matt is sent back into combat with his squad—Justin, Wolf, and Charlene—the soldiers who have become his family during his time in Iraq. He just wants to go back to being the soldier he once was. But he sees potential threats everywhere and lives in fear of not being able to pull the trigger when the time comes. In combat there is no black-and-white, and Matt soon discovers that the notion of who is guilty is very complicated indeed.  National Book Award Finalist Patricia McCormick has written a visceral and compelling portrait of life in a war zone, where loyalty is valued above all, and death is terrifyingly commonplace.

 

Menendez, Ana.  The Last War: A Novel (HarperPerennial, 2010).

Photojournalist Flash chases conflicts around the globe with her war correspondent husband, Brando. Now Brando is in Iraq awaiting her arrival, but instead of racing to join him, Flash idles in Istanbul, vaguely aware that her marriage is faltering. Her malaise is compounded by the arrival of a mysterious letter revealing Brando's infidelity—and by the sudden appearance of Alexandra, a fierce and captivating colleague who shared dangerous days with the couple in Afghanistan. As Flash spirals deeper into regret, anger, and indecision, she wonders if she and Brando were ever really happy—as she's forced to confront long-buried secrets and hard truths about her world, her marriage, her husband, and herself.

   


Riverbend.  Baghdad Burning (The Feminist Press at CUNY, 2005).

In August 2003, the world gained access to a remarkable new voice: a blog written by a 25-year-old Iraqi woman living in Baghdad, whose identity remained concealed for her own protection. Calling herself Riverbend, she offered searing eyewitness accounts of the everyday realities on the ground, punctuated by astute analysis on the politics behind these events.
In a voice in turn eloquent, angry, reflective and darkly comic, Riverbend recounts stories of life in an occupied city—of neighbors whose homes are raided by US troops, whose relatives disappear into prisons and whose children are kidnapped by money-hungry militias. At times, the tragic blends into the absurd, as she tells of her family jumping out of bed to wash clothes and send e-mails in the middle of the night when the electricity is briefly restored, or of their quest to bury an elderly aunt when the mosques are all overbooked for wakes and the cemeteries are all full. The only Iraqi blogger writing from a woman’s perspective, she also describes a once-secular city where women are now afraid to leave their homes without head covering and a male escort.

Interspersed with these vivid snapshots from daily life are Riverbend’s analyses of everything from the elusive workings of the Iraqi Governing Council to the torture in Abu Ghraib, from the coverage provided by American media and by Al-Jazeera to Bush’s State of the Union speech. Here again, she focuses especially on the fate of women, whose rights and freedoms have fallen victim to rising fundamentalisms in a chaotic postwar society.

With thousands of loyal readers worldwide, the Riverbend blog is widely recognized around the world as a crucial source of information not available through the mainstream media. The book version of this blog will have “value-added” features: an introduction and timeline of events by veteran journalist James Ridgeway, excerpts from Riverbend’s links and an epilogue by Riverbend herself.