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Hardcover War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq Book

ISBN: 1416563040

ISBN13: 9781416563044

War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

In the most dramatic and intimate account of battle reporting since Michael Herr's classic Dispatches , NBC News's award-winning Middle East Bureau Chief, Richard Engel, offers an unvarnished and often emotional account of five years in Iraq. Engel is the longest serving broadcaster in Iraq and the only American television reporter to cover the country continuously before, during, and after the 2003 U.S. invasion. Fluent in Arabic, he has had unrivaled...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings


Anyone supporting the war in Iraq needs to read this book. No holds bared, account of life in Iraq during the occupation. A must read.

richard engel in print

this is an excellent book by a journalist who practices his art with intelligence and guts. no dumbing down for the evening news broadcast here. he actually goes into specific details as to the religious conflicts wracking the country. america and the muslim world both suffer from a serious misunderstanding of the other side's motives and way of things. mr engel opens up quite a bit more in his journal than he ever was able to do on air. if you want to know the real story, get a solid understanding of what we are up against and how ham fisted our dealing with this mission is, this is the book for you. graphic, scary, anxious moments are not spared the reader.

Insight into Islam

I have just finished reading this book and - WOW - what an education! Engel explains differences between Sunni and Shiite from how they communicate to how they express their religion. Honestly, this is a difficult book to read. Engel doesn't soften anything. He tells it like he saw it and sometimes it is very graphic. In his telling though, is an easy to follow chronology from 2003 to today that helps the reader understand what happened and how the situation in Iraq got all twisted up. It's a tough book, but it's honest and all the events are linked in a way that makes sense. If you're wondering, how did Iraq turn into the situation we have today? Read this book.

Incredible - Both Engel and His Book!

Richard Engel came to the Mid-East about 12 years ago without a job, little money ($2,000), and no knowledge of Arabic. Now he is head of the MSNBC Bureau in Iraq, fluent in Arabic, and backed by NBC. That, in itself, is an incredible story. "War Journal," however, spends little time on Engel himself. It begins with telling how it felt to descend into Saddam's spider-hole, and goes on to observe that the rising power of Shiites in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon is the most significant shift in the region in decades. (Turns out Iran had a strong hand in selecting the Shiite candidates in our greatly heralded first Iraqi elections.) "War Journal" tells the real story from Iraq's front lines, not the official blather dispensed from the "Green Zone." Engel wastes no time telling readers that many Iraqi army officers felt betrayed by Bremer's telling them to "get lost" after giving them token payments and their having obeyed American instructions to not fight. As for Al-Qaeda in Iraq - Engel states that Saddam allowed a few of their jidhadists in when the U.S. invasion seemed inevitable, but undoubtedly would have run them back out if the U.S. had not invaded. We also learn that Bin Laden planned to suck the U.S. into a war of attrition in Afghanistan post 9/11, but did not forsee locals turning on Al Qaeda. "Support Our Troops" became a bad joke when contrasted with the poor or non-existent equipment American troops had in Iraq. Hussein's tyranny became replaced by constant kidnappings and midnight murders of sectarian enemies. Engel also tells the heart-breaking story of a grocer's young daughter kidnapped for ransom - when the father learns she has been raped, he tells the kidnappers he doesn't want her back, and she is killed. Throughout "War Journal," Engel takes us first hand on multiple missions to attack suspected insurgent havens, replenish front-line troops, and in one case, rescue a soldier left behind. Another big insight from "War Journal" is that while "The Surge" appears to be working, it is mostly due to ethnic cleansing having been completed (3 million refugees have left), and Mahdi Army leaders having decided to lie low - not actual military or political success. Meanwhile, faction leaders continue to jockey for position while American troops are killed and wounded. Engel was invited to brief Bush II, whom he found to be attentive and knowledgeable about Iraq. Engel suggested undertaking a major diplomatic initiative - Iran and Syria do not want to face the army that took Saddam's apart (the one that killed half a million Iranians in the 1980s) in 21 days with only 150 deaths; meanwhile, they are attempting to tie us down by sending agents into Iraq. (In fact, Engel is angered by our waging war without a peace process.) Engel also pointed out that Iraqi democracy is a sham - Shiites simply follow the Ayatollah, and the Sunnis don't participate. Finally, Engel observes that Bush doesn't understand how Arabs negotiate, and m

National Dialogue

Heard a book interview with author, today on NPR. Mr. Engel's concise and keen knowledge and appreciation of the culture, coupled with his language skills left me with a realistic impression of what lies ahead regarding the alliances and treaties being formed in the lull of a war-torn society. What struck me most was the caller who asked if we are getting the whole story from the media and leaders of our country. Without hesitation, Mr. Engel said, 'what we assess as illogical and as irrational reasons for war is not without its own logic.' Based on the observations that history and events have led to what he identified as five (5) separate wars, I believe he has made his case. This informative book, without embellishment provides compelling talking points necessary to our national dialogue on the subject. This timely assessment should be on every citizen's must read list.
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