Written after her well-known 'The Bookseller of Kabul', Seierstad provides the reader with a compelling account of the run up to, course of, and post war situation in Iraq. The book is as much about the author herself as it is about the people of Iraq. Thus, it is interesting on two levels: firstly as an insight into the life of a war correspondent, and secondly as an exploration of the effects of war on the population of Baghdad.
The book consists of three sections entitled 'Before', 'During' and 'After' respectively. Seierstad doesn't deal directly with the questions surrounding the morality of the Iraq war, but does what all good journalists should do - report the facts and events on the ground as she sees them. Inevitably though, Seierstad hints at her own feelings about the war, particularly when the harsh, blood-stained reality rears its ugly head.
Seierstad is also perceptive enough to have exposed those issues which the coalition forces did not grapple with before taking the decision to go to war; the potentially explosive Shia-Sunni rivalry and the growing influence of Islam. Indeed, the apocalyptic views expressed by some of the Baghdadis Seierstad meets regarding the aftermath of Saddam's overthrow have become eerily true since 2003.
Above all, this book shows that war is not only a destructive force for those directly involved, such as the citizens of Baghdad and the soldiers on both sides, but also for those who find themselves drawn into the war through choice - the war correspondents. Read it for a deeper understanding of what messrs Bush and Blair's 'War on Terror' does to those people who they insist need to be 'liberated' from tyranny.