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4.4 out of 5 stars48
4.4 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 24 August 2007
Having read 'My year in Iraq' by Bremer, this was the ultimate antidote. This describes the stunning stupidity, arrogance and naivety around the US's occupation in Iraq. Just incredible, jaw-dropping....
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on 6 April 2008
Rajiv Chandrasekarans's fine book delves into the madness of the Green Zone, the American civilian reconstructions headquarters. Chapter by chapter he outlines the mistakes, incompetence and arrogance of the (Bush/Republican party) US invasion and the failed attempts to impose US "values" on a deeply divided, war torn, complex and damaged nation.
Personable and engaging this is a must read for anyone interested in the Iraq invasion, middle eastern affairs or US politics.
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on 20 March 2008
This book is a fantastic read - hard to put down from an entertainment point of view. It's quite incredible to get the inside track on how the reconstruction of Iraq was mis-managed, but more generally I found this really useful as an insight (for British managers) into how Americans do business. I work for a US multinational, and reading this book was a step change for me in understanding the corporate politics that I live with every day. Highly recommended.
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on 5 May 2007
Well written, apparently very well informed account of life in Baghdad during the American occupation by an experienced and knowledgeable correspondent. If this had been predicted, you would not have believed it. A jaw-dropping account and highly recommended.
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on 9 July 2013
I bought it on the basis that it was an inspiration for the film 'Green Zone' but it turned to be far more than that.
The film itself was so-so and shows what Hollywood can do to serious subjects while HBO & Co.are left to do the serious drama these days.

The book is well researched and written although the degree of isolation of these mandarins starts to become repetitive towards the end. By the time of the 'handover' to the Iraqis most of these executives had realised things were going wrong from day -180 but it seems the Viceroy will continue to believe they delivered democracy to another liberated country country - job well done.

It's purely a coincidence I was reading this book as I started to watch 'Oliver Stone's Untold History of the US' but there's such a resonance in the two subjects that I would recommend them both to you whether you are a hawk or a dove.
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on 1 August 2007
A good read. Having served out there and often found myself in the HQ for the CPA I now know from reading this highly informative 'The bigger picture, what the head sheds got up to' book that my observations were bang on! Definately one for your,'Gentlemen, hostilities are over in Iraq!!!' shelf.
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on 29 December 2015
Great book but don't be fooled by Matt Damon on the cover - the movie has almost nothing to do with the book, although the director Greengrass did use it for background.

It's a heartbreaking tale of waste and incompetence and American arrogance totally failing to understand the nation they had 'liberated' and pissing off even the people who had most reason to be grateful. I love almost every American person I know but in foreign affairs, even when they mean well, their government stumbles about like a drunken troll, squandering money and goodwill and human life on a massive scale. This book recounts every excruciating moment of that process in Iraq. George W Bush should be forced to read it over and over for the rest of his life.
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on 13 April 2010
As a resident of Ocean Cliffs and having worked daily in the Palace, I can only say how acutely observed this book is, he truly paints a devastatingly accurate picture of the drama of the absurd that was Iraq in 2004.
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on 22 May 2014
This is an interestiung account of the Gulf War and its aftermath by yhe author who is an assisyant managing editor at the Washington Post.
He clearly demonstrster the Coalition action to make Iraq a democratic country was doomed to failure due to lack of planing,stupidity,incompetence,coruption and infighting which resulted in the wholesale destruction by looting and the total failure of policy by American woo made no effort to understtand Arab personality and language.
The author considers Iraq ended up much worse than under Sadam and that the whole action was misconeived.
Vety thought provoking.
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on 20 January 2016
Fascinating and depressing account of American idiocy in Iraq. Quite how the movie 'Green Zone' was based on this book I have no idea (as the book barely deals with WMDs), but I hope Chandrasekaran got lots of lovely royalties. Slightly embarrassed on the tube to be reading a book with Matt Damon on the cover ... I'm sure the original cover signalled greater intellectual heft, but you can't tell a book etc etc. Recommended!
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