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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, witty diary of the War in Iraq from a man in Iraq, 17 Sep 2003
B. Yeoh - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Baghdad Blog (Paperback)
This book is pretty much a must-read for anyone wishing to have an insight into how people lived through the war on Iraq. It's also a great read, for those who want a witty, intriguing, thoughtful view on why the world is how it is and in particular, a view from Iraq.
In September 2002, a young Iraqi calling himself Salam Pax began posting accounts of everyday life in Baghdad on to the Internet. Written in English, in the form of a 'blog' ( a form of web log/diary for those of you who haven't come across them yet - they've been a huge internet phenomenon over the last two years) , these bulletins contained everything from musings on his CD collection to open criticisms of Saddam's regime.
Many didn't believe Salam was from Iraq at the time. He was taking a risk that could have cost him his life. The diary entries soon attracted a worldwide readership and as the American-led force gathered to invade Iraq, Salam's diary became an extraordinary record of the expectation, resentment, bemusement, horror and sheer terror felt by a man living through the final days of a long dictatorship, and the chaos in its aftermath.
Salam has continued to write and it is his humour and irreverence (and a healthy dose of cynicism) that make his diaries so readable. That it records an amazing moment (for better or for worse we are still to find out) is almost incidental.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good Raed, 5 Sep 2005
The Honest Cynic (UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Baghdad Blog (Paperback)
I never thought reading a book of someone's personal blog could be quite so interesting (I say interesting rather than fascinating because really its just opinionated musings of daily life, only during the recent war in Iraq). These are really just letters published on the Internet so Pax's friend Raed in Jordan can read them.
Somehow you feel drawn to this book because it goes against something that would never have been allowed in controlled Iraq, although all it really is is a published web log, copied-and-pasted straight off the Internet.
Somehow it grips because of all this inside information. Many times does Pax put himself at risk just to keep his blog updated. Friends and relations are reduced to first initials or pseudonyms as to not give away identities, and only a mysterious blog-friend Diana is entrusted with many of his secrets.
What gripes me about this book is that its available for viewing on the Internet completely free of charge in its original format.

What is also difficult is there are footnotes at the bottom of nearly every page! This means you have to do a lot of referencing in order to understand some of what you're reading.

Its also quite hard for people who have never 'blogged' before to understand the layout of it.

Fortunately for me I picked it up in the library though...

A good read? Yes.
Finally there's something I can read and at the same time look back on when comparing it to what I saw on the news at the time. It was a risk writing something like this, but reading it fascinates the mind as you experience the same images we saw on TV only through the eyes of someone in Iraq at the. Its humorous and well written and I recommend it to anyone interested in Iraq affairs or just those who need a better understanding of a land constantly in our headlines portrayed in a such a negative way.

Read the book, it will change some of your opinions. Although as I said, its also free to read on Pax's blogsite anyway.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable insight into real-life, non-fundamentalist Iraq, 26 Sep 2005
This review is from: The Baghdad Blog (Paperback)
This informative, often entertaining, but often serious book is a collection of blogs (diary entries on the internet) by an every-day, professional Iraqi before, during and shortly after the Iraq war. The period covered is from 7 September 2002 to 28 June 2003.
This document gives a valuable insight into real-life, non-fundamentalist Iraq. Salam Pax (a pseudonym) is like any other young person anywhere. His reports cover much of ordinary life, especially music, but particularly the developing political situation.
When the book begins, Saddam is still in power. Salam Pax risks his life criticising Saddam on the net. Despite his contempt for Saddam, however, he is very concerned about the impending war and the prospect of invasion.
As the war gets under way, he travels to the south of the country to help those in need. So we really get quite a detailed picture of the country at that time.
The one drawback with this book is that, because it's a collection of blogs, starting reading feels like walking in part way through a conversation. But stick with it - it's worthwhile.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Salam Pax The Baghdad Blog: at his Ranting Best!!!, 2 May 2011
Matloub Husayn-Ali-Khan "Matloub" (South Yorkshire, Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Baghdad Blog (Paperback)
This is a very amusing, witty, incisive and serious collection of blogs/writings of what life was like in pre-war Iraq of 2002 and after post-war Iraq of 2003. Despite, Salam Pax's renowned anonymity his account clearly proves his authenticity after you consider some of the misinformation (fog of war) reporting tactics of the BBC with regard to 20th March 2003 incidents of US take-over of Iraqi state Radio was not wholly true and Salam Pax's blogs proves it beyond doubt. Other examples include the Guardian Newspaper & the BBC World Service getting it completely wrong in the case of the house arrest of the Iraqi defence minister was confused with something that happened to another senior military General in 1989 & the actual Defence Minister in 2003 was not under house arrest or related to Saddam Hussein through marriage.

Interestingly, there is something in this book that I can read at the same time and look back to the time when I saw the historical events unfold on the world's news screens and make comparisons to what I thought. Ironically, I can definitely connect with and share many of the sentiments of anticipation, resentment, bemusement and impending fear and chaos of military action. Salam states his own position on the war & what sanctions had done to Iraq over the years prior to 2003 at his "Rant" page and he also admitted his dislike of the politics of human shield activist from outside Iraq & their contradictory nature.

Finally, the book is well written and I would highly recommend anyone to buy it and who is interested in gaining a better insight into the Iraq war of 2003 & the region that has remained in the headlines and for the most part has been given negative coverage.
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The Baghdad Blog
The Baghdad Blog by Pax Salam (Paperback - 5 Sep 2003)
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