Red Zone: Five Bloody Years in Baghdad Hardcover – 3 Apr 2008
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A brilliant, first-hand account of the madness and horror of post invasion Iraq. Poole demonstrates perfect pitch, recounting a story that is by turns terrifying and bizarre, illuminating and moving. --Patrick Bishop, author of Fighter Boys --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
`A brilliant, first-hand account of the madness and horror of post invasion Iraq. Illuminating and moving.' Patrick Bishop, author of Fighter Boys.
Praise for best-selling Black Knights: On the Bloody Road to Baghdad by Oliver Poole (Harper Collins £6.99) 'The best reporter's book of the war so far...the eye-witness accounts of the fighting, the terrible guilt of the soldiers at the killing of civilians, the confusion, the continuous question of why they are there, are exhilarating and chilling.' Robert Fox, Evening Standard.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
His experience results in an insightful book on an incredibly complex situation and importantly for us, his audience, it's written in an approachable and enjoyable way. It may have been the years he spent explaining complex issues to middle-England in a couple of paragraphs, but he's also managed to make it a very good read.
The book isn't easy to categorise; it's part travelogue, part history of the war, part social commentary, part memoir and part analysis of the insurgency and the surge, but this breadth was what actually appealed to me most. Having read it I now have some insight into why it all went so wrong, and given how complex the situation has been over the last five years that's a great achievement because it's very complicated. While it's a good read, and Poole wrote for the Telegraph, this is not a middle-of-the-road book, it's challenging. It challenges preconceptions, it challenges your belief in the US and UK Governments and what they've asked their armed forces to do, as well as what's driving Islamic 'extremism'.
At this point I declare I know the author, but when I reviewed his last book online it didn't get 5 stars, but this gets the full five, because it's a very good book.
Anyway, enough from me. Read it. There a lot of books about Iraq around, but this is one of the few very good ones (apart from mine of course....)
"Well-informed and compassionate." PROSPECT May 2008
"Poole's just-published account of his five years in Baghdad records in unflinching detail the horror of the war." BLOOMBERG May 2008
"As frightening as Baghdad was, his observations on Basra, once the prosperous "Venice of the East", make the most depressing reading. He found it riven by rival militias and corrupt officials, despite the British presence." SOLDIER May 2008
"(Poole)'s aware that talking of the Iraqi people's great triumph over adversity can be seen as an easy cliché, but insists it was his relations with those on the ground which made the unrelenting optimism being spun by many military leaders eventually impossible to bear." YORKSHIRE POST March 20th 2008
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Poole, wisely, doesn’t try to establish an overall theme. Rather “the story of Baghdad” is told in pieces: The heroism and attitude of the soldiers, the suffering of the innocent, the power politics in Iraqi and elsewhere, and in his own story in what it took to “gather the news.”
As one would expect from a journalist attached to a major newspaper, Poole’s writing is clear, informative, and objective. Despite there being many aspects to the storyline, the narrative is straight-forward. Red zone is quite graphic in places, but that is the reality of war. Poole does not sensationalize the horrors of war, but neither does he sugar-coat the carnage.
Iraq was, and remains, a dangerous place for journalists. Part of the proceeds from the sale of Red Zone, goes to PEN an organization devoted to protecting freedom of the press. For his decency in forgoing “maximum profit” to support journalistic freedom, his unique view as a British journalist, and for his clear writing, Poole deserves five stars for Red Zone
The title is accurate enough, but the book describes bloody and less bloody periods, and takes the reader all around Iraq, to neighboring countries, and to England. We see the war from the perspective of journalists, soldiers, and Iraqis from all sorts of backgrounds. We gain a better understanding of five years' worth of headlines as major events are incorporated in a tale of social changes and the experiences of individual characters.
Truly a brilliantly done book by a long-time reporter for the British newspaper, the Telegraph. Sadly, the Telegraph got a new editor and began insisting on pro-war propaganda. And sadly for us if not him, Poole settled down in England and started a family. So, the war goes on, short one reporter. And it didn't have many to spare.
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