Some good stuff here, a few already on my shelf
On the Iraq theme, I recommend: Waging Peace: A Special Operations Team's Battle to Rebuild Iraq
by Rob Schultheis
From Publishers Weekly
Veteran war correspondent Schultheis (Night Letters: Inside Wartime Afghanistan) spent six months in Iraq with an Army Civil Affairs Team, a highly trained, elite unit whose primary objective is rebuilding war-torn regions. Despite the overwhelming need for such soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, the army has only a single active-duty Civil Affairs Battalion, and the overwhelming majority of the 5,000 Civil Affairs soldiers are in the army reserves. The dedicated professionals of Civil Affairs Team A-13 featured here are a disparate group of civilian soldiers. Led by a former Special Forces major, the team includes an ex–Peace Corps volunteer, a California surfer girl, a former Marine sniper with a heart of gold and "Fat Larry," an accountant from middle America. Civil Affairs soldiers never initiate combat, but it finds them often enough. As they go about rebuilding schools, repairing sewers and setting up mobile walk-in medical clinics, they also must dodge roadside bombs, snipers and mortars. Schultheis quickly bonds with Team A-13 and celebrates their small victories against difficult odds in a surreal environment, delivering warm character studies and tense highway encounters. And he ends up making a terrific case for a full update of the Marshall Plan.
Like the review says, it's about a reconstruction team working in Baghdad, a lesser known side of the iraq war history; interesting and not too heavy or long. Amazon Link
Recommend:Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War
by Anthony Shadid
Most of the accounts of the Iraq War so far have been, to use the term the war made famous, embedded in one way or another: many officially so with American troops, most others limited--by mobility, interest, or understanding--to the American experience of the conflict. In Night Draws Near, Washington Post reporter Anthony Shadid writes about a side of the war that Americans have heard little about. His beat, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 2004, is the territory outside the barricaded, air-conditioned Green Zone: the Iraqi streets and, more often, the apartments and houses, darkened by blackouts and shaken by explosions, where most Iraqis wait out Saddam, the invasion, and three nearly unbroken decades of war.
Shadid is Lebanese American, born in Oklahoma, and he has a fluency in Arabic and an understanding of Arab culture that give him a rare access to and a great empathy for the people whose stories he tells. Beginning in the days leading up to the American invasion and closing with an epilogue on the January 2005 elections, he talks with Iraqis from a wide range of stations, from educated Baghdad professionals who look back on the country's golden days in the 1970s to a sullen, terrified group of Iraqi policemen in the Sunni Triangle, shunned as collaborators for taking jobs with the Americans to feed their families. (Perhaps his most telling and characteristic moment is when he trails behind an American patrol, recording the often hostile Iraqi comments that the soldiers themselves can't understand.) He takes the ground view and gives his witnesses the particularity they deserve, but the various voices share an exhaustion with a country that has seen nothing but war for 30 years and a frustration with a liberator that has not fulfilled its promises of prosperity and order. It's a despairing but eye-opening account, told with an understanding of the Iraqi people--hospitable, proud, and often desperate--that, were it more common, might have led to a different outcome than the one he describes. --Tom Nissley
Excellent, if somewhat sad, read. A view from "the other side" so to speak. One comes away with an appreciation and empathy for what Iraq has been through. Amazon
I found both of these titles at my city library btw..they are both worth owning, but if you're broke or just cheap, library FTW
Last edited by Vax (2009-01-03 15:28:46)