Imperial Life In The Emerald City: Inside Baghdad's s Green Zone

Author(s): Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Military | Middle East

An unprecedented account of life in Baghdad's Green Zone . . . the enclave that was the headquarters for the American occupation of Iraq. Imperial Life in the Emerald City is an unprecedented account of life in Baghdad's Green Zone, a walled-off enclave of towering plants, posh villas, and sparkling swimming pools that was the headquarters for the American occupation of Iraq. The Washington Post's former Baghdad bureau chief Rajiv Chandrasekaran takes us with him into the Zone: into a bubble, cut off from wartime realities, where the task of reconstructing a devastated nation competed with the distractions of a Little America - a half-dozen bars stocked with cold beer, a disco where women showed up in hot pants, a movie theatre that screened shoot-'em-up films, an all-you-could-eat buffet piled high with pork, a shopping mall that sold pornographic movies, a parking lot filled with shiny new SUVs, and a snappy dry-cleaning service - much of it run by Halliburton. Most Iraqis were barred from entering the Emerald City for fear they would blow it up. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and internal documents, Chandrasekaran tells the story of the people and ideas that inhabited the Green Zone during the occupation, from the imperial viceroy L. Paul Bremer III to the fleet of men hired to implement the idea that Americans could build a Jeffersonian democracy in an embattled Middle Eastern country.


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A brilliant evocation of the American occupation of Iraq - as if Michael Herr's Despatches had been rewritten by Joseph Heller in Catch 22-mode.A classic of American reportage.One of Richard Eyre's books of 2006 (Guardian, 25th November 2006): it 'reads like fiction, but sadly it isn't. It graphically describes the barely credible story of the establishment and disintegration of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad: a tragic tale of naivety, hubris, waste and wilful ignorance.'

Winner of BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2007. Shortlisted for Guardian First Book Award 2007 and British Book Awards: Waterstones Newcomer of the Year Award 2008.

'A vividly detailed portrait of the Green Zone and the Coalition Provisional Authority (which ran Iraq's government from April 2003 to June 2004) that becomes a metaphor for the administration's larger failings in Iraq... reads like something out of "Catch-22"' New York Times 'A riveting tale of American misadventure...a mission doomed to failure before it had even been launched' Samantha Power, author of 'A Problem from Hell' 'Full of jaw-dropping tales of the myriad large and small ways in which Bremer and his team poured fuel into the lethal cauldron that is today's Iraq' Washington Post 'An indispensable saga of how the American liberation of Iraq turned to chaos, calamity, and civil war' Rick Atkinson, author of 'An Army at Dawn'

Rajiv Chandrasekaran is an assisting managing editor of The Washington Post, where he has worked since 1994. He previously served the Post as a bureau chief in Baghdad, Cairo, and Southeast Asia, and as a correspondent covering the war in Afghanistan. He recently completed a term as journalist-in-residence at the International Reporting Project at the Johns Hopkins school for Advanced International Studies, and was a public policy scholar at the Wodrow Wilson International Center. He lives in Washington, D.C.

General Fields

  • : 9780747591788
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • : January 2007
  • : 216mm X 135mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Rajiv Chandrasekaran
  • : Paperback
  • : very good
  • : 368
  • : maps