A FIST IN THE HORNET'S NEST: On the Ground in Baghdad Before, During and After the War

Richard Engel, Author . Hyperion $22.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4013-0115-6

Journalist Engel's gripping account of the recent war in Iraq begins with himself rushing around in flak jacket and helmet to videotape an attack on Baghdad's Palestine Hotel, a woman journalist nearby shouting, "We're all going to die"; he conveys his shock on learning the hotel, which housed Western journalists, had been fired on by an American tank. This scene is just the first of many vivid depictions of Engel's life in the war zone. Unlike most U.S. correspondents, who covered the war "embedded" with U.S. troops, Engel worked apart from the troops as ABC-TV's main Baghdad correspondent. The world he describes is filled with fascinating, terrible dynamics: he depicts local residents waiting with a strange calm for the fighting to begin; journalists attempting to outwit the Iraqi "minders" assigned by Saddam Hussein's regime to watch over them; Iraqis overjoyed at Saddam's fall but ambivalent about a Western occupation. He also describes the experience of reporting while ducking both American and Iraqi shooting; in one incident, he relates, reporters became "human shields," providing cover for Iraqis firing anti-aircraft missiles at American planes. Engel navigates a tightrope: he conveys the excitement of being a war correspondent without neglecting the horrifying aspects of war. Most important, he manages to convey an accurate, balanced portrayal of Iraq both during the war and after. As a result, this book might restore some of the public's lost faith in journalism. (Mar. 3)

Reviewed on: 01/19/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
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FORMATS
Hardcover - 280 pages - 978-0-7862-6558-9
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-1-4013-9929-0
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-4013-0762-2
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-5034-4
Ebook - 978-1-4013-9926-9
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