In his powerful debut, a young Newsweek reporter details two tumultuous years covering the war while falling in love with his long-distance girlfriend Andi, who would join him in Iraq only to be killed in a botched kidnapping. Largely concerned with describing on-the-ground conditions, Hastings reports with insight and grim humor from the front lines, embedded with soldiers in ""a world with its own language and geography."" Hastings handles the grisly particulars directly, the way he talks with the troops; the account is pocked with their tales, short bursts of heart-stopping sadness (""One American and at least fifteen Iraqi children killed"") with no lesson or redemption indicated, and often without follow-up. The chaos is given shape by Hastings' romance with Andi, who remains in New York for a year before joining him in the Green Zone; dates, emails and instant messages provide a welcome reprieve, and drive the narrative toward its devestating conclusion like a tightly-plotted thriller. Like Mariane Pearl's A Mighty Heart, this is a tragic love story with broad appeal married to an unflinching account of wartime violence and brutality; as such, it should do even more than that bestseller to fill in a general audience on the dire state of Iraq. Photos.