The Spymaster of Baghdad: A True Story of Bravery, Family, and Patriotism in the Battle Against ISIS

Margaret Coker. Dey Street, $28.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-294742-0
Journalist Coker debuts with a fascinating, character-driven chronicle of the battle against al-Qaeda and ISIS in Iraq. She centers her account on Abu Ali al-Basri, leader of an elite Iraqi intelligence unit known as “the Falcons,” and two young men under his command. Framing the book with the joint Iraqi-American raid that resulted in the death of ISIS mastermind Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2019, Coker follows brothers Harith and Munaf al-Sudani as they endure family strife, the fall of Saddam Hussein, and the violence of the postinvasion insurgency before finally settling into vital roles on al-Basri’s spy team. Coker juxtaposes their heroic journey with the descent of Abrar al-Kubaisi, a young Sunni woman whose despair over the American occupation of Iraq led to her radicalization by ISIS. Coker ties the threads of the narrative together in a gripping and well-crafted conclusion worthy of a spy novel. Though she paints a vivid and harrowing picture of the fallout from the Iraq War, it is Coker’s focus on the resilience and bravery of Iraqis who are leading the fight to rebuild their country that lifts this book above other accounts of the war on terror. The result is a dramatic and edifying must-read for espionage fans and anyone interested in Middle Eastern affairs. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 10/14/2020
Release date: 02/23/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-294743-7
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-06-306320-4
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