NAKED IN BAGHDAD

Anne Garrels, Author, Vint Lawrence, Other . Farrar, Straus & Giroux $22 (222p) ISBN 978-0-374-52903-1

It is hard not to admire Garrels. Enduring everything from bombing raids and artillery barrages to bad food, corrupt officials and aggressive border guards, this veteran war correspondent continued to report for NPR from her perch at the Palestine Hotel throughout the coalition drive toward Baghdad. After all the major television networks pulled out their staffs, Garrels stayed in the middle of it, painting with words the only picture available to most Americans of what was going on in the center of Iraqi power and in the hearts and minds of the frightened and confused residents. Though she writes in the same clear, straightforward prose familiar to radio listeners, the powerful stuff of her live broadcasts translates poorly to the written page in this day-by-day account of her experience. She admits her limited purview, restricted in what she could see by the Iraqi Information Ministry and later by the hazards of the battlefield, and with the manuscript completed only months after her return, the reader is left feeling that reflection is not Garrels's strong suit. There are some nice details, like an Information Ministry staffer asking Garrels for batteries for his shortwave radio so he can "find out what's really going on." But her off-the-cuff impressions of the response of ordinary Iraqis to the war, which rang so true at the time, come off now as obvious and overly simple. This account works well as a personal narrative of courage under fire, suffering and survival, but unfortunately, it lacks in insightful commentary and summing up of events. 15-city author tour. (Sept. 17)

Reviewed on: 08/25/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-59397-358-2
Paperback - 246 pages - 978-0-312-42419-0
Hardcover - 328 pages - 978-1-58724-604-3
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4299-3071-0
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