Every Man in This Village Is a Liar: An Education in War

Megan K. Stack, Author . Doubleday $26.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-385-52716-3

An American reporter takes in one Middle East cataclysm after another in this searing memoir. Los Angeles Times correspondent Stack covered the war in Afghanistan after Sept. 11, then bounced around to other hot-spot postings, including Israel during the second Intifada, occupied Baghdad, and southern Lebanon during the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Stack offers gripping accounts of the sorrows of war, especially of the traumas Afghan and Lebanese civilians endured under American and Israeli bombing, but she also writes evocatively of quieter pathologies: Libya’s jovially sinister totalitarian regime, corruption under Egypt’s quasi-dictatorship, and lyric anti-Semitism at a Yemeni poetry slam. Dropping journalistic detachment in favor of a novelistic style, she enters the story as a protagonist whose travails—fending off a lecherous Afghan warlord, seething under the humiliating restrictions of Saudi Arabia’s gender apartheid system—illuminate the societies she encounters. The big-picture lessons Stack draws—“The Middle East goes crazy and we go along with it”—are none too cogent, but her vivid, atmospheric prose and keen empathy make her a superb observer of the region’s horrific particulars. (Jun.)

Reviewed on: 02/08/2010
Release date: 06/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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