THE FREEDOM: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq

Christian Parenti, Author, Teru Kuwayama, Photographer . New Press $21.95 (211p) ISBN 978-1-56584-948-8

This collection of dispatches from in and around Baghdad emerges from Nation reporter Parenti's time embedded with U.S. soldiers as well as ventures out on his own. The book's main interest is that it provides access to people not heard from often enough: with a translator, Parenti interviews sheikhs, hospital staff, young prostitutes, aid workers and the families of civilians killed by American troops or disappeared into prisons like Abu Ghraib. The results make what's happening on the ground significantly more vivid and disturbing than most conventional news reports. Parenti also describes incompetence and corruption in reconstruction efforts, as well as killings and humiliations of Iraqi citizens that work to push young men into the ranks of the insurgency. He talks to American soldiers in the barracks and on patrol who hope that (but aren't sure if) they are doing the right thing. Over Parenti's three trips to Iraq from December 2003 to June 2004, relationships between all aspects of the U.S. military and Iraqi society become further entrenched in violence, hatred and chaos, all exacerbated by a lack of potable water and a still disabled electrical grid. It's a grim story, and it feels real. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/18/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 211 pages - 978-1-59558-037-5
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