A pair of Marine veterans, one of them a bestselling author, traveled from Kuwait to Baghdad with the First Marine Division in the recent war, moving each day with the lead elements. They describe everything they saw in The March Up, which was bought at Bantam Dell for publication in November. The authors are F.J. (Bing) West, author of the Vietnam tale The Village and the recent bestselling novel The Pepperdogs, and retired Maj. Gen. Ray L. Smith, who have more than 60 years' combat experience between them. Unlike "embedded" correspondents, who remained with the same units throughout, West and Smith were allowed to be extremely mobile, always close to the action. The book, which is expected to include color illustrations, was acquired for world rights by John Flicker from agent Dan Mandel at Sanford Greenburger.
In other recent Iraq war book deals, Harper's David Hirshey bought a book by Mohammed Odeh al-Rehaief, the Iraqi lawyer who led American troops to the rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch, and who is now in the U.S. with his family; his coauthor will be Jeff Coplon, and Hirshey hopes to have the book, which he bought on an exclusive offer from Esther Newberg at ICM, out by October. Henry Holt publisher John Sterling bought world rights to an account of his war experiences as a Washington Post correspondent in Iraq by Pulitzer Prize—winning reporter Rick Atkinson. This was also a world rights deal, made with Washington agent Rafe Sagalyn, and Holt will publish next spring. Meanwhile, a contrarian account, Bush in Babylon: Recolonizing Iraq by Tariq Ali, novelist and political activist (and the author of The Clash of Fundamentalisms) will be rushed out for the fall by Verso. The house's Niels Hooper, who commissioned the book, said it would deal with the administration's imperial ambitions, the issue of war profiteering by Bush cronies and the extent of Iraqi resistance to American occupation.