Gilbert Cruz
October 27, 2006 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Imperial Life in the Emerald City

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Rajiv Chandrasekaran
publisher
Knopf
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it an A

In this incredible piece of Iraq reportage, the Washington Post‘s former Baghdad bureau chief explores life inside the Green Zone, the walled-off headquarters for U.S. authorities there. In one of his innumerable great anecdotes, a group of U.S. civilian workers partying beside a Green Zone palace pool run scared from the sound of gunfire, only to later discover that it was Iraqis celebrating their inclusion in the Olympics. According to Rajiv Chandrasekaran, misunderstandings like that (and much worse) doomed the reconstruction effort from the start. Imperial Life in the Emerald City is a fantastically written account of well-meaning people who seem to find themselves in over their heads.

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