Courageous ground-level reporting.



As the last U.S. combat battalions depart Iraq, a journalist tallies the staggering cost of the invasion and occupation.

American officials have largely deemed the surge in Iraq a success. Led by Gen. David Petraeus, the counterinsurgency strategy to integrate Iraqi army and police with U.S. forces to impose an overall security plan has now become the blueprint for Afghanistan and, who knows, for any future showdown with Iran. Rosen (In the Belly of the Green Bird: The Triumph of the Martyrs in Iraq, 2006) acknowledges that the surge, contrary to his expectations, has ended for now the civil war in Iraq, but views our entire involvement, from the invasion through today’s occupation, as disastrous. With Middle Eastern features inherited from his Iranian father, this New York City native has deftly employed his “melanin advantage” to blend into the countryside, the mosques, the villages and the neighborhoods of Iraq to report on the chaos, violence and terror attending America’s effort to remake the country. For Rosen, it’s an unrelenting tale of bombing, death squads, overflowing prisons, heightened factionalism, economic devastation and brutal suppression. Even the surge’s effectiveness he attributes less to an inspired general’s grand plan and more to an Iraqi resistance bought off by billions of American dollars. The American occupation, he maintains, has destroyed much, built little and only encouraged the spread of radical Islam. He charts the flow of fighters into Iraq, the exodus of millions of refugees and the war’s spillover into neighboring Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon. He also traveled to Afghanistan for a heart-stopping visit as a “guest” of the Taliban. America entered Iraq promising liberation and democracy. Instead, writes the author, we substituted a different kind of terror from that imposed by Saddam, installed a corrupt government, further destabilized the region and lost most of our influence among the Arabs. As the Obama administration considers the way ahead in the Middle East, as the calendar in Afghanistan flips forward, Rosen’s account couldn’t be timelier.

Courageous ground-level reporting.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-56858-401-0

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Nation Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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