Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Recent Reading: Richard Engel's Baghdad Invasion Story

Regular AT readers will know that we've been working our way through books on the 2003 Iraq invasion.

The latest book is A Fist in the Hornet's Nest, Richard Engel's account of his experiences reporting from Baghdad before, during and after the invasion.

Engel, one of the few U.S. journalists who speaks Arabic, covered Baghdad for ABC News. He was the only American television correspondent who stayed in the Iraqi capital during the war.

Engel is a smart and resourceful reporter. He enters Iraq on a "human shield" visa, but then gets his official press credentials. Never one to follow the crowd, Engel also manages to work around the Iraqi media restrictions and do some interesting, original reporting.

Along the way, Engel bribes officials, establishes "safe" houses and nearly gets arrested. He also witnesses the brutality and horrors of the Saddam years and the government's culture of fear.

The book chronicles Engel's strenuous efforts to report from Baghdad honestly, not an easy job in a chaotic city during wartime. Along the way, Engel also contemplates the troubled future of Iraq and its people.

A Fist in the Hornet's Nest is a good read, too.

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