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Night Draws Near


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About the Author

Anthony Shadid has reported for the Associated Press, The Boston Globe, and, since the beginning of the war in Iraq, The Washington Post. In addition to the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting, his stories from Iraq have earned him an American Society of Newspaper Editors award for deadline news reporting and the Overseas Press Club's Hal Boyle Award for best newspaper or wire-service reporting from abroad. While at The Boston Globe, Shadid was awarded the 2002 George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting for a series of dispatches from the Middle East. An Arab-American of Lebanese descent, he was born and raised in Oklahoma and now lives in Washington, D.C., and Baghdad.


Shadid, a Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent for the Washington Post, brings to Baghdad a fluency in Arabic and an Arab American's perceptive understanding. Shadid's skill and sympathy thoroughly convey all levels of Iraqi opinions about Saddam Hussein, fellow Iraqis, and the American occupation. Yet the book provides much more than a collection of inspiring and sometimes tragic vignettes. Shadid's explication of political Islam is compelling. He interprets the "personality cult" of Shi'ite cleric Muqtada Sadr and the "Mahdi Army," along with Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the "one man who stood in his way." Shadid concludes amid the sheer confusion and violence during the elections of January 2005 in Baghdad, "a city where promise seems unending and loss keeps unfolding." Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/05.] Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Born in Oklahoma and fluent in Arabic, journalist Shadid (Legacy of the Prophet) has the gift of a caricature artist, capturing personality in a few deft lines. In this set of reportage-based profiles from Baghdad pre- and post-March 2003, we meet Amal, a 14-year-old girl who moves from faith to fear to gallows humor in her diary; a long-married couple who bicker affectionately (the husband says George Bush is his hero; the wife wants to talk only about the lack of electricity); a Muslim cleric in Sadr City who has "the kind of swagger that a pistol on each hip brings." The portraits are intimate, often set in people's homes, and are rendered with such kindness they fall just short of sentimentality. Yet Shadid does not shy from the ugliness of violence, rendering the swollen corpse of a child left in the sun and the disarray of a bombed house, its front gate "peeled back like a can." The book, which moves among scenes and characters like a picaresque novel, is not only a pleasure to read but a welcome source of information. Shadid offers just enough history and context to orient the reader, and he includes the kinds of details-adages, prayers, lyrics from pop songs-that make a place come alive. In the end, Baghdad is the character he mourns most. Agent, Robert Shepard. (Sept. 7) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"Incisive and eloquent . . . A harrowing portrait of life in postwar Iraq and the fallout that the American war has had on ordinary Iraqi civilians . . . A riveting narrative . . . Provides a damning account of the Bush administration's failure to prepare adequately for the postwar occupation . . . Sobering and revealing." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times"Shadid breaks new ground in offering us a much-needed look at the human face of the Iraqi people, as well as an acute analysis of the variegated cultural and historical forces that ultimately are going to decide the political fate of Iraq. . . . Through Shadid's eyes, we see clearly the chasm between occupier and occupied. . . . As a piece of reporting on the forces that are shaping today's Iraq, this is as fine a book as one could hope to read." --James Webb, The Washington Post Book World"Night Draws Near is unique in its breadth, its supremely elegant writing, and in the biography of its author. . . . [Shadid] understands Iraqi culture better than most U.S. journalists. . . . Everyone should read this book, especially the White House and members of Congress. It will open their eyes." --Aaron Glantz, San Francisco Chronicle"Told exclusively from the perspective of regular Iraqis, these are the war stories we never hear. . . . [A] definitive work." --Naomi Klein, The Guardian (U.K.)"This book should be read for its keen analysis of the events in postinvasion Iraq as much as for its thoughtful and precise storytelling and portraiture of Iraqis trying to make sense of their radically changed country. . . . [A] tour de force." --Anthony Swofford, Columbia Journalism Review"It is Shadid's rare achievement to have recorded and restored the voices of those most directly affect by the war in Iraq: the Iraqis themselves. . . . He converses equally easily with the Texas private and the Islamic insurgent, crossing the divide between Sunni, Shiite, and American, to extract the individual stories that give human contour to the chaos. . . . Gripping, gritty, and heartbreaking." --Ben Macintyre, The New York Times Book Review"An important event, a ray of light . . . Informed, scrupulously observed, elegantly written and deeply compassionate, Night Draws Near is a classic not just of war reporting but of what we might call frontline anthropology." --Gary Kamiya,"First-rate reporting . . . An intimate and essential book which reveals why America failed to win over hearts and minds, in spite of toppling Saddam . . . Night Draws Near reveals that this war might have gone a different way--especially, it would seem, if we had listened to the people of Iraq as Shadid did from the beginning." --John Freeman, The Courier-Journal"Mr. Shadid . . . who speaks Arabic like a native and writes English like an angel, has put his best reporting into this book." --The Economist"Shadid won a Pulitzer for his work in Iraq, and his account of the invasion and its uncertain aftermath is both stark and profoundly humane. . . . Shadid's concern isn't Pentagon policy but the interior life of the occupation, where the goals of the American mission remain, for the Iraqis he meets, tragically abstract." --The New Yorker"A colorful and moving account." --Bruce Ramsey, The Seattle Times"Masterful . . . [Night Draws Near] may be the most important writing to come out of the war so far. . . . The book is full of historical background and subtle observations that help explain the mindset of the Iraqis. . . . [Shadid has] written a complex, sympathetic, and dark portrait of a people we still understand all too poorly. It's a book that every soldier, war planner, and policy-maker should read." --Garrett M. Graff, The Washingtonian"Shadid's stories are always affecting, sometimes uplifting, much more frequently heart-rending. . . . [An] unflinching depiction of wartime life." --Chris Toensing, The Nation"In Night Draws Near, Shadid moves deftly between revealing, exemplary, close-up personal stories and a wide-angled historical analysis that is remarkably engaging and accessible." --Tom Montgomery-Fate, The Boston Globe"Night Draws Near is perhaps the most nuanced, informative, and moving recent book about the Iraq conflict. . . . Essential reading for Americans." --Brian Palmer, Newsday

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