Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Book review from The Movie Snob:

In the Red Zone: A Journey Into the Soul of Iraq, by Steven Vincent (Spence 2004). This Vincent guy is crazy. He’s a freelance journalist who lives in New York City and whose area of expertise is apparently art criticism. He was deeply affected by the events of 9/11, and, after the liberation of Iraq in 2003, he simply decided to go to Iraq to see it for himself and report what he saw. Most amazingly, he went without official connection or press credentials, improvising his way through the country as best he could. And he lived to tell the tale, which is certainly an interesting one. Among the highlights are his vivid descriptions of the educated and opinionated folk who frequent the cafes of Baghdad, his amazingly daring penetration into Shiite rituals in Najaf and Karbala, and his attempt to explain freedom of the press to the Union of Iraqi Writers and Journalists. He also writes quite a bit about the status of women in Iraqi society, and his friendship with a striking young woman named Nour who had spent some time in prison under Saddam and was devoting her life to furthering women’s rights. Her sad story certainly underlines the difficulty of planting a regime based on liberty in such a repressive and tribal culture. Definitely an interesting read.


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