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Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  496 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
From the only journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from Iraq, here is a riveting account of ordinary people caught between the struggles
of nations

Like her country, Karima—a widow with eight children—was caught between America and Saddam. It was March 2003 in proud but battered Baghdad. As night drew near, she took her son to board a rickety bus to join Hus
ebook, 448 pages
Published July 11th 2006 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published 2005)
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[Updated 16 Feb: I just learned that Anthony Shadid passed away in Syria today, from an asthma attack caused by an allergy to the horses he used to smuggle himself across the border from Turkey. This man was one of the greatest journalists of our time. His craft was not just based on complete fearlessness and ability to maneuver himself anywhere, but also his focused attention to diverse and silenced sources, centering the narratives of women, youth, the poor, and others typically left out of th ...more
Daniel Villines
Oct 15, 2012 Daniel Villines rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So often, the greater part of our nation sees its conflicts through information that focuses on positive results rather than the actual and current state-of-affairs. The Stars and Stripes fly in front of doorways; we’re captivated by red-tinted aerial images with crosshairs lined up on buildings that disappear in silent symmetrical clouds of dust; and if troops are lost in the conflict, then they certainly died in an effort to keep America free.

The choice to use our armed forces to enact US poli
Jun 09, 2010 Kerryevelyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm usually wary of accounts of Western journalists claiming to 'reveal' the 'real' Middle East, but this book is completely different. It's among the best books I've read about the contemporary Middle East, definitely the best book I've read on Iraq, hands down. Knowledgeable but not to the point of pontification, Shadid, a CASA Arabic graduate and a Lebanese American, does what it (ironically) seems like so few people have honestly done: actually asks the Iraqi people how they feel about the s ...more
Mikey B.
A Must Read

For anyone interested in the Iraqi war and its' continuing aftermath.

This book is particularly gripping because the author focuses on the impact the last few years (2005) have had on the people of Iraq and the city of Baghdad. He examines the war from the lens of Iraq, not that of Washington.

The dichotomy of this war - Washington vis-a-vis Iraq - is exposed. The war is at the same time a liberation and an occupation. The effects of that occupation are detailed by Shadid: foreign tank
Aug 21, 2012 Matthew rated it it was amazing
A devastatingly depressing account of the occupation of Iraq, told mostly from the point of view of the Iraqi people themselves. Maybe it started with good intentions, but really there was no way it was going to turn out well. I honestly don't know what to say, except that I still plan to make sure that George W. Bush is remembered as one of the single worst presidents in the history of this country. (Also too, it strengthens my resolve to keep Mittens out of the Oval Office, since many of his f ...more
Jul 20, 2010 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a heartbreaking and thought-provoking look at the first year of the American occupation of Iraq. The author tells the stories of the civilians - their fears, their frustrations, their deprivations. It's a balanced account, representing people with varying views on life under Sadaam and the 13 years of sanctions before the war. Unfortunately, even the most wildly optimistic and pro-American Iraqis,become disheartened by the inability of the Americans to provide security or even the most b ...more
Alexis Ohanian
Feb 28, 2010 Alexis Ohanian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anthony Shadid, a Lebanese American, reports on the Iraq war from the perspective of a range of everyday Iraqi citizens. This was everything I'd hoped it to be -- a riveting account that goes a long way toward illustrating what "everyday life" at war is like. For someone like me, who cannot begin to conceive of such an existence, this was quite insightful. Particularly given the access Shadid has to Iraqis from a variety of classes and professions, the interviews they give -- being read now, wit ...more
Sarah Finch
Feb 25, 2012 Sarah Finch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this the day after the news broke that its author, Anthony Shadid, had died in Syria. Shadid wrote a wonderful book that is a testament to his dedication as a journalist, as well as to his compassion as a person. As an American reading about the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the subsequent insurgency -- with almost a decade of hindsight -- I found myself frustrated and enraged.
John Rivera
Jun 30, 2008 John Rivera rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
As a veteran of few tours in Iraq and especially as an infantry veteran--these are the stories I never had the time to hear or really understand in 2003 when I first set foot in Iraq and even as I left for my first time as well.

The stories are both true and amazing, this work will move you.
Joanne  Clarke Gunter
This is the book to read if you want to know exactly how it was in Iraq shortly before and in the days, weeks, months, and years after the United States invaded and occupied Iraq. Anthony Shadid was there. He saw it. He lived it. He got to know and interviewed many average Iraqi people (both Sunni and Shiite)and this book chronicles those interviews and the opinions of the civilian Iraqi people on being invaded and occupied by the United States. It can be summed up in this way: many (not all) we ...more
Bob Uva
Jul 21, 2012 Bob Uva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm about one-third through this book and feel compelled to start writing about it. This is the story of the war in Iraq and its aftermath from the point of view of the people of Iraq, on the ground, innocent, and helpless. The late Anthony Shadid "embedded" himself, not in the military ranks, but among the helpless people of Baghdad as the war began and throughout its aftermath. He skillfully embued his story through the stories of ordinary, and some extraordinary, Iraqis who lived through the ...more
Aug 13, 2012 Nadia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
More like three and a half.

So I should probably review this before I forget everything. I avoided reading journalist or new political books about the last Iraq war for a really long time and I can't really remember what made me pick this one up. I've always enjoyed Shadid's articles, which I first became familiar with around 2006, and this book covers from just before the start of the war upto the elections of 2005.

Some parts of this are really touching. My favourite is the prologue right before
John Jackson
A responsible piece of book journalism. Shadid writes fluently and precisely about a scale of the Iraqi war experience that no one else seems to have heeded at all. The opening chapters depict a Baghdad echoingly silent and tense in the days before the invasion that feels at once real and almost too perfectly foreboding. Shadid's self-awareness is critical to the effect of the novel. Time and again, he stumbles over the things he himself didn't see or didn't read correctly. He gets humbling less ...more
Dec 11, 2007 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A powerful book with vivid encounters with the people of Iraq. A must read for anyone who desires a nuanced understanding of the complexity of Iraq. The book only covers the first two years of the war, but shows where America made mistakes and lost this war.

The US failed to capture the hearts and minds of the people when it had the chance. The Iraqi people were willing to give the Americans a chance to deliver on their pre-war promises, but after a year the power still was not on, the streets w
Jan 04, 2008 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every american
Recommended to Sam by: Todd Rossel
Shelves: current-events
I love the way Shadid let's his interviewees speak for themselves. He doesn't editorialize the hell out it. This book is the best inside look at the disparate views that Iraqis hold toward the US invasion and occupation and how they have evolved. We love to lump all of them into one nice and neat group and think of them as for us or against us, peaceful or blood thirsty. Iraq is so complex and the administration had no idea what they were getting into. It is amusing to go back to 2003 and read q ...more
Aug 02, 2008 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this. Shadid tries to be very balanced, and for the most part, succeeds. He sees problems with both the Americans and Iraqis, admitting that the divide between the two groups might just be too wide to cross.

My only complaint, if it can even be called that, there are so many people that I sometimes got them mixed up. Once I figured out who they were, I appreciated the different views. My heart went out to Amal, a young teen-age girl who shared her diary with Shadid. If only more
Mar 13, 2010 Jess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I read this book for a class called America's 21st Century Wars; it was selected to provide students with a different perspective on how the war in Iraq has affected Iraqi citizens and society. Written by a Lebanese American, it may surprise people in how not biased it is. Shadid interviews people from all backgrounds, classes, and perspectives. He provides quite good coverage of people's experiences and emotions during the invasion and occupation. I'd recommend this to anyone who's interested i ...more
Oct 03, 2009 Miste rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was on Newsweeks 50 books you should read so I read it. Even though it was not suprising it still made me angry. Another lost opportunity for America just like Afghanistan. If you start a war to depose a dictator then you should have a plan for what you are going to do after you have deposed that dictator--and we didn't. It was doomed from the start it seems like. We didn't/don't understand their culture at all it appears. I had a hard time getting through it. I don't think it was real ...more
Oct 31, 2010 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I am very glad that I read this book. It gives a sensitive view of the people -- individual people and families -- that were victimized by the ravages of what followed the reign of Sadam Hossein. The author does not offer opinions. He does not take sides. He talks about the people that he came to know during his stay in Iraq. His driver and guide, a family of a mother and 4 daughters who are barely surviving day to day, people who were rich, people who were poor, Shiites, Sunnis.........I recomm ...more
Joseph Stieb
Dec 21, 2014 Joseph Stieb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: iraq
Shadid has created a tremendous piece of journalism with this book. There are tons of fascinating and outstanding books on the early period of the Iraq War, but none that I've read provide such a incisive and deep account of how Iraqis experienced and understood the conflict. Shadid's courageous journalism, his ability to speak Arabic, and his ability to blend in (to some extent) with Iraqis made this book possible.

Ultimately this book gets at a population that is physically and psychologically
Aug 12, 2009 siga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
am listening to this incredible book on tape. anthony shadid draws his audience into the neighborhoods and daily lives of prewar iraq. shadid is a gifted journalist who is passionate without taking sides in describing events that have become history. well worth reading for any and all to understand more of what a mess of peoples' lives the invasion to get rid of saddam hussein made.
Anne Donohoe
Dec 02, 2010 Anne Donohoe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just started this...needed a broccoli book. It was a recommendation from my Dad.

Finished it! Took me all year - slowly reading a chapter at a time- but it felt important. This is a look a the Iraq war from the Iraqi's amazing - between this book and the war see on the news- you would think they are 2 separate wars! Wish every member of congress would read this.
Dec 18, 2012 Abe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If anyone wants to know the result of America’s invasion of Iraq, he/she should read this book. The author, a renowned journalist, writes about the personal tragedy of Iraqis during and after the invasion. This book gives the reader much insight about an unjust war and the actions of the occupier that reflect on the aggressor nation. Does forcing democracy on a nation work?
Jul 30, 2012 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended

An excellent book about the US invasion of Iraq, told from the Iraqi people's point of view. The book is divided into sections detailing life in Baghdad, largely, before the invasion, during the invasion, the aftermath of the invasion, and the insurgency.

This book is a prime example of what excellent journalism can be.
Nov 13, 2008 Florence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Confined to the green zone, a small secure space in Baghdad, american military personnel carry out their uncertain mission. America invaded the country with an ignorance of its culture and its people. Once the invasion was launched, america blew the chance to actually help the Iraqi people and restore peace in the country.
This isn't a political book as much as it is an exploration of the people of Iraq and the problems they face. The invasion by the USA didn't help and just added to their misery and made their problems worse. Very sad at times and I feel much compassion for the people. Guilt by association since I am an American.
Damian Doyle
May 07, 2015 Damian Doyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For a while I'd been shuffling this book by the late Anthony Shadid, a Lebanese-American journalist, further down my lengthy Iraq reading list. While I was sure it provided background to my research on conflict in Iraq today, it wasn't clear that it would be directly relevant. But when I decided to bump it up the list I rapidly found I'd misjudged.

Not only does Shadid's account of Iraq in 2003 and 2004 provide essential historical and political context, much of it through the eyes of Iraqis, one
Dec 30, 2007 Katlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This a memoir of an American journalist who went to Iraq a few months before the 2003 US invasion, and stayed for the year that followed. He interviewed and formed relationships with people all over the country-- of every sect and class, and his anecdotes really help to humanize the conflict.
Sep 09, 2009 Fatma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading it was a breath-taking experience.. but listening to Shadid reading from his book was magical .. i saw him not reading from the book .. it was his feelings .. he was back to Iraq every time he start reading a paragraph .. magical ,,,
An important and captivating look at the lives of common people in Iraq, a group so cruelly neglected by the media and altogether left out of the American story of the war, Shadid's book is essential reading for anyone who pays his/her taxes.
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Anthony Shadid was a foreign correspondent for the New York Times. Until December 2009, he served as the Baghdad bureau chief of the Washington Post. Over a 15-year career, he reported from most countries in the Middle East.

Shadid won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 2004 for his coverage of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the occupation that followed. He won the Pulitzer Prize agai
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