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A Hundred and One Days: A Baghdad Journal

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  1,346 Ratings  ·  145 Reviews
For one hundred and one days Asne Seierstad worked as a reporter in Baghdad. Always in search of a story far less obvious than the American military invasion, Seierstad brings to life the world behind the headlines in this compelling- and heartbreaking-account of her time among the people of Iraq. From the moment she first arrived in Baghdad on a ten-day visa, she was dete ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 7th 2006 by Basic Books (first published 2003)
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Jan 21, 2015 Caroline rated it it was ok
Shelves: world
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is a dated book as the armed American incursion into Iraq is long over, but it retains validity as an account of an impartial witness to the events leading up to the actual arrival of coalition troops on scene. As such, it is a welcome relief from the accounts of those American apologists who justify coalition excesses as "payback" for a non-existent Iraqi involvement in 9/11.

I pity the poor Iraqi people; under Saddam they were oppressed, kidnapped, murdered, raped and submitted to every im
For the first time I send an email to my editors with the title: 'Nothing from Baghdad today'. I am at the epicentre of the world's attention and can find nothing to write about (p232)

Good doesn't seem a respectful word to describe a book of war journalism, nor does it seem right to say that I enjoyed it, perhaps you can take my enthusiasm as read and my recommendation for granted.

The title evokes a thousand and one nights, while Seierstad certainly tumbles us from one story to another there is
Apr 29, 2012 Ron rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Something of a modern-day Scheherezade, Norwegian journalist Seierstad continued reporting by satellite to TV audiences in Europe during the 101 days preceding and then during the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. For readers interested in the gathering of news in war zones, her book provides extensive insight into off-camera footwork and dealing with bureaucratic and political obstacles that prevent access to the hearts and minds of everyday citizens, her primary interest as a reporter. When t ...more
Oct 04, 2016 Kirsty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Hundred and One Days: A Baghdad Journal is the third of Seierstad’s books which I have read to date, and has been translated from the Norwegian by Ingrid Christophersen. This particular reportage comes from Iraq, where Seierstad stayed for over three months in the beginning of 2003. A Norwegian award-winning journalist, she had been sent to the country in order to report upon the war and its aftermath; she arrives before said war, and is able to report upon the state of politics, and the way o ...more
Feb 07, 2009 Maggie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: PokPok
This is similar to the book written by Anne Garrels about reporting from Iraq just prior to, during, and after the beginning of the war between the U.S. and Iraq. Both experienced the same problems of dealing with the Iraqi military and propaganda systems and trying to do their jobs at the same time, all while being cobbled by the minder forced on them by Iraq. Seierstad was lucky enough to replace her first minder with a much better and more sympathetic female after a couple of weeks. Seierstad ...more
Oct 30, 2014 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author worked as a news reporter in Baghdad before, during, and just after the 2003 war which toppled Saddam’s power. This is an account of those experiences - the citizens she met and talked to, the colleagues she worked with, and the system she was forced to work within with “minders” and translators. It’s also an account of the emotional roller coaster she rode by being in the middle of a war zone.
I found that I really enjoyed this largely because of the different perspective that it ca
Sharon Lee
May 28, 2017 Sharon Lee rated it it was amazing
This is a compelling read especially as some 14 years later it helps inform the world we live in today. There are 2 sides to this book - an intriguing account of life as a foreign correspondent and the war story. Regarding the first I am in awe of Seierstad's bravery and want to know more about what motivates her. Regarding the war story it is a timely reminder of how complex the western worlds relationship is with the Middle East and a fierce and frightening reminder of how war impacts drastica ...more
Apr 15, 2008 Christopher rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone seeking a greater understanding of the Near East
Asne Seierstad is an intriguing person. A Norwegian blend of beauty, toughness and compassion, she possesses all the powers of observation and reporting skill that make for a riveting tale of the first 101 days of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The first half of the book sees Seierstad navigating the bureaucracy of Iraq, which was staggering in its ineptitude, callousness and corruption. As a condition of her journalism visa, she was required to have a "minder"/translator who was there to bo
Jan 08, 2009 Jessi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs-and-bios
This unassuming norweigan stays in baghdad from January to April of 2003, long after most of the other journalists have been ordered or forced to leave the area she witnesses the "war on terror" firsthand. I wanted to like this book more, but it's not really easy to read and riddled with editing and spelling mistakes (at least in this edition) -- there's probably a whole lot that is lost in translation on this one. The style is distractingly short and choppy and jumpy -- there's not a continuity ...more
Ana Rivera
Jul 24, 2009 Ana Rivera rated it really liked it
I have mixed personal feeling about this book. The writing and the way it flows is great. I have never been a supporter of Bush's war in Iraq, but I knew that the fear and torture that the iraquis endured will under Saddam had to be stopped. I never understood why the iraqui people were so fond of saddam but after reading this book i understood, that with fear you can suppress your people. That loving saddam is tought in the schools and how he is EVERYWHERE. It also shows how most of the middle ...more
Jun 26, 2009 Yoonmee rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, middle-east
Fans of The Bookseller of Kabul will be a little bit disappointed in Asne Seierstad's A Hundred and One Days because it doesn't go into as much detail about the everyday lives of ordinary people. This books is mostly about Seierstad's experiences as a journalist in Baghdad, as opposed to the the snapshot into the life of a family she gave us in The Bookseller of Kabul. Due to the restraints placed upon her as a journalist and upon the citizens of Iraq, Seierstad was not allowed to get nearly as ...more
Nov 19, 2008 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
My reasons for not liking this book are as follows:
1- It is not written in Seierstad's usual manner (where she writes about the lives of her subjects) this book is about her experiences
2- Because of the very nature of the former Iraqi system you don't get as much information as in her other books. You share her frustration in the lack of access to the real 'story' but that doesn't make up for its absence.

Her other books however rate very highly with me, I recommend them, but not this one.
Apr 30, 2009 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is the only account i've read of what it was like to be in baghdad when the war started. as it's an account by a western journalist, it can't really provide much insight on what it was like for iraqis. i do think seierstad does a pretty good job of presenting the severity of saddam's regime pre-war and she tries to share the range of reactions of iraqis to the u.s. invasion. however, the latter is lacking since she left soon after troops arrived in baghdad. i'm sure there are other accounts ...more
Jan 21, 2013 Aida rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hate wars! All kind of wars! This book is an eye opening, telling the truth of what American soldiers did to the Iraqi civilians... I repeat CIVILIANS! I wonder how would the world react if it happened vice versa.
Feb 13, 2009 Robyn91856 rated it really liked it
Amazing to see the courage of a journalist...enters into Bagdaad with a ten day visa and extends it just as others are leaving.
Good book, gives good information about the war and the people living there.
Sajith Kumar
Iraq is a land of paradoxes. It hosted one of the oldest civilizations known to the world and is currently the theater of the most savage ideology of all in the form of the Islamic State. It is rich in oil wealth, but the people are poor in the war-ravaged country. The pathetic fall of Iraq is the handiwork of a dictator named Saddam Hussein abd-al Majid al-Tikriti, who ruled the country for 24 long years (1979 – 2003), before he was thrown out by American troops. His tenure as President of Iraq ...more
May 19, 2017 Gena rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. I spent time in the middle-east during the first gulf war, and it was interesting to read about this Norwegian reporters view from the ground. I was particularly interested in her description of the Iraqi's feeling about the Americans who were invading. We don't get much information during war time that is not filtered by our own American lens, and this truly isn't. The book reads like a journal--the author is very reporter-like, and it jogged a lot of memorie ...more
Ewoton Kinyanjui
I do not know what to make of this book. The blurb promises that it is a book about the other side of the story, stories not about war, being torn apart and trying to survive it (the war).
However, you begin reading it and the war is all there is it to it. I feel that the writer went to great lengths to explain how whatever stories the Iraqis had was propaganda from the Saddam regime. I feel that it was negatively skewed against the Iraqis who supported the regime.

There is need for the countrie
Trupti Dorge
Feb 14, 2009 Trupti Dorge rated it it was amazing
Rating: 4.5 rounded to 5

Iraq’s deterioration as a nation started in 1980 because of the 8 year Iran-Iraq war started by Saddam Hussein and then the disastrous invasion of Kuwait 2 years after the war. And then there was the 12 years UN sanction.

Asne Seierstad goes on a 10 day visa as a reporter in Baghdad for Scandinavian, German, and the Dutch media. She is there to cover a possible was between Iraq and America. But Iraq is in the clutches of Saddam Hussein and the journalists are not allowed t
Mar 03, 2017 Jessica rated it really liked it
The book is absolutely heartbreaking and a solid reminder that even when you try to report only the truth there are always alternative facts to sort through. Our news reporting is so short and with such a fast turnaround time that you really need to balance it with more detailed and personal stories. By simply being in the country and working side by side with members of the community she meets people who are all good at heart but have opposing views about what has happened and what should happe ...more
Jun 09, 2010 Jules rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book by Norwegian reporter Asne Seierstad. It was honest and eye-opening. In The Bookseller of Kabul, I found Seierstad to be an exceptionally perceptive and balanced journalist, and I think she was equally successful at presenting facts in a very human way and avoiding moral judgments in A Hundred and One Days.

The book consists of three sections: “Before” [the war], “During” and “After.” As I began the book, I wondered how much the average Iraqi had supported Saddam Hussei
Aug 05, 2016 Kathy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Well, I have two quarrels with this book. One is that I had assumed it would be about the Iraq war, but it was really about what it's like to be a war journalist. As such, it's just a kind of memoir and reveals little about the war, chiefly because the writer's experience is one of not knowing what's going on. It therefore may be of interest to someone who wants to know about journalism and the specific personal experience of one particular journalist, but not much else, really.
My second quarrel
Aug 14, 2014 Sally rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
"We were tortured mentally by the all-pervading fear", 19 Aug 2014

This review is from: A Hundred And One Days: A Baghdad Journal (Paperback)
I thought this offered an extremely balanced view of the Iraq war: Norwegian reporter Asne Seierstad gives an on-the-spot reportage of her days in Baghdad in the lead-up to the American invasion. Patrolled everywhere she went, with a government appointed minder; cagey locals who would rarely say anything against Saddam; and a total dictatorship, where every
Aug 19, 2008 Barbara rated it really liked it
Excellent account of the author's interviews with Iraqi nationals and regime members, as well as what the people were going through and what she experienced during the time leading up to the US invasion of Iraq, during fighting to take Baghdad, and after the arrival of US troops.

This is the first completely truthful and unbiased journal I've read, that describes the extreme terror and domination the Iraqi people endured for years under Saddam Hussein's rule and again, during and after his fall
Once I started this book I literally couldn't put it down & finished it in about 3 days. Really good insight into life in the front line. The author's eagerness to tell the true stories from Iraq, & not the propaganda from the government at the time, is apparent throughout this book. The sense of foreboding from the Iraqi people is also obvious. They themselves know how their country is going to be without the dictator in place. It is unfortunate that there was no other way to dispose of ...more
Aug 13, 2015 Aman rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly fascinating book which raises just as many new questions as answers. Seierstad offers a view of the Iraq war which I've never before encountered, there's something refreshing about reading such an overly publicised topic without having to sift through private agendas and political correctness. She perspicuously illustrates the lives of the people in Iraq and does, I believe, do justice to all viewpoints, whether Shia or Sunni, ensuring the reader has a firm understanding of how commun ...more
Jan 26, 2009 Deanna rated it liked it
If 3.5 stars were an option, I would have chosen that instead. Generally, I thought this was an interesting and well-written book. If I hadn't read some of this author's other works, I might have even scored it higher. What Seierstad does so well is to connect with honestly with people in other cultures and tie the experiences of those she is writing about to larger themes. In this case, in pre-war Iraq where Saddam Hussein's vast network of monitors and informers were in place, it was literally ...more
Aug 07, 2015 Kendra rated it really liked it
This is a journal written by a Norwegian journalist in Baghdad 2003.

Some thoughts:
- I found the style of writing a bit hard to follow at times (lots of bullet points), but it moves quickly.

- Some parts I had to skim over - the deaths of children/babies hits so much closer to home now that I have also buried two is horrifying that young children suffer the kind of pain described in this book.

- One statement made by a journalist stuck with me. He said that in his 20 years of coverin
Sep 21, 2009 Christine rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book at the dollar store of all places and ended up loving it. It's somewhat of a memoir of what life was like in Bagdad in the weeks leading up to, through, and a week after the Iraq war through the eyes of a Norwegian news correspondent. I enjoyed her story of the danger and red-tape that she had to go through to even be there and the telling of what she experienced from her perspective. I found it fascinating for her to catch a glimpse of people's real thoughts, fear and oppr ...more
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A Hundred and One Days 1 1 Feb 26, 2014 07:32PM  
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