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The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,270 Ratings  ·  166 Reviews
THE ASSASSINS' GATE: AMERICA IN IRAQ recounts how the United States set about changing the history of the Middle East and became ensnared in a guerilla war in Iraq. It brings to life the people and ideas that created the Bush administration's war policy and led America to the Assassins' Gate—the main point of entry into the American zone in Baghdad. The consequences of tha ...more
ebook, 480 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published September 22nd 2005)
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Susan
Aug 21, 2009 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In contrast to most news articles, this book is not especially partisan and certainly not ranting. Though it was very critical of the conduct of the war in Iraq, Packer, a reporter for the New Yorker, was at pains to describe what happened and explain why it was such as disaster. As Christopher Hitchens, in his review of the book, said, “His book rests on three main pillars: analysis of the intellectual origins of the Iraq war, summary of the political argument that preceded and then led to it, ...more
R.f.k
كتاب يؤرخ عن الغزو الامريكي للعراق ..من الاستعداد للغزو وتخبط الادراة الامريكه وصناع القرار وجهلهم عن المنطقة..الى الاحتلال الامريكي ومابعدها من فوضى,والاقتتال الطائفي..كان لا يوجد هناك قانون فقط أحتلاال..
الكاتب هنا تحدث مع شخصيات عراقية وامريكيه..مغرمة بغزو العراق..وضح وجهات نظرهم..وذكر أحداث ووقائع ماقبل الغزو وأثناء الاحتلال الامريكي وأزمة الاكراد..وفترة حكم بول بريمر
لا أتذكر الاحداث قبل الغزو واثناء الاحتلال..وعن هذه الفترة بالذات كنت صغيرة..وساعدني هذا الكتاب
لمين يريد ان يقرا عن هذة الفترة
...more
Larry Bassett
Jun 20, 2016 Larry Bassett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The US invasion of a rack began before the bombs fell in March 2003 and it continues to this date ( June 2016) with American troops still in a rock. This book is in excellent personal and political view of the more than a decade war that has embarrass the US and contributed to the distraction of a rock. It always takes some time for history to catch up with our chronology of it. But it is already clear that this is a war (another war) That had to be one by the people in the country where the war ...more
Marc
Mar 02, 2008 Marc rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers interested in our misadventure in Iraq, and able to see through self-serving straw men
Packer is a fantastic writer, and there's some very good reporting in here as well. His writing on Iraq is both well-observed and emotionally moving. In addition, Packer does great work with the bureaucratic machinations that underlay the US invasion. So this book is worth reading, but with a massive caveat:

Packer spends relatively little time on the American domestic politics of the war, which is a good thing, because he is a piss-poor political analyst, and a deeply dishonest one to boot. His
...more
Khalaf Alshammari
Apr 28, 2012 Khalaf Alshammari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
كتاب مهم يعرض الوضع في العراق قبل وبعد الحرب من زوايا ووجهات نظر متعددة.
يصف الكاتب الأحداث التي سبقت الحرب من سوء التحضير والفهم غير الواضح لطبيعة المنطقة من قبل صناع القرار في أمريكا وعدم وضوح الأهداف من الحرب محللا أسباب الفوضى التي نتجت.
ثم يرسم المؤلف تأثير التغييرات بعد الحرب على العراقيين من مختلف الفئات والطبقات عبر شخصيات عايشها وحاورها بنفسه.
Tariq A
عرض مطوَّل لحالة التخبط التي عاشتها الحكومة الأمريكية قبل وأثناء احتلال العراق.
Kyle
Mar 18, 2016 Kyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first 150 or so pages of this book is a meandering stroll through the intellectual rationalization for the invasion of Iraq. I almost put the book down during that, having read other books (such as "Fiasco") that are a much tighter examination of the Bush administration's mindset.

But I'm glad I didn't. Because what this book ends up being is about the small stories that encapsulate the misadventure in Iraq: the story of Iraqi doctors, soldiers' parents, lower-level staffers at the CPA - the
...more
Dylan Suher
I've long said that George Packer is America's sneakiest writer, and nowhere is it more apparent than in this book. Reading him once again sully those figures opposed to the war, who happened to be exactly right, through innuendo and at the same time champion the likes of Kanan Makiya and Paul Wolfowitz as misguided idealists was nigh on unbearable. Also, he gives short shrift to the industrial side of what one perspicacious UN worker identifies as the "ideological-industrial complex" behind the ...more
Elliott
Jun 21, 2013 Elliott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Packer's work is well written, organized, and clearly evokes the individual experience he went through as he reported on Iraq from 2003 and 2004. His insight to the build-up in 2002 and early 2003 is quite insightful, digging at issues deeper than what was readily available to the American public at the time. When he gets into the war, and subsequent 'civil war', of Iraq he is able to navigate Iraqi and American perspectives very well. In fact this is the real strength of his book. He knows all ...more
Patrick
A really good book for getting at least part of the story of why we ended up in Iraq and why we're letting this unravel on us. Hate to put my cultural bias out on the street, but after getting halfway through I lost interest in the chapters that focus on the Iraqis, as their experiences all seemed to be the same (very bad for them, but with little ability to make any changes for the better). The chapters on the Americans and coalition give us some insight as to why we're having such problems ove ...more
Sean Sullivan
Aug 05, 2007 Sean Sullivan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Packer was an earlier supporter of the war in Iraq, and for that, he deserves to get called out at every event he speaks at. But, he is also an incredible writer, and Assassin’s Gate is the best written book I have read on the war. Packer moves between DC and Iraq from the beginning of the plans for the war to the (almost) present, and you can feel his disgust with the Bush administration grow and his hope for Iraq fail as the book progresses.

Assassin’s Gate is an excellent read, and a good prim
...more
Byron Eppler
May 20, 2016 Byron Eppler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic look on the early years of the iraq war and also understanding the neoconservatism ideology that underpinned much of the decision-making. Admirably objective.
Brett Mccully
Given the recent rise of ISIS in the Middle East, understanding the origins and character of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq has become exceptionally important. In Assassins' Gate, George Packer, a journalist with the New Yorker, covers the lead-up to the war as well as the occupation through 2006. The book is a narrative history, with prominence given to conversations Packer had with government officials, soldiers, scholars, and Iraqis. While this may not grant readers a comprehensive ac ...more
Riccardo Marratzu
I spent quite some time thinking about reading George Packer’s “The Assassins’ Gate” (2005). The topic covered by the book (how America got involved in Iraq) interested me, but I was dubious about reading something written in the first years of the war. I was almost afraid that it couldn’t go sufficiently in depth.
Then a few months ago I watched an episode of Frontline on PBS about the very same topic. George Packer appeared in it several times, interviewed by the authors of the documentary. His
...more
Michael Friedman
Mar 24, 2016 Michael Friedman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part history, part memoir, this book details the utter folly of the Bush administration in underestimating and ultimately destroying the country of Iraq through lack of planning, unrealistic vision and lack of understanding of the consequences of the toppling of the Saddam regime. It is a sad commentary on the stupidity and ignorance of the top officials of the bush administration and a president who was oblivious to the reality of what he did and his utter failure to plan for the inevitable. Mr ...more
Kris Munson
May 16, 2016 Kris Munson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Does anyone really understand the war in Iraq? I don't. I thought I'd read up on it, and so I chose this book for my education.

It is a good primer on the subject. I enjoyed learning about how certain neoconservatives (Paul Wolfowitz comes to mind) helped President Bush make the decision to entertain the concept of war. On face value, some of the reasoning may even make sense -- but only if you know NOTHING about arab countries, arab history, and arab culture.

Packer does a very good job at rema
...more
Alexis
Jan 07, 2016 Alexis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-forever-war
I thought that while this seemed well researched, and he certainly spent many hours with top commanders and civilian leaders, he seemed enchanted by the CPA and too willing to forgive them their mistakes. He spent very little, if no, time talking about the effect of the war on the average soldier or the lack of effect the war had on the average American. His analysis of intellectuals associated with the war was much too forgiving, especially of liberals. I wanted to read a history of the Assissi ...more
Michelle Sweet
Sep 05, 2013 Michelle Sweet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An assigned read - really enjoyed the politics and human stories entwined..worth the read.
Landstander
Sep 23, 2014 Landstander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As clear and straightforward an account of this murky mess as one could hope to find. Obviously Packer's reporting on the thoughts and feelings of Iraqis from a variety of backgrounds and social stations with wildly different viewpoints is the highlight. These interactions are especially revealing and incalculably valuable in coming to some sort of understanding of why the situation went so wrong and how, perhaps, it wasn't a foregone conclusion that it would. His forays into the domestic politi ...more
Jim
This book by a reporter for "The New Yorker" magazine is an excellent account of the period immediately preceding the 2003 invasion and defeat of Iraq by U.S. forces and the period following the invasion, up to the national election, which occurred in January, 2005.

The book is a devastating indictment of the Bush administration and the neoconservatives who filled the leading positions of that administration. Despite the talk of weapons of mass destruction (none of which were ever found - and li
...more
Jason George
Jul 21, 2015 Jason George rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really admire George Packer's writing. As someone who tends to be more interesting in reading about the political decision-making process, I appreciated the fact that Packer focused more on the experiences of people "on the ground", such as ordinary Iraqis and American soldiers. The book is also rare in that Packer seeks to move beyond partisanship in his portrayal of the war and seeks to determine what would be the best outcome for the people of Iraq (who were often lost in American political ...more
Eric_W
Apr 12, 2009 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-affairs
George Packer has written a truly enlightening and intriguing book about our descent into Iraq. Packer is a lucid and engaging writer who can clearly summarize the intellectual debate between the neoconservatives and the realists. It's also a sad book. Learning how policy is arrived out and then justified and implemented can be very discouraging.

The neocons and Bush had decided to go after Iraq for a variety of reasons before 9/11. The concern then became how to sell that decision. Shortly after
...more
Will Byrnes
The gate referred to in the title is the entryway to the Green Zone. It is not one of the ancient structures one might find in this cradle of civilization but a modern construction put up by Saddam.

Packer begins by looking at the intellectual underpinnings of the Iraq War, not the WMD nonsense, but the neocon extremists who convinced themselves that we had a mission to bring democracy to the Middle East. Their motivations may not have been the same as Cheney’s but they dovetailed well. This is
...more
Patrick
Jan 29, 2011 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris
After finishing Babylon by Bus, I wasn't quite finished thinking about Iraq. LeMoine and Neumann had done a great job of detailing their personal experiences in the country, with occasional wider views to give their experiences some context, but I wanted to know more. So I picked up this book.

It was kind of like.... Like watching the video of the Challenger's last flight. You know what's coming, and you keep wishing it would go another way, but then it's "Shuttle go at throttle up" and there's b
...more
Nick
Mar 17, 2008 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-east
I got this book from the school library, and later bought it for my dad for Christmas. George Packer reports from Iraq from the initial days of the invasion until about 2005 or so when the book was published. He details how misguided and ill-conceived the entire Iraq operation was from the beginning, not that this will come as a revelation to anyone. The State Department had written up post-invasion plans that were basically ignored because the pentagon assumed that it wouldn't need them. The Co ...more
Rick
Jan 26, 2008 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Packer, a writer for The New Yorker and NY Times Sunday magazine, has taken his various essays on Iraq, from run up to the war to the spring of 2005, and turned them into a book-length report on this controversial war of choice. Even-handed, sharply critical of the execution while being considerate of the ideas behind the execution, Packer describes a war messier and more problematic than its designers allowed themselves to even consider. In the book’s final sentences, Packer quotes one of his s ...more
Lanier
Apr 09, 2012 Lanier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History and Political buffs
Recommended to Lanier by: Sean H.
Coming home from a night-in-progress, I started this book, thinking, 'S**8 Sean, I'm not into your thick non-Fiction tomes on the wars of meglomaniacal clowns and their cronies,' but I started to really get into the Prologue and finally got it.

I won't lie, it's not the easiest for me to follow, since Sean is the History teacher and fascinated by all things historical. Yet, along the lines of nearly every book pushed on Jon Stewart and Steve Colbert's shows, it's a book I feel I must work to comp
...more
Andrew
Sep 25, 2007 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I've read that makes a solid effort at understanding what happened/is happening in Iraq, in Washington, on the ground in Iraq and in the communities U.S. soldiers are from. It ties together the different ideological lines (neocons, realists, etc.) and shows how different thinking played into the rush to war. It also shows ideas, however well intentioned, can have disastrous results when reality isn't consulted.
The great thing about this book is that it takes the audience
...more
Matt
Apr 24, 2008 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This one was really great. Thought-provoking and insightful, it taught me more about the Iraq conflict than anything else I've read. Packer is thorough and engaging, and he presents the war from a variety of points of view. He's great when describing the situation of various Iraqis (a section about Kirkuk, where he juxtaposes Kurdish omplaints/desires for the future against the also at least somewhat justifiable but oftentimes completely opposed Arab complaints/desires, shows the complexity of t ...more
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  • Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq
  • Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq
  • Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War
  • Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone
  • Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War
  • The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals
  • The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace
  • The Fall of Baghdad
  • The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11
  • The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq
  • Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib
  • Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001
  • The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq
  • Against All Enemies
  • The Media Relations Department of Hizbollah Wishes You a Happy Birthday: Unexpected Encounters in the Changing Middle East
  • The Prince of the Marshes: And Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq
  • The Twilight War: The Secret History of America's Thirty-Year Conflict with Iran
  • The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation

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“Bush himself came into office with no curiosity about the world, only a suspicion that his predecessor had entangled America in far too many obscure places of no importance to national interests. Wolfowitz” 0 likes
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