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Every Man in This Village Is a Liar: An Education in War

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  854 Ratings  ·  163 Reviews
A National Book Award Finalist

A few weeks after the planes crashed into the World Trade Center, journalist Megan K. Stack was thrust into Afghanistan and Pakistan, dodging gunmen, prodding warlords for information, and witnessing the changes sweeping the Muslim world. Every Man in This Village Is a Liar is her riveting story of what she saw in the combat zones and beyond.
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 14th 2011 by Anchor (first published June 15th 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,608)
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Hannah Norris
Jan 20, 2015 Hannah Norris rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
this book made me want to light myself on fire
Trish
Stack uses language like a paintbrush in this memoir of her time covering the Middle East and South Asia as a reporter for the L.A. Times. In fact, she became a foreign correspondent by accident: being in Europe when the Twin Towers fell, she stumbled into Afghanistan. Throughout the book I have highlighted passages that capture light:
I left Afghanistan--the light that falls like powder on the poppy fields, the mortars stacked like firewood in broken-down sheds at the abandoned terror compounds,
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Rebecca
Oct 24, 2010 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Every Man in This Village Is a Liar is one of the most moving works--whether books, magazines, newspaper or online articles--I've read about America's War on Terror and the long term consequences of Western meddling (or not-so-benevolent neglect) in Middle Eastern politics since the discovery of oil under Saudi Arabian sands, the creation of Israel, and the start of the Cold War. Megan Stack does, in these hysterical times when there's a terrorist hiding under every bed, the impossible: she huma ...more
Claire Grasse
Apr 15, 2011 Claire Grasse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Afhanistan. Iraq. Iran. Israel. Palestine. Libya. Syria. Yemen.

Megan Stack has given us a conscience-ripping look at the wars in the Middle East, the mostly-civilian casualties, and the utter, irredeemable waste of it all. For the most part the author doesn't attempt to take sides or to make political statements. She just presents the things she saw and heard and smelled, in all their tragedy and horror - the things the media won't show us, and lets America make up its own mind about what the bl
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Carolyn
Nov 23, 2010 Carolyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hmmm - I have a lot of non-fiction.

The cover, title and flap sucked me in. She writes for the L A Times - figured she would be a better writer. If you can wade through the flowery language and imagery that she piles on, the experience is pretty interesting. But, she's a war correspondent - put on your big girl panties and write like one.
Marci
Jul 13, 2010 Marci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Megan K. Stack spent years as a war journalist in the Middle East and her writing about her time there is superb. It's a hard book for me because I was for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and yet what you see from her writing is that the people suffering mostly end up being innocent civilians. She also writes about problems in Jordan, Lybia, Lebanon, Israel, etc.. I think this next quote abtly describes the overall feeling in her book:

"I am covering the wars. It all matters. It is worth everyth
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Rebecca Olson
Jan 05, 2011 Rebecca Olson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the best books I've read in years - and I don't usually enjoy non-fiction. It is an incredibly beautiful, moving account of a journalist's time in the Middle East this past decade. It is difficult to describe what the book is about, and I hesitate to write anything at all because I won't do her work justice. Her account is interesting because it is both fact-based journalism and personal observation; I got the feeling that the impulse for the book was stories (or seeds of stories ...more
Sally Embury-thomas
Hated this book. Picked it up to read for the Vce English class next year but I thought it was very unlikeable. For starters it is a topic that I just don't know enough about. That is shocking of me and I should be more informed about the politics of that area but I just find it deadly boring. So it's not a book I would normally pick up. Then the way this woman writes is so strange and flowery. A taxi ride becomes an interminable couple of pages of prose. She obviously has tickets on herself - e ...more
Jennifer
Feb 13, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gbury-authors
I am biased. Megan and I grew up in the same town, swam on the high school swim team and graduated together. I remember being on a soccer team once with her sister, and her mother was editor of our town newspaper. Even though I haven't seen Megan in many years, my hometown loyalty is such that even if this were the worst book ever written - which it is not - I'd say it was great.
War is generally not something I choose to read about. I also know embarrassingly little about the Middle East, whethe
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Paulamoney
'Stars' subtracted off for silly writing style. The last 1/4 of the book is very good, though, and redeems itself. Much has already been said about the contents so I will not repeat. My problem (only 3 stars) is the irregular quality of the writing. When Megan Stack writes as a reporter I appreciated the story. Factual from her viewpoint, straight forward, gripping. But then, too often she writes as if she is a novelist (albeit not a very good one, in my opinion.) Too many (silly) similes and ri ...more
Paul Mullen
Sep 29, 2012 Paul Mullen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Megan Stack's memoir of being a reporter in just about every trouble-stricken country of the Middle East is a shocker. I gave it 4 stars because of the way it stretched me, not because "I really liked it" as the pop-up guidance suggests for 4 stars.

Her ability to describe with simile and carefully chosen illustration is so good that you can almost smell the smells and hear the sounds. At times I smiled at how creative her prose was to the point where I may have missed her point.

But her point in
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Mark
Jul 22, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
"You can survive and not survive, both at the same time."

War on Terror! Manifest or farce? Megan Stack, a foreign correspondent for the LA Times, attempts to answer that question. Shortly after 9/11, Stack found herself thrust into the Middle East, spending the next six years, in various hot zones: Afghanistan, occupied Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya, Saudi Arabia and a few others.
Stack’s first hand account of many atrocities is eye-opening and gut-wrenching. She befriends a variety of people in ea
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Melanie Cowley
Mar 19, 2014 Melanie Cowley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so well written, and so educational. She takes the reader to all of these middle eastern cities, and I loved the way she made me feel that I was there. Every night I would dream of the sights, smells, people, and food that she would describe. I loved that she volunteered to cover all of these stories, it made me feel so incredibly lucky to be born in the USA.
Jess
This book was an absolutely stunning memoir. Stacks has an unbelievable way with prose, and offering some of the most vivid "showing" I've read in any work. Her observations in Libya and Yemen were especially interesting, making me question the role of government in people's lives. She offered new insight as to issues of war and the Middle East, which is unusual, since at this point I feel a bit as thought I've read it all. I would highly suggest this book to anyone interested in the Middle East ...more
Chris
Oct 29, 2010 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: real-world
The title of this book is deceptive. You would think it's the report of a soldier's combat experience in Iraq or Afghanistan but it's the reporting of an American woman jounalist of her travels in the Middle East. The title makes you pause and reflect on what is really the truth after reading her many vignettes. She is everywhere it seems: Yemen, Israel, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, etc..; and she is in the greatest danger when in Lebanon. She is in every sense a soldier with a pen as ...more
PDXReader
Apr 04, 2014 PDXReader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book should be required reading for any US politician or general even considering meddling in other countries. Stack provides a first-hand report of what it's like to live in a war zone, concentrating on the human costs of US policies regarding the Middle East. Moving, heartfelt, painful, and unforgettable.
Julia
Jan 03, 2011 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was simultaneously difficult to read and difficult to put down. Stack's portrayal of the people she encountered was very human, even when the characters were highly unsympathetic. My favorite chapter was the one in which she spent time in Libya, for its description of the ongoing tension of being there. I also really appreciated the theme about how it is possible to simultaneously survive and not survive. Ultimately, I subtracted a star because by the end of the book I wasn't sure what ...more
Alex Rogers
Aug 18, 2014 Alex Rogers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good! I am no longer reading much about Middle Eastern current affairs, I find it just too depressing and repetitive. But I picked this up for some reason, and was simply hooked - Stack carries off that rare trick of marrying objective journalism with a strong flavour of culture and place, tied together with excellent writing. You feel her reaching for optimism and touches of beauty, and then feel for her as she is overwhelmed by ancient hatreds, misogyny, and calculated cynicism from all p ...more
Miranda
Sep 29, 2015 Miranda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised to find out how much I didn't know.
Jamie
Jul 21, 2016 Jamie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must admit this book started out extremely weak and actually fairly dull. How could a book about various war zones be dull? Just leave it to this horribly unlikable author who is clearly suffering form a serious dose of narcissism. Add to that her flowery, nonsensical writing style and there you have it. I agree with other reviewers who said she thought quite highly of herself because every man she came across was dying of love for her. I've spent time in this part of the world and pretty much ...more
Alicia
Dec 16, 2015 Alicia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I have read plenty of books on war. I’m not sure what it is that holds me so captive. I think it gives me perspective. While depressing to most, it is enlightening what people endure and why they think war happens or who is responsible. Everyman in This Village is a Liar was fantastic. I was expecting another dully written book on war that I would endure but not enjoy fully because of the writing styles. Megan K Stack’s words were poetic, depressing, sad, and beautiful. The superb humanizing of ...more
Zoe
Jun 06, 2016 Zoe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-books
That was painful, not to read but to listen to, to feel, to see.
I loved Megan's style of writing, her descriptions,her authenticity and her honesty.
I have a strong dislike for America.
This book made me mad, all these wars, fought for these abstract goals and all the while killing people who are just pieces in someone else's games. All these big powers who believe they have a right to something and they have a right to kill people to get to it. War, it's a waste of time and a waste of human lif
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tori
Oct 06, 2015 tori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Megan Stack is wonderfully adept at capturing the chaos and fear that permeated the post-9/11 Middle East, and her personal experience as a journalist make the stories she tells even more poignant. Her insights into the nature of war and violence are especially memorable: "It matters, what you do at war. It matters more than you ever want to know. Because countries, like people, have collective consciences and memories and souls, and the violence we deliver in the name of our nation is pooled li ...more
Angela
Apr 30, 2016 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kinda 3.5-ish stars.

Very reminiscent of Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, in that it's a poetic, meditative exploration of the horrors of war. Megan Stack was a foreign war correspondent for the LA Times during the mid-2000s. Each chapter in the book covers another warzone or conflict state: Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Yemen, Egypt, Saudi Arabia. She writes lyrically - sometimes too lyrically, sometimes perfectly (and beautifully) capturing a human detail. She also does a laudable job of
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Mylissa
Mar 07, 2014 Mylissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-books
While there is a lot to be learned from this book about how war gets a person, whole groups of people, whole countries down, I don't think it's written very strongly.

Since she's a journalist I think using that voice combined with her own thoughts would be more effective then the weird, almost saccharine voice that tries to be poetic. It's a real contradiction to what she is writing about which is how war is the opposite of things like poetry, so to go to the language she uses is odd.

However, sh
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Daren
I didn't love this book the way 'most' reviewers did. There were a few who 'hated' it, but they were a minority. I fit into neither camp here.

I didn't find I enjoyed the authors writing style, although I can't put my finger on what it was about the style I didn't like. The writing at times was overly flowery - metaphors and similes left right and centre.

This is probably not going to be a helpful review, as I can't really explain my apathy with this book.

Generalising terribly, it seems that femal
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Lorette
Aug 25, 2012 Lorette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book got better with time; started off as a 3 star, moved towards 3.5, and finished with a solid 4 star landing. Meghan Stack is a war reporter who spent years in the Middle East reporting on "The Region."

Ms. Stack is even-handed in her criticisms and blame throughout the book as she details the conflicts. It becomes clear that the problems in the Middle East, including the various involvement of America, are complex, with no simple fix. Each chapter tells a different story and highlights t
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Phillip
This was an interesting book. I'm not sure how to quite all take it -- I don't agree with the writer's attitude that the world is a depressing, hopeless place. She has obviously seen a lot of war and death -- and that has stayed with her as she has traveled and reported in the 21st Century war zones. I guess I was frustrated with her because she seems to feel strongly, yet does not do anything about it. Either she should be putting more effort into changing the things she feels strongly about an ...more
Diane
Jan 24, 2011 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very sobering, difficult book to read, but I'm not sorry I did. So often I feel as if I live in a kind of bubble in the US - and outside that bubble are all the wars we've been involved in as a country (not to mention a number of others) ever since I was born. Megan Stack has been reporting on war, terrorism and political Islam since 2001 in over 20 countries. In this book, she brings the complex realities and baffling confusions and terrible horrors of the wars I hear about on the news all th ...more
Kristin
Mar 19, 2012 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book much more than I expected I would. I had put off reading it (as I had a large pile of books from the library to pick from), not quite sure if I wanted to tackle a political book full of violence. But, to be honest, the book is a pretty fast read. Megan is a very good writer, which should not come as a surprise given that she's an experienced journalist (knowing how to get to the point and write in a concise way that keeps your attention without losing the details).

The book i
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“You can overcome the things that are done to you, but you cannot escape the things that you have done.
Here is the truth: It matters, what you do at war. It matters more than you ever want to know. Because countries, like people, have collective consciences and memories and souls, and the violence we deliver in the name of our nation is pooled like sickly tar at the bottom of who we are. The soldiers who don't die for us come home again. They bring with them the killers they became on our national behalf, and sit with their polluted memories and broken emotions in our homes and schools and temples. We may wish it were not so, but action amounts to identity. We become what we do.You can tell yourself all the stories you want, but you can't leave your actions over there. You can't build a wall and expect to live on the other side of memory. All of the poison seeps back into our soil.”
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“Here is the truth: It matters, what you do at war. It matters more than you ever want to know. Because countries, like people, have collective consciences and memories and souls, and the violence we deliver in the name of our nation is pooled like sickly tar at the bottom of who we are. ... We may wish it were not so, but action amounts to identity. We become what we do.” 4 likes
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