Colleen Clark's Reviews > The Prince of the Marshes: And Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq

The Prince of the Marshes by Rory Stewart
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's review
Sep 18, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: iraq
Recommended for: anyone interested in Iraq, fans of "The Places in Between"
Read in October, 2006

After Stewart walked across Afghanistan in January 2002 ("The Places in Between") he rejoined the British Foreign Office and volunteered to work as part of the British staff of the Coalition Provisional Authority. He was a deputy governor in Maysan and Nasariyah from October 2003 to June 2004.

Like "The Places in Between" this book also is like a modified and selected diary, so it proceeds chronologically. Stewart writes about his and his staff's efforts to engage the local Iraqi population in political and reconstruction efforts. Stewart pulls no punches about his own and others' naivete, their frustrations with engaging the members of the local power structures, and the disorganization of both the Iraqis and the CPA. He made a few trips to the Green Zone and his descriptions are consistent with those of Rajiv Chandrasekaran ("Imperial Life in the Emerald City").

It's impressive in retrospect to learn how quickly the invasion of Iraq went sour. The political and security situation got worse and more dangerous just in the 9 months Stewart was there.

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