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I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  585 ratings  ·  99 reviews
At age twenty-five, Michael Hastings arrived in Baghdad to cover the war in Iraq for "Newsweek." He had at his disposal a little Hemingway romanticism and all the apparatus of a twenty-first-century reporter -- cell phones, high-speed Internet access, digital video cameras, fixers, drivers, guards, translators. In startling detail, he describes the chaos, the violence, the ...more
Hardcover, 276 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Scribner Book Company (first published January 1st 2008)
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Jennifer Phillips
Mar 01, 2010 rated it liked it
This was a tough book to read but I'm glad I found it during one of my random searches of the library shelves. Hastings' account of his time reporting in Iraq puts the day-to-day realities of life for residents and soldiers in your face. And it ain't pretty. It made me embarrassed about little I've understood what was happening over there. I don't think I'm the only one but it has me wanting better information and a clearer sense of why we're doing what we're doing from our leaders going forward ...more
Shayna Englin
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I was reminded about this book by the untimely death of its author, and reading it reminded me that we lost a terrific writer and vital truth-teller when Michael Hastings died in a car crash.

A mix of love story and war story, I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story recounts Hastings' relationships with Baghdad and his fiance, Andi Parhamovich. Those relationships both supported and brutalized each other, and it's clear from the book that Hastings understood that. Both stories are compellin
May 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ok so we all know what is going to happen when we pick up the book but to me that isn't the most important part of this captivating story. You follow Michael and Andi from the very beginning, until the end, and are not only told the story of their relationship, but the world's story which I think is what makes this story so brilliant. Whilst we all sit on our couches and occasionally see a story about the war in a news segment, there are thousands of people living it everyday and no part of thei ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Michael Hastings died recently in a suspicious single-car crash in Los Angeles in the wee morning hours. His body was burned beyond recognition. In this book about the death of his fiancee in Iraq Michael Hastings writes with horror and grief about how she was so badly burned that there was no corpse to view. This Newsweek journalist has written about both the Iraq and Afghanistan war, has imbedded with troops dozens of times for dozens of missions. I wonder, what happened to him on a deserted r ...more
Carolyn J.
Jan 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
It has been nine years since a book kept me up all night, reading. Then it was Angela's Ashes. Last night it was I Lost My Love in Baghdad by Michael Hastings. The title doesn't do justice to this Iraq War memoir/love story of a journalist and an activist, both freedom fighters in their respective ideals and goals. Andrea Parmahovich was killed when the convoy she was a passenger in was ambushed by Islamic extremists as she left a meeting that was aimed at fostering communications with Iraqi lea ...more
Too sad for many probably. A story of young love and all of its foibles, trip-wires and nonsense and the horrible grief that comes when a person you love is taken without warning way too young. Surrounded by the worsening state of Iraq, the horrors and indignities our soldiers take for precious little thanks, the ever-increasing propaganda of the Bush white house and the stress that becomes normal when it's all you have, Michael Hastings tells a love story. He is honest about his own shortcoming ...more
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve read many books and memoirs by correspondents in Iraq over the last several months, and this one is the most recent of them.

The description of life in Iraq is done well, though I found it initially difficult to adapt to Hasting’s tone, which is far more informs than many of his (older) counterparts.

However, those parts are the book are easily overshadowed by the tragic tale that is the main overlying arc of this book - the death of Hasting’s fiancée. It is incredibly personal and unlike an
Jun 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone.
The scope of the tragedy that the war in Iraq has become is revealed with numbing deliberateness in Michael Hastings’ heartbreakingly personal narrative, I Lost My Love in Baghdad. It is one man’s tale of personal loss juxtaposed to the sufferings of a nation in the midst of “low-intensity civil-strife” that leaves war-fatigued American troops with little to do but hope to survive. This recollection of nearly two years of in-country correspondence would not please our country’s leaders one bit, ...more
Feb 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
I picked this one up at the dollar store. Something was bugging me the whole time I read it, and then I realized what it was: from page one, you know the author's girlfriend is going to die in Baghdad, and you might expect her, or their relationship, or Baghdad, to be the central focus of the book. Instead, you get a synopsis of Michael Hasting's career as a war correspondant. A large portion of the book is him recounting the stories he's filed, the imbeds he's been on, etc, interspersed with IM ...more
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
The end of this book is completely devastating, as you would expect. The rest of it, however, is a very powerful look at the daily life for reporters in Iraq as well as what the U.S. military was facing there. As for the romance, it is real, too. These people are real people and it's not a movie (or storybook) romance. They are flawed.

It is worth reading for nothing else but to remember both of these people.
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Extremely well written. I think what makes this story so beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time is that Michael and Andi were both pursuing their dreams and professional goals by working in Baghdad and it is ultimately what cost Andi her life. With Michael losing his life in 2013, there is something even more tragic about this book. Two people who were on the path to change the world, both killed in unbelievable circumstances.
May 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
I thought that this book was a very REAL look at what is going on in Baghdad, as well as a heart wrenching story of losing someone close to you that you love. I can't imagine losing my significant other, and this was just a real wake up call reminding one that we are never promised tomorrow.
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir-biography
Excellent writing. The story is a fascinating look at the war in Iraq. I enjoyed the journalist's take on the situation there, and the book only made me even more certain that the war in Iraq was a huge mistake. The story is a tragedy for Iraq and for America.
Jul 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have read many books about Iraq from many perspectives, but never one like this. Michael Hastings is a fearless reporter who sadly lost his life in a car accident a few weeks ago. This book is a fast but well-written read and it made me sad that his life was cut short before he could write more.
Melissa Tetrault
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Very well written. Michael made me feel like I was in Baghdad. I learned a lot about Iraq and Baghdad. He was an exceptional journalist and writer. A purveyor of truth.
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
this guy has lived several lives. am in awe of him.
I am conflicted about this book. On one hand, it is an engaging, gripping account from a provocative and prolific combat journalist during a particularly volatile time in Iraq (2005-2007). Hastings' writing is insightful; he sees the conflict firsthand as an embed with U.S. forces and has a series of remarkable experiences on the front lines. On the other, the framing of this book is around Hastings' relationship with a young aid worker, Andi, who transitions from being a successful publicist in ...more
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Well it took me more than a year, but I’m finally done. It’s a refreshing perspective on the Iraq war, despite the writer being American. It’s sad and heartfelt and I probably hate the dirty games of politics more than ever now.
But if I get away with one thing of this books it’s this:
“War always wins.”
It destroys lives of civilians and soldiers alike, while the people who decided to go to war at the first place get away relatively unharmed.
Mustafa Baldawi
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a book! Reminder of all what I have seen in my hometown Baghdad, and how it destroyed the lives of everyone, whether they realize it or not! War is War, nothing will change about it! And yet, we still in War!
A life-shattering book for real!
Art Wilmeth
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Heartbreaking love story. RIP Michael and Andi
L. Farmer
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a really sad book. Michael was an exact writer and an excellent person. I miss talking to him.
Allegra Harpootlian
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
A heartbreaking tale of war and love. Only thing that would have made it better would be Michael Hastings, the author, still being around.
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
“I Lost My Love in Baghdad” is a straightforward title for a book about a war correspondent whose girlfriend was killed by Sunni extremist during the Iraqi war.

I love wartime stories so I bought the book on a whim and finished it months ago.

I do not know which subject fascinated me more – the reckless, action packed war or the gently evolving love story embedded in the author's layered descriptions of daily fighting and survival.

Reading the book, you are intrigued to learn more about the war, th
Oct 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book just made me angry; angry at Micheal and Andi for dying so young; angry at Bush & Cheney for getting us involved in this unnecessary war: angry about how badly run this was was.

I already knew about this book and had always wanted to read it. I remember Michael's tragic death and watched Rachel Maddow & Fareed Zakariah trying to hold it together as they reported it. We have so few real reporters, so losing one so talented and young was just horrific.

This was Micheal's first book writte
Aug 26, 2008 rated it liked it
I will be traveling to Baghdad this Fall and, like Hastings, will leave behind loved ones and a relationship. I can relate to the feelings that he has; being torn between being in love and the desire to contribute to "something" through a meaningful career. I respect the way Hastings honors his fiance's memory by writing about her passion, aspirations and courage.

There are points in the book, however, that he should have thought through a bit better. There is no way someone who gets to go home
Jan 10, 2010 rated it liked it
The title is really just the hook to get you in. I'd say only 25% of it is dedicated to the autobiographical love story of Andi and Michael, the rest is about Middle Eastern politics, how Michael became a reporter, life in Baghdad, and all the many horrible things he saw while over in Iraq.

I was a little disappointed at first to realize that this was just another war book, cleverly disguised as a romance of sorts, but once I got past that, I decided to keep reading to gain a better education (at
Aug 11, 2013 rated it liked it
I learned about this book when Chris Hayes on MSNBC memorialized Michael Hastings the day after a car accident took his life. (Hastings was the journalist who wrote the Rolling Stone article about General Stanley McChrystal and brought down his career.) The book gives an insight into the life of a war journalist, the dangers, the tedium, the havoc it wreaks on a relationship. His assignments in Iraq encouraged his girlfriend to take a job in Baghdad with the National Democratic Institute, a Wash ...more
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
So while I was reading The Goldfinch, which was the best book I have read all year, I was also reading this one. It may have gotten three stars if it wasn't for that unfortunate juxtaposition. Unfortunately, that literary masterpiece made this one into even more of a dud. Michael Hasting's descriptions of wartime Baghdad were interesting. I never knew what happened to someone once they were killed in action. Now I do. On the other hand, the love story was terrible. I was not remotely convinced t ...more
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
I feel a little sheepish saying this, because the backbone of the story is really tragic. That said, I found this book disappointing. The author lost his girlfriend in Baghdad, and the whole story is supposed to be about their relationship and her death against the backdrop of the war, and yet...I never felt remotely connected to her or their story. Their relationship, as he wrote it, was dominated by insecurity, manipulative threats to leave each other, hang-up phone arguments, petty jealousy, ...more
Dawn Bulchandani
Aug 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: iraq
Wow. This is a really illuminating look at life in Iraq. For those in the story it is dramatic, frightening, intense, and yet important enough to remain in the country. Tears fled my eyes when Andi died - alongside the others in her convoy. I hate death. I hate it when people kill people. AH! All the more motivation to love one's enemies - not to get something from them exactly, but to bring them into the liberty of love where hatred is gross, vengeance is silly, and destruction is unappealing. ...more
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Michael Hastings was a contributing editor to Rolling Stone. Over a five year span, he regularly covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He started his career at Newsweek magazine in 2002, and was named the magazine’s Baghdad correspondent in 2005. In 2008, he reported on the U.S. presidential elections for Newsweek. His work has appeared in GQ, The Washington Post, the L.A. Times, Slate, Salon, ...more

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“What the fuck? Didn't you tell him you had a boyfriend?" "I did. He asked if I loved you." "Who is this guy? What's he do?" "He's an accountant in Boston." "An accountant? Jesus Christ, didn't you tell him you're dating a fucking war correspondent?” 3 likes
“I'm glad you're the one I get to leave the parties with.” 3 likes
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