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

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  965 Ratings  ·  172 Reviews
A shattering account of war and disillusionment from a young woman reporter on the front lines of the war on terror.

A few weeks after the planes crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11, journalist Megan K. Stack, a  twenty-five-year-old national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, was thrust into Afghanistan and Pakistan, dodging gunmen and prodding warlords for
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ebook, 240 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Anchor
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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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Hannah Norris
Dec 11, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
this book made me want to light myself on fire
Rebecca
Oct 23, 2010 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
Mary  Carrasco
This is a memoir based on Megan K. Stack's journalistic travels through several war torn, Middle Eastern countries.

The writing is beautiful. War is not. So, it felt to me that the author's use of sweet, flowery writing was at odds with the stink and rot of the violence of war. Perhaps that was part of the message here; The incongruity of death and devastation with the beauty of the Middle Eastern landscape, it's culture and people.

In my opinion, this book often felt disjointed. It left me wonde
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Carolyn
Nov 23, 2010 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.
Claire Grasse
Apr 15, 2011 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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Marci
Jul 12, 2010 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
Dec 22, 2010 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
Paul Mullen
Sep 29, 2012 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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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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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
Mark
Jul 16, 2012 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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Jess
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
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 14, 2010 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
Julia
Dec 06, 2010 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 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
Melanie Cowley
Mar 19, 2014 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.
PDXReader
Mar 25, 2014 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.
Miranda
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised to find out how much I didn't know.
Crysty
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many reviews of this book critique the "flowery" language. I wouldn't use the word flowery but, yes, Stack's descriptions often border imprecision. Still, I could forgive all that, because the lack of polish was responsible for an honest, beseeching energy that flowed consistently from beginning to end. Even if images of war felt blurred or locales indistinct, the experience of being surrounded by war and its mess and confusion was ever-present. And Stack frequently does away with the qualifiers ...more
Steve Nolan
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid 4.5-4.75. A book I'm planning on revisiting.

Fantastic stories about a wide variety of people. (The snooty Americans in Saudi Arabia was a surprise.)
Linda
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The conflicts in the Middle East stripped to their bare essentials-a look at the reality of war
Sarah
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summer 2017 - This is a hard book. Brilliantly written, with vivid descriptions and passion this intimate look at war through the eyes of a journalist was both eye opening and heart wrenching.
Tracey Jega
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
tough going, but enjoyable. interesting insight into middle east politics.
Greg
Jun 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After I finished Every Man in This Village Is a Liar on the train today, I walked home up the hill asking myself: what compels me to read these books about war? It's obviously not because I need to be convinced about how horrible it is. The best answer I could come up with was that I simply want to know what it’s really like. To have someone who was an eyewitness tell me: I stared war right in the face, I saw it tear people's lives apart. There is something harrowingly addictive, at least for a ...more
Droid
Aug 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Abbe
Sep 20, 2012 added it
Shelves: in-library
From Publishers Weekly

An American reporter takes in one Middle East cataclysm after another in this searing memoir. Los Angeles Times correspondent Stack covered the war in Afghanistan after Sept. 11, then bounced around to other hot-spot postings, including Israel during the second Intifada, occupied Baghdad, and southern Lebanon during the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Stack offers gripping accounts of the sorrows of war, especially of the traumas Afghan and Lebanese civilians

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Jennifer (JC-S)
Mar 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
‘You can survive and not survive, both at the same time.’

A number of books have been written by journalists and others about the events in Iraq and Afghanistan following the events of September 11 2001. This book offers a different perspective. On 11 September, Megan Stack, a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, was holidaying in Paris. Shortly after, she was assigned to Afghanistan to cover the US invasion. From there, she travelled to Iraq and Lebanon, to Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Li
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Kevin Fanning
Jul 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Here is my review, which I wrote in an email to my friend Michael-Ann:


Hey! So I really liked that book. It's interesting, it's different. I'm really curious to hear your take on it. The thing is that it's written in a very painterly style, with a VERY high metaphor to sentence ration. Like at times she piles so many similes on a page that the whole thing threatens to crumble. Ultimately I felt OK with it, it's a very impressionistic, episodic style here, rather than a straightforward narrative,
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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.” 5 likes
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