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The Wake of War

Encounters with the People of Iraq and Afghanistan

Author: Anne Nivat

In the spring of 2003, acclaimed journalist Anne Nivat set off from Tajikistan on a six-month journey through the aftermath of the American invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. As with her prizewinning work detailing the lives of ordinary Chechens during the brutal Russian campaign against them, Nivat felt compelled to meet everyday people and write about their lives. Her travels, undertaken before the insurgency gained momentum, take us to terrain now all but inaccessible to journalists. The result is our most detailed and nuanced portrait yet of the workings of these complex societies and of the lives of individual Iraqis and Afghanis in the wake of war.

Nivat spoke to engineers and teachers, ex-military men and rising leaders, an actor and a former Taliban member; she stayed with Kurdish and Shi’a and Turkoman families; and all along the way, she recorded their stories. In Iraqi Kurdistan we see the aftereffects of Saddam Hussein’s policy of Arabization: One young Kurdish leader declares that “the Arabs are barbarians by nature, their culture is nothing but thievery, looting, and killing!” But in Kirkuk, a Turkoman claims the Kurds behave “just like the dictator who oppressed them.” Near Basra we meet Adnan Karim Bhaya, an ex-admiral who proudly recounts his battles against the Iranians and later against British allied troops, but who now finds himself stripped of his military status and living on his wife’s salary. We meet Hamid, a prosperous engineer who rails against the United States and against Afghanistan’s passive cooperation with the superpower. We also encounter a powerful warlord who keeps an extraordinary rose garden in the midst of the desert, and an Afghani gynecologist who, having devoted her life to the health of Afghan women, has never touched even the hand of a man.

Throughout, Nivat allows each person to speak in his or her own voice without interposing her presence on their words-words of hope, sadness, anger, and, above all, the uncertainty that fills their everyday lives.

The Wake of War is an example of the power-and the powerful importance-of going behind the headlines, behind the barrage of argument, to glimpse what is happening in the lives of ordinary people.
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Review: CHOICE - May 10, 2006
"Rare and intriguing portraits of Iraqis and Afghanis that highlight their admirable qualities during difficult times."
Review by: Tom Fate, Boston Globe - September 25, 2005
"Two and a half years after the United States initiated a new war in Iraq, two gifted reporters have written searing insider accounts of its physical, psychological, and geopolitical devastation. Both Anthony Shadid, in Night Draws Near, and Anne Nivat, in The Wake of War, resist the embedded stories that most journalists see in the military contingents to which they are assigned. They find their stories not looking over the shoulder of a US Marine, or in the Green Zone of Baghdad, but in the still-smoking shells of homes and hospitals, and on the streets of towns where people are still waiting for the electricity and water to return. In the end, both journalists seem to wonder if an occupier can ever bring ''liberation" to Iraq…The truth that Nivat constructs in The Wake of War is equally compelling. Nivat is perhaps best known for her reporting on Chechnya, where she disguised herself as a Chechen woman to evade a ban on journalists. Her new work is no less courageous."
Review by: Rashid Khalidi, Author of Resurrecting Empire - September 1, 2005
"The wars in which the United States has been engaged since 9/11 seem distant and almost unreal. This book provides us with vivid first hand voices of ordinary people from these two devastated battlefields. Nivat has a talent for listening and conveys the reality of these tragic situations clearly and directly. A riveting and

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The Wake of War

ISBN: 978-080700240-7
Publication Date: 10/5/2005
Pages: 320
Size:6 x 9 Inches (US)
Price:  $25.95
Format: Cloth
Availability: In stock.
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