Since 2003, the bloody legacy of the invasion of Iraq has been well documented by journalists, historians, politicians, and others confounded by the past 5 years. Yet few discuss the constituency that represents Iraq's last best hope for a stable country: its ordinary, working middle class. In Waiting for an Ordinary Day, Farnaz Fassihi, the Wall Street Journal's deputy bureau chief for the Middle East and Africa, gives voice to these people by unveiling an Iraq that has remained largely hidden. From the eve of the invasion in late 2002 through 2005, Fassihi chronicles Iraqis' everyday experiences as they come to terms with the realities of Saddam Hussein's overthrow and the U.S.'s subsequent occupation. In an unforgettable portrait of people whose stories have not been heard-from art gallery owners to army translators, taxi drivers to radicalized teenagers-Fassihi brings to life the very people whose goodwill the U.S. depended upon for a successful occupation. Haunting and lyrical, Waiting for an Ordinary Day tells the untold story of post-invasion Iraq through native eyes.
Author: Farnaz Fassihi
Publication Date: September 15, 2008
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"Of all the fine, brave books that have been written about the Iraq debacle, this is the indispensable one. Fassihi has a reporter's eye, a humanist's heart, and a fierce identification with the people she was assigned to cover. This is not a book about military tactics or political blunders, but of the effects of these things on ordinary Iraqi lives. Heartbreaking and resonant, Fassihi's work makes her a worthy successor to the great war correspondent Martha Gellhorn in understanding that 'War happens to people, one by one.'"
-Geraldine Brooks, author of Nine Parts of Desire, People of the Book, and the Pulitzer Prize winning novel March
"This is not politics, but reportage written, at least, in a way that anyone, regardless of national origin, can understand."
-Booklist, starred review
"An astonishing insight into
ordinary life in modern Iraq. Very few foreign journalists can equal her contact
with, knowledge of, and empathy for individual Iraqis and their families. She
patiently describes private lives and local pain. Her descriptions expose much
of what is glib and inadequate in our analysis and policy.... A very important
contribution to our understanding of the experience of occupation."
-Rory Stewart, author of The Places In Between
personal, deeply disturbing report.... Fassihi's reporting on the bloody conflict
between Sunnis and Shiites and of the rival Shiite factions is enlightening, as
is the account of her experiences as a Muslim woman working as a journalist in
an increasingly fundamentalist society.... [Her] passionate reporting is certain
to stir controversy."
"A fascinating account of life in Iraq that helps us understand why stability there has been so elusive. In her richly textured, deftly written narrative, Fassihi chronicles the shattered dreams of the middle-class Iraqis who welcomed the Americans as liberators, using their stories to illustrate the country's unraveling. It is a must-read for anyone who cares about Iraq and its future."
-Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone
Farnaz Fassihi is the deputy bureau chief for the Middle East and Africa for the Wall Street Journal, now based in Beirut, Lebanon. She joined the Journal in January 2003 and was immediately sent to Iraq. Her family is Iranian-American; she has degrees in English from Tehran University and in journalism from Columbia University. Prior to joining the Journal, she was a roving foreign correspondent for the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., and a reporter for the Providence Journal.
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