The Ballad of Abu Ghraib

Overview

The first full reckoning of what actually happened at Abu Ghraib prison-"one of the most devastating of the many books on Iraq" (The New York Times Book Review)

A relentlesly surprising and perceptive account of the front lines of the war on terror, Standard Operating Procedure is a war story that takes its place among the classics. Acclaimed author Philip Gourevitch presents the story behind a defining moment in the war, and a defining moment in our understanding of ourselves- ...

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The Ballad of Abu Ghraib

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Overview

The first full reckoning of what actually happened at Abu Ghraib prison-"one of the most devastating of the many books on Iraq" (The New York Times Book Review)

A relentlesly surprising and perceptive account of the front lines of the war on terror, Standard Operating Procedure is a war story that takes its place among the classics. Acclaimed author Philip Gourevitch presents the story behind a defining moment in the war, and a defining moment in our understanding of ourselves- the infamous Abu Ghraib photographs of prisoner abuse. Drawing on Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris's astonishing interviews with the Americans who took and appeared in the pictures, Standard Operating Procedure is an utterly original book that stands to endure as essential reading long after the current war in Iraq passes from the headlines.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
For many Americans, the torture photos from Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison have left indelible memories: the black-hooded inmate, his arms outstretched like a scarecrow, his feet clinging to a tiny base; the grotesque mound of naked male bodies with two GIs standing behind it, beaming approval. In Standard Operating Procedures, Paris Review editor and frequent New Yorker contributor Philip Gourevitch and Oscar-winning Fog of War filmmaker Errol Morris combine their talents to produce a revelatory account of how standard military procedures devolved into full-scale mayhem. Informed by 200 of Morris's interviews with soldiers and prisoners, Gourevitch's narrative carves out a scathing picture of behavior distressingly at odds with who we, as Americans, think we are. Relentless, revealing, and unforgettable.
NPR's Talk of the Nation

"[A] gut wrenching morality check"

Newsweek
This book has to be read.
Douglas Brinkley
…deeply haunting and brilliantly researched saga of good intentions gone awry…Standard Operating Procedure is a devastating critique of the Bush administration. It inspires outrage at everything and everyone from the Bush Doctrine to former attorney general Alberto Gonzales to the CIA.
—The Washington Post
Raymond Bonner
Unfortunately, the truth, which emerges with painful clarity from Standard Operating Procedure, is that what happened at Abu Ghraib was not only tolerated but condoned and encouraged. Harsh treatment wasn't punished; it was rewarded…this is one of the most devastating of the many books on Iraq.
—The New York Times Book Review
Michiko Kakutani
By insistently focusing on the photos and the lower-level soldiers who appear in them, the movie version of Standard Operating Procedure often has the inadvertent effect of playing into the "few bad apples" argument put forth by the Bush administration. This book version, in contrast, does an admirable job of situating those photos (which curiously do not appear in the volume) within a larger context, showing the roots those repellent images had in decisions made at the highest levels of the Bush administration…What Standard Operating Procedure, the book…does with remarkable power, is conjure the atmosphere and conditions at Abu Ghraib that existed during the period in which the photographed abuses occurred.
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143115397
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 494,909
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Gourevitch

Errol Morris is the author of the New York Times bestseller A Wilderness of Error and the Academy Award-winning director of The Fog of War, among other films, including Standard Operating Procedure; Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control; and The Thin Blue Line. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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    Posted January 27, 2010

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