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Over There: From the Bronx to Baghdad; Two Months in the Life of a Reluctant Reporter / Edition 1

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Overview

A very different kind of war memoir-a wry, sardonic, and uncommonly funny account of one amateurish yet principled reporter's encounter with the absurdities of the second Iraq war

Highly ambitious yet deeply ambivalent about the impending war, New York Times reporter Alan Feuer was sent to the Middle East to cover the U.S. invasion of Iraq in the spring of 2003. He was not alone: over 700 embedded news reporters planned on locking step with the military, and multitudes more, biding their time until Baghdad fell, would follow in their wake. In this gin-soaked yet scrupulously honest look at a reporter in wartime, Feuer describes this international media swarm, not to mention the local opportunists and unscrupulous profiteers, to exhilarating and profound effect. In these pages, you'll meet a desert Donald Trump, the stiletto-heeled Rania (who'll bribe a border guard or introduce you to the Queen-all for the right price), as well as the Times bureau chiefs who decide what, and how much of it, is fit to print. Clear-eyed and ever cognizant of the moral quicksand that surrounds him, Feuer recounts the interactions that form the news in stylish prose wedded to a wry, dry wit.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
There will likely be dozens, if not hundreds, of memoirs written by reporters who covered the war in Iraq. It's a safe bet though that this one will stand apart from most of the rest. . . . This is one war memoir that demands to be read.
Kirkus Reviews
Engaging . . . memorable. . . Feuer's first book helps us understand how the image of war is crafted, and for that alone it is welcome.
Publishers Weekly
A perceptive insider's account . . . It's also a trenchant, at times self-lacerating critique of the media itself and its shallowness and isolation . . . written with novelistic density and introspection.
Publishers Weekly
The media coverage of the war in Iraq is almost as much of an upheaval as the war itself in this engrossing memoir. New York Times reporter Feuer is yanked from the Bronx bureau and dropped into the Middle East just as the bombs start to fall on Baghdad. At the mercy both of events and high-handed editors, he struggles to make his way into Iraq and gain some perspective on the unfolding chaos that he can communicate to readers. Feuer's is a perceptive insider's account of the making of the news, filled with vivid sketches of fellow journalists and with the nuts-and-bolts details of stalking and seducing sources and piecing stories together from illegible notes in the face of near-impossible deadlines. It's also a trenchant, at times self-lacerating, critique of the media itself and its shallowness and isolation, its swarming of shell-shocked Iraqis, its drive to reduce human tragedy to poignant sound bites. Written in the third person, with a novelistic density and introspection, Feuer's muscular prose interrogates his own class anxieties and his longing for manhood and authentic experience, using them as a window into the dynamics that led America to war. The result is a fresh, personal take on the Iraqi adventure. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An innocent abroad: New York Times reporter Feuer's engaging memoir of a brief sojourn in Iraq. Feuer dons the Gray Lady's "This Reporter" persona to become the narrator known as "T.R.," and though the result of referring to himself in the third person is at first a little strange, he never makes the mistake of taking himself too seriously. Quite the reverse, for the most part: our Candide first turns up in these pages as a cub reporter who, though lazy and unambitious, at least is honest. Thanks to the vetting of a brilliant editor, T.R./Feuer reluctantly finds himself on a short list of reporters to be allowed into Iraq, a cause for celebration for the career-minded; says one colleague, "You're on the fucking list? Dude, that's great! Beers in Baghdad!" Given that his last story had been a profile of a Bronx resident who had emerged as the largest packager of tours to Italy, Feuer finds himself mystified by the assignment, but he nonetheless stocks up on the requisite safari gear and reporter tech kit in the evident hope of at least looking something like a war correspondent. He finds no shortage of things to write about, and as he gradually sheds his naive affect, he turns in some memorable portraits: there are the boozy death-and-glory hounds in the press corps; a Jordanian woman who diligently makes time in a world of graft to catch up with Sex and the City DVDs; Iraqi civilians whose lives have been overturned by the invasion; and, especially, American combat troops whose own innocence seems at odds with a certain trigger-happiness. His self-portrait is memorable, too, as Feuer recounts how his "eyes were opened to the methods used to make the news. He hated thinking any thoughtthat might inspire cynicism, and would hardly wish to bitch . . . still he was surprised." Of the war itself we catch only smoky, sand-blown glimpses. But Feuer's first book helps us understand how the image of war is crafted, and for that alone it is welcome. Author tour
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582433271
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 5/23/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.68 (h) x 1.02 (d)

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