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 US 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.
From the Bronx to Baghdad: A Memoir
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"This is one war memoir that demands to be read." —Booklist Starred Review
ALAN FEUER has been a staff writer at the New York Times since 1999. He has written about prisons, the Mafia, baseball, steakhouse waiters, pigeon racers, firefighters, bartenders, and single mothers. Currently he covers the Bronx and Harlem for the paper’s Metropolitan section. A Clevelander by birth, he has lived in New York City for fifteen years. Over There is his first book.
“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.” —Publishers Weekly
“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… He is an admirer of the reportage of Hemingway and Mailer, and it shows: he focuses on the small details of his big story, on the people at least as much as on events. It’s a down-and-dirty book, too, with plenty of grit and rough language, but that, of course, is part of the story, too. This is one war memoir that demands to be read.” —Booklist Starred Review