From inside a surreal bubble of pure Americana known as the Green Zone, the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority attempted to rule Iraq following the fall of Saddam Husseins regime. Drawing on interviews and internal documents, Rajiv Chandrasekaran tells the memorable story of this ill-prepared attempt to build American democracy in a war-torn Middle Eastern country, detailing not only the risky disbanding of the Iraqi army and the ludicrous attempt to train the new police force, but absurdities such as the aide who based Baghdads new traffic laws on those of the state of Maryland, downloaded from the net, and the twenty-four-year-old who had never worked in finance put in charge of revitalising Baghdads stock exchange. "Imperial Life in the Emerald City" is American reportage at its best.
Black comedy, set in the graveyard of the neo-conservative dream. Superb John le Carre The best account I have read of why the American occupation of Iraq has gone so drastically wrong ... An exceptional piece of work, well researched, well written and well judged ... I cannot remember a book that does more to enhance our understanding of the country than this one Said K. Aburish, Spectator Its an extraordinary work of journalism that provides one of the most powerful cases yet made against the disastrous adventure in Iraq. Like a documentary Catch-22, this gripping book shows how the Bush administrations abject failure to plan for the period after the invasion gave rise to a toxic mixture of tragedy and farce Hari Kunzru, Guardian Books of the Year 2007 Graham Greene would have loved Imperial Life in the Emerald City, a painfully funny account of the blundering American occupation of Iraq. It confirms everything he wrote in The Quiet American Philip French, Guardian Books of the Year 2007.
Rajiv Chandrasekaran is an assisting managing editor of The Washington Post, where he has worked since 1994. He previously served the Post as a bureau chief in Baghdad, Cairo, and Southeast Asia, and as a correspondent covering the war in Afghanistan. He recently completed a term as journalist-in-residence at the International Reporting Project at the Johns Hopkins school for Advanced International Studies, and was a public policy scholar at the Wodrow Wilson International Center. He lives in Washington, D.C.