Winner of the Montaigne Medal for 2009
"There's little good news, but [Oliver] Poole offers an insightful, sympathetic foreigner's perspective on America's misadventures in Iraq."--"Kirkus Reviews"
As the Iraq correspondent for the British newspaper the "Daily Telegraph," Oliver Poole arrived in Baghdad in 2005. For the next two years his home was a hotel room in the middle of Baghdad's "Red Zone," one of the most dangerous places on earth.
Poole describes his daily life and how a lively city full of cafes was plunged into an unreported civil war. His own office was destroyed by a suicide bomber. He tells how the war changed his life and that of his interpreter, Ahmed, and his family: pregnant sister-in-law blown up as she is teaching a class of children, brother-in-law kidnapped and murdered, and another brother kidnapped, the family forced to flee.
As he travels across Iraq with British and US forces, Oliver Poole witnesses firsthand the impact that war has on the troops. Finally, in November 2006, with the "Telegraph" closing down his office, Oliver Poole joined the masses escaping Iraq through the Baghdad airport.
Fully up-to-date (up to the end of 2007), "Red Zone" is the most intimate and moving account of the war in Iraq to be published.
Oliver Poole first entered Iraq in March 2003 after crossing the Kuwaiti border as the only British daily newspaper reporter "embedded" with the US Army. His account of the invasion, "Black Knights: On the Bloody Road to Baghdad" (HarperCollins), sold over thirty thousand copies.
35 year old Oliver Poole first crossed into Iraq in March 2003, from Kuwait, as a reporter, â embeddedâ in the back of an American armoured vehicle. Three weeks later, his unit had fought their way to Baghdad. His book on the 2003 Gulf War, Black Knights: on the Bloody Road to Baghdad, sold 29,000 copies. But when Poole returned to London, he was haunted by the dead: had the bloodshed been worthwhile? Eighteen months later, as the Daily Telegraphâ s Baghdad Bureau Chief, he came back to find a country racked by suicide bombs and the burgeoning horror of the Sunni-Shia civil war. There he met Ahmed, his closest friend in Baghdad. For the next two years, they worked out of the Baghdad hotel suite where Poole lived until Pooleâ s hotel-home was blown up and Ahmedâ s family, part Shia, part Sunni, tainted by their international connections, became engulfed by the violence. Born and brought up in London, Poole was educated at Oxford University. After working at the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, he joined the Telegraph Group in 1999 and was appointed West Coast of America correspondent in September 2001. He now lives in Hackney, east London.
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