"Shadid, a Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent for the Washington Post, brings to Baghdad a fluency in Arabic and an Arab American's perceptive understanding. Shadid's skill and sympathy thoroughly convey all levels of Iraqi opinions about Saddam Hussein, fellow Iraqis, and the American occupation. Yet the book provides much more than a collection of inspiring and sometimes tragic vignettes. Shadid's explication of political Islam is compelling. He interprets the 'personality cult' of Shi'ite cleric Muqtada Sadr and the 'Mahdi Army,' along with Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the 'one man who stood in his way.' Shadid concludes amid the sheer confusion and violence during the elections of January 2005 in Baghdad, 'a city where promise seems unending and loss keeps unfolding.' Highly recommended."—Library Journal
"The book, which moves among scenes and characters like a picaresque novel, is not only a pleasure to read but a welcome source of information. Shadid offers just enough history and context to orient the reader, and he includes the kinds of details—adages, prayers, lyrics from pop songs—that make a place come alive. In the end, Baghdad is the character he mourns most."—Publishers Weekly
Anthony Shadid has reported from throughout the Middle East for a decade, first as Cairo correspondent for The Associated Press and then for The Boston Globe, where he drew attention for reports from the West Bank and other fronts. His first book, Legacy of the Prophet, drew praise from the late Edward Said. At The Washington Post his stories have often appeared on page one. For his work in Baghdad he has received the Overseas Press Club Award (his second), the Michael Kelly Award, and the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. He currently lives in Baghdad and Washington, D.C.