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The Assassins' Gate

America in Iraq

George Packer

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

THE ASSASSINS' GATE: AMERICA IN IRAQ recounts how the United States set about changing the history of the Middle East and became ensnared in a guerilla war in Iraq. It brings to life the people and ideas that created the Bush administration's war policy and led America to the Assassins' Gate--the main point of entry into the American zone in Baghdad. The consequences of that policy are shown in the author's brilliant reporting on the ground in Iraq, where he made four tours on assignment for The New Yorker. We see up close the struggles of American soldiers and civilians and Iraqis from all backgrounds, thrown together by a war that followed none of the preconceived scripts.

The Assassins' Gate also describes the place of the war in American life: the ideological battles in Washington that led to chaos in Iraq, the ordeal of a fallen soldier's family, and the political culture of a country too bitterly polarized to realize such a vast and morally complex undertaking. George Packer's first-person narrative combines the scope of an epic history with the depth and intimacy of a novel, creating a masterful account of America's most controversial foreign venture since Vietnam.


THE ASSASSINS' GATE: AMERICA IN IRAQ recounts how the United States set about changing the history of the Middle East and became ensnared in a guerilla war in Iraq. It brings to life the people and ideas that created the Bush administration's war policy and led America to the Assassins' Gate--the main point of entry into the American zone in Baghdad. The consequences of that policy are shown in the author's brilliant reporting on the ground in Iraq, where he made four tours on assignment for The New Yorker. We see up close the struggles of American soldiers and civilians and Iraqis from all backgrounds, thrown together by a war that followed none of the preconceived scripts.

The Assassins' Gate also describes the place of the war in American life: the ideological battles in Washington that led to chaos in Iraq, the ordeal of a fallen soldier's family, and the political culture of a country too bitterly polarized to realize such a vast and morally complex undertaking. George Packer's first-person narrative combines the scope of an epic history with the depth and intimacy of a novel, creating a masterful account of America's most controversial foreign venture since Vietnam.


BOOK EXCERPTS

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Excerpted from The Assassins' Gate by George Packer. Copyright © 2005 by George Packer. Published in October 2005 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

Prologue

in the shade of a high sandstone arch, a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and a platoon of American soldiers from the First Armored Division guarded the main point of entry into the vast and heavily fortified Green Zone along the west bank of the Tigris River, where the Coalition Provisional Authority governed occupied Iraq. When I arrived in Baghdad in the summer of 2003 and first saw the arch, I mistook it
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REVIEWS

Praise for The Assassins' Gate

"In the midst of a war that has raised thousands of questions, George Packer has given us a brilliant, moving, and essential book with answers. Packer, who was an up close witness to the pre-war debates and the wartime carnage, cuts past the simplistic recriminations and takes us on an unforgettable journey that begins on a trail of good intentions and winds up on a devastating trail of tears. If you want to understand how Iraq became a quagmire, and who the human beings are who suffer its consequences, you must read this book." --Samantha Power, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide
 
"The Iraq debate has long needed someone who is both tough-minded enough, and sufficiently sensitive, to register all its complexities. In George Packer’s work, this need is answered . . . Packer shows himself once more to be the best chronicler…that the conflict has produced . . . He makes an impressively intelligent guide . . . Packer has a genuine instinct for what the Iraqi people have endured and are enduring, and writes with admirable empathy. His own opinions are neither suppressed nor intrusive: he clearly welcomes the end of Saddam while having serious doubts about the wisdom of the war, and he continually tests himself against experience." --Christopher Hitchens, Publishers Weekly
 
 
Praise for Blood of the Liberals:

"I was fascinated and touched by [Blood of the Liberals], which can be described as 'memoir plus,' part personal recollection, part essay about subjects seldom treated as reverberating with such intimate meanings." --Scott Turow, The Washington Post Book World

"A remarkable story . . . This book belongs on the shelf next to Angela's Ashes, The Liars' Club, and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius." --Jack Hitt, The New York Times Book Review
"In the midst of a war that has raised thousands of questions, George Packer has given us a brilliant, moving, and essential book with answers. Packer, who was an up close witness to the pre-war debates and the wartime carnage, cuts past the simplistic recriminations and takes us on an unforgettable journey that begins on a trail of good intentions and winds up on a devastating trail of tears. If you want to understand how Iraq became a quagmire, and who the human beings are who suffer its consequences, you must read this book." --Samantha Power, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide
 
"The Iraq debate has long needed someone who is both tough-minded enough, and sufficiently sensitive, to register all its complexities. In George Packer’s work, this need is answered . . . Packer shows himself once more to be the best chronicler…that the conflict has produced . . . He makes an impressively intelligent guide . . . Packer has a genuine instinct for what the Iraqi people have endured and are enduring, and writes with admirable empathy. His own opinions are neither suppressed nor intrusive: he clearly welcomes the end of Saddam while having serious doubts about the wisdom of the war, and he continually tests himself against experience." --Christopher Hitchens, Publishers Weekly
 
 
Praise for Blood of the Liberals:

"I was fascinated and touched by [Blood of the Liberals], which can be described as 'memoir plus,' part personal recollection, part essay about subjects seldom treated as reverberating with such intimate meanings." --Scott Turow, The Washington Post Book World

"A remarkable story . . . This book belongs on the shelf next to Angela's Ashes, The Liars' Club, and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius." --Jack Hitt, The New York Times Book Review

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • George Packer

  • George Packer is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of several books, most recently Blood of the Liberals (FSG, 2000), winner of the 2001 Robert F. Kennedy Award. He is also the editor of the anthology The Fight Is for Democracy. He lives in Brooklyn.
  • George Packer Guillermo Riveros
    George Packer
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    Available Formats and Book Details

    The Assassins' Gate

    America in Iraq

    George Packer

    ALA Notable Books - Winner, Helen Bernstein Book Award, Pulitzer Prize - Finalist
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    FROM THE PUBLISHER

    Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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