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The Assassins' Gate

The Assassins' Gate

America in Iraq

George Packer

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Named One of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post Book World, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, Los Angeles Times Book Review, USA Today, Time, and New York magazine.

Winner of the Overseas Press Club’s Cornelius Ryan Award for Best Nonfiction Book on International Affairs

Winner of the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism

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 guerrilla 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 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 best-selling 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.

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

Excerpted from The Assassin's 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...

Praise for The Assassins' Gate

“The most complete, sweeping, and powerful account of the Iraq War.”—Keith Gessen, New York Magazine

“A deftly constructed and eloquently told account of the war's origins and aftermath...Packer makes it deeply human and maddeningly vivid.”—Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Authoritative and tough-minded.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“A book that is not only relevant but discerning and provocative. [Packer] offers the vivid detail and balanced analysis that have made him one of the leading chroniclers of the Iraq war.”—Yonatan Lupu, San Francisco Chronicle

“The great strength of George Packer's book is that it gives a fair hearing to both views. Free of cant—but not, crucially, of anger—Mr. Packer has written an account of the Iraq war that will stand alongside such narrative histories as A Bright Shining Lie, Fire in the Lake and Hell in a Very Small Place. As a meditation on the limits of American power, it's sobering.”—Tom Bissell, The New York Observer

“The best book I read in 2005.”—Stephen Elliott, LA Weekly

“A brilliantly reported analysis of the war in Iraq.”—GQ

“Masterful...Packer's sketch of the prewar debates is subtle, sharp and poignant...His reporting from Iraq was always good, but the book is even better, putting the reader at the side of Walter Benjamin's angel of history, watching helplessly as the wreckage unfolds at his feet.”—Gideon Rose, Washington Post Book World (cover review)

“Packer provides page afte… More…

“The most complete, sweeping, and powerful account of the Iraq War.”—Keith Gessen, New York Magazine

“A deftly constructed and eloquently told account of the war's origins and aftermath...Packer makes it deeply human and maddeningly vivid.”—Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Authoritative and tough-minded.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“A book that is not only relevant but discerning and provocative. [Packer] offers the vivid detail and balanced analysis that have made him one of the leading chroniclers of the Iraq war.”—Yonatan Lupu, San Francisco Chronicle

“The great strength of George Packer's book is that it gives a fair hearing to both views. Free of cant—but not, crucially, of anger—Mr. Packer has written an account of the Iraq war that will stand alongside such narrative histories as A Bright Shining Lie, Fire in the Lake and Hell in a Very Small Place. As a meditation on the limits of American power, it's sobering.”—Tom Bissell, The New York Observer

“The best book I read in 2005.”—Stephen Elliott, LA Weekly

“A brilliantly reported analysis of the war in Iraq.”—GQ

“Masterful...Packer's sketch of the prewar debates is subtle, sharp and poignant...His reporting from Iraq was always good, but the book is even better, putting the reader at the side of Walter Benjamin's angel of history, watching helplessly as the wreckage unfolds at his feet.”—Gideon Rose, Washington Post Book World (cover review)

“Packer provides page after page of vivid description of the haphazard, poorly planned and almost criminally executed occupation of Iraq. In reading him we see the staggering gap between abstract ideas and concrete reality.”—Fareed Zakaria, The New York Times Book Review (cover review)

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Reviews from Goodreads

George Packer

GEORGE PACKER is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He is also the author of two novels, The Half Man and Central Square, and two other works of nonfiction, Blood of the Liberals, which won the 2001 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and The Village of Waiting. His play, Betrayed, ran for five months in 2008 and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play. His most recent book is Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century. He lives in Brooklyn.

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Guillermo Riveros

George Packer

Read the author in the New Yorker

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