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The Assassins' Gate

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 on Terror 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.

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

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.


in the shade of a high sandstone arch, a Bradley...

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 . . .” —Christopher Hitchens, Publishers Weekly

“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

Reviews from Goodreads

George Packer

George Packer is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, which received numerous prizes and was named one of the ten best books of 2005 by The New York Times Book Review. He is also the author of the novels The Half Man and Central Square, and the works of nonfiction The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, The Village of Waiting and Blood of the Liberals, which won the 2001 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. His play, Betrayed, ran in Manhattan for five months in 2008 and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play. He lives in Brooklyn.

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Guillermo Riveros

George Packer

Read the author in the New Yorker

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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