No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
Rajiv Chandrasekaran is an assisting managing editor of the Washington Post, where he has worked since 1994. He previously served the Post as a bureau chief in Baghdad, Cairo and Southeast Asia, and as a correspondent covering the war in Afghanistan. He recently completed a term as journalist-in-residence at the International Reporting Project at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, and was a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. He lives in Washington, D.C. He is the author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone, published by Bloomsbury in March 2007, and in paperback in March 2008, which has been awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2007.
Author photo © Michel du Cille
From inside a surreal bubble of pure Americana known as the Green Zone, the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority attempted to rule Iraq following the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime. Drawing on interviews and internal documents, Rajiv Chandrasekaran tells the memorable story of this ill-prepared attempt to build American democracy in a war-torn Middle Eastern country, detailing not only the risky disbanding of the Iraqi army and the ludicrous attempt to train the new police force, but absurdities such as the aide who based Baghdad's new traffic laws on those of the state of Maryland, downloaded from the net, and the twenty-four-year-old who had never worked in finance put in charge of revitalising Baghdad's stock exchange. Imperial Life in the Emerald City is American reportage at its best.
The US Government invested millions in Helmand in the 1950s and '60s to transform the barren desert into a veritable oasis - known locally as 'Little America' - and then the money ran out. Four decades later, Helmand was again the focus of US efforts, as waves of Marines descended on the region. Little America tells the story of the long arc of American involvement, and of the campaign to salvage a victory in southern Afghanistan on Obama's watch. Has the war been worth the money and the bloodshed? Through vivid storytelling and on-the-ground reporting, Samuel Johnson Prize-winner, Rajiv Chandrasekeran sets out to find the answer.
From the award-winning author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City, a riveting, intimate account of America's troubled war in Afghanistan. When President Barack Obama ordered the surge of troops and aid to Afghanistan, Washington Post correspondent Rajiv Chandrasekaran followed. He found the effort sabotaged not only by Afghan and Pakistani malfeasance but by infighting and incompetence within the American government: a war cabinet arrested by vicious bickering among top national security aides; diplomats and aid workers who failed to deliver on their grand promises; generals who dispatched troops to the wrong places; and headstrong military leaders who sought a far more expansive campaign than the White House wanted. Through their bungling and quarreling, they wound up squandering the first year of the surge. Chandrasekaran explains how the United States has never understood Afghanistanand probably never will. During the Cold War, American engineers undertook a massive development project across southern Afghanistan in an attempt to woo the country from Soviet influence. They built dams and irrigation canals, and they established acomfortableresidential community known as Little America, with a Western-style school, a coed community pool, and a plush clubhouseall of which embodied American and Afghan hopes for a bright future and a close relationship. But in the late 1970safter growing Afghan resistance and a Communist coupthe Americans abandoned the region to warlords and poppy farmers. In one revelatory scene after another, Chandrasekaran follows American efforts to reclaim the very same territory from the Taliban. Along the way, we meet an Army general whose experience as the top military officer in charge of Iraq's Green Zone couldn't prepare him for the bureaucratic knots of Afghanistan, a Marine commander whose desire to charge into remote hamlets conflicted with civilian priorities, and a war-seasoned diplomat frustrated in his push for a scaled-down but long-term American commitment. Their struggles show how Obama's hope of a good war, and the Pentagon's desire for a resounding victory, shriveled on the arid plains of southern Afghanistan. Meticulously reported, hugely revealing, Little America is an unprecedented examination of a failing warand an eye-opening look at the complex relationship between America and Afghanistan.From the Hardcover edition.
The Washington Post's former Baghdad bureau chief, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, takes us into the Green Zone, headquarters for the American occupation in Iraq. In this bubble separated from wartime realities, the task of reconstructing a devastated nation competes with the distractions of a Little America-a half-dozen bars, a disco, a shopping mall-much of it run by Halliburton. While qualified Americans willing to serve in Iraq are screened for their views on Roe v. Wade, the country is put into the hands of inexperienced twentysomethings chosen for their Republican Party loyalty. Ignoring what Iraqis say they want or need, the team pursues irrelevant neoconservative solutions and pie-in-the-sky policies instead of rebuilding looted buildings and restoring electricity production. Their almost comic initiatives anger the locals and fuel the insurgency. This is a quietly devastating portrait of imperial folly, and an essential book for anyone who wants to understand those early days when things went irrevocably wrong in Iraq.