Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on August 8, 2008
People might be sick and tired of Iraq, but this is an excellent recounting of the battle of Fallujah in 2004 and a detailed analysis of the decisions that led to so many problems in that region.

West zooms in on the street-by-street fighting between the Marines and the insurgents, and these scenes have visceral intensity. You are there with the soldiers as bullets ricochet, RPG rounds careen through alleyways and bodies crumple with mortal wounds. Then West zooms back out to recount the meetings between the politicians, generals and religious leaders whose decisions determine the course of the Fallujuh fighting even more than the actions of the soliders on the ground.

In many ways, Fallujah is a microcosm of the war in Iraq. Misunderstood by the press and public alike, this book studies how countless acts of Marine bravery and heroism were offset by political infighting and dithering within the Bush administration and in the upper echelons of military command. It is at once tragic, exciting, frustrating and mind-boggling.

"After the mutilation of the four contractors in Fallujah in April 2004, the White House and high officials reacted emotionally by ordering a full attack on the city." The same could be said about our government's decision to go to war after 9/11 and Osama bin Laden's escape. One major questionable decision put everyone involved in an impossible situation thereafter. Especially with too many cooks in the kitchen.

Whether you are for, against or just plain frustrated by the war in Iraq, this is a compelling read. I was up until 2:00am each night until I finished it. You will not be disappointed. You will also gain further appreciation for the pressure the principal decisions makers faced, for the soldiers who fought in those streets and for Bing West's reportage.
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