Ahmad’s War Ahmad’s Peace
Goldfarb does a fine job of recounting the heady days of Mosul’s liberation, and the collapse of the American-backed efforts to create a liberal society before the onslaught of the insurgents.
In a house that can never be his home, in a city that is not his place of birth, at the hour before day break, Ahmad Shawkat is waiting for the destruction of Saddam Hussein. Even though American troops are at the borders of his country, Iraq, Ahmad fears that it will never happen. Little does he know that before this day is over, the war to overthrow Saddam will begin and he will meet the man who will change his life forever.
Set against the backdrop of the Iraq war, Ahmad’s War, Ahmad’s Peace: Surviving Under Saddam, Dying in the New Iraq, is the tale of a deeply flawed hero and his lifelong struggle to live in freedom. Written with passion and genuine beauty, this is a story of a friendship that bridges cultures and of love across the generations. It is also one of the most accurate records of the war that changed the face of the Middle East.
Reviews & Reaction:
“Goldfarb does a fine job of recounting the heady days of Mosul’s liberation, and the collapse of the American-backed efforts to create a liberal society before the onslaught of the insurgents. That failure has been documented elsewhere, but it is particularly stinging to witness through the eyes of someone like Shawkat, who tried so hard to construct a more humane Iraq.
Shawkat was one of the good guys, and now he’s dead, shot in the back on a rubbish-filled rooftop. It is one of the more pressing questions of our day whether the democratic experiment in Iraq can survive without more people like him.”
Dexter Filkins, New York Times
“Michael Goldfarb’s Ahmad’s War, Ahmad’s Peace: Surviving Under Saddam, Dying in the New Iraq should be read by anyone who wants to understand the bitter disappointment felt by liberal Iraqis as the hope for a better future after Saddam vanished, thanks both to American incompetence and the indigenous forces unleashed by the invasion. Goldfarb contrasts the casualness with which the Americans approached the occupation with the deadly consequences for his friend.”
New York Review of Books
“…every year in this country some 60,000 tomes are published, and Books can’t get to most of them. Nonetheless, we’ve culled some from the herd that might be worth a look. These are not reviews – they are book alerts. The headlines from the front are agonizing but all-too-often distant and impersonal. Michael Goldfarb, a National Public Radio correspondent, gets personal in “Ahmad’s War, Ahmad’s Peace: Surviving Under Saddam, Dying in the New Iraq” His subject? Ahmad Shawkat, an Iraqi Kurd who was his translator during “major combat operations” in our second invasion (and counting?) of Iraq.”
Martin Zimmerman, San Diego Tribune