Wednesday, December 21, 2005

''Unembedded: Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq''

"Tell the Truth About the War Video: 'Much of what is shown in Unembedded will probably disturb many Americans who have generally watched a sanitized version of the war and occupation unfold on their TV screens. Unembedded captures the whole range of Iraqi life under US occupation from joyful wedding scenes to the carnage of civilian casualties. Its a stunning book.—Peter Bergen, author of Holy War Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden.'

Truth, it has been said, is the first casualty of war. In the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, official truth died months before the bombing of Baghdad began. Unembedded bears witness to the enduring power of independent journalism. In their unflinching look at war-ravaged Iraq, four freelance photojournalists show that life there is brutal yet poignant; that compassion co-exists with anger, hatred and fear. By gaining the confidence of Iraqi civilians and insurgents, these photojournalists have brought back images of life in wartime, from beauty parlors and joyful wedding scenes to the carnage of civilian casualties, the heartbroken faces of grieving parents, and the glassy-eyed shock of parentless children.

This is not the view from a Marine base. These photographers were on the streets of Baghdad when it fell, amid a crowd of civilians under aerial attack, and in the holy Imam Ali shrine with the Mahdi Army during the siege of Najaf. Their images document issues often underrepresented: the insurgency as seen from inside the separate resistance movements, civilians affected by the battles between U.S. and insurgent forces, growing conservatism and fundamentalism and their effects on women, and the devastating effects of ongoing civilian casualties.

Working outside the U.S. military’s official “embedding” program, the authors bring us face-to-face with the people of Iraq. They combine photographs and essays with excerpts from two years of personal letters, journal entries, and feature stories to take us across front lines and cultural barriers into the lives of a nation in crisis. Theirs is a path to understanding the cost of war.


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