Beyond the Green Zone Reviews and Interviews

Democracy Now

Original author essay

Yahoo Picks

Foreword Magazine
“Beyond the Green Zone is a chronicle of decay, frustration, chaos, and dreams destroyed. It will no doubt appear as a primary source in future histories of the Iraq War. For the ordinary reader, these stories of ordinary people will reverberate with the sorrowful toll of broken lives.”



Mother Jones Magazine
(no link)
Review in September/October issue
“Every conflict spawns a handful of journalists who are willing to not only brave the war zone but to seek out the stories ignored by the press pack. The Iraq War has brought us Dahr Jamail.”
“I suspect Jamail’s account will prove an enduring document of what really happened during the chaotic years of occupation, and how it transformed ordinary Iraqis. To paraphrase of the Vietnam War’s finest correspondents, Gloria Emerson, writing about Jonathan Schell’s exceptional accounts of that conflict: If years from now, Americans are willing to read any books about the war, this one should be among them. It tells everything.”

Review by Muhammad Idrees Ahmad

The Indypendent

Book excerpt and cover story

The Mouth of a Graveyard:
A Review of Dahr Jamail’s Beyond the Green Zone
by Ron Jacobs

Monthly Review Zine
Unembedded, an American Journalist Keeps Focus on Iraqis
by Jon Letman

Publishers Weekly (no link)
“Readers unsatisfied with mainstream coverage of the Iraq War will want to grab this, an up-close look at daily life in Iraq since the 2003 invasion. One of the few unaffiliated journalists in Iraq, journalist Jamail went to see the conditions for himself, and the compelling, heartbreaking stories he sent back over his eight month stay were carried in publications world-wide: from family houses destroyed with their inhabitants to mosques full of people held under siege to the ill-equipped medical facilities and security forces meant to deal with them. Emphatically populist and unapologetically dubious of the U.S. government’s party line, Jamail sees “resistance” where “obedient” mainstream reporters see “insurgents,” “the occupation” where others see “the war.” Jamail is a courageous writer who relates fears and bouts of panic alongside jaunts to Fallujah and other hotbeds unapproached by the press at large. Though the writing can be clunky, and the stories hard to distinguish-without any characters to follow (besides Jamail) one is left with the picture of a terrible forest, but few of the trees-this fascinating, eye-opening document of Iraq’s day-to-day has a unique perspective and moments of incredible impact.”
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Kirkus Reviews (no link)
“An urgent, in-the-trenches report on the dire humanitarian crisis in U.S.-occupied Iraq by a freelance Alaskan journalist. Jamail’s time in war-torn Iraq began in November 2003, seven months after the U.S. invasion, when the author-who had previously worked as a mountain guide on Mt. McKinley while also doing social work and freelance writing-arrived from Amman, Jordan, into ravaged Baghdad to see for himself what was going on. Jamail was not an “embedded” journalist-that is, one tied to the Pentagon-sponsored “embed” program-but he aimed to “look for stories of real life and ’embed’ myself with the Iraqi people.” He stayed nine weeks, but returned to Iraq in April of the next year. Through various journalist connections, he secured drivers to take him around the desperate city, from hospitals, where he viewed the grisly carnage from car bombings, American snipers and shootouts with resistance fighters; to Samarra, after an ambush on American soldiers; to entree into civilians’ homes to hear the truth about American military aggression and the lack of basic human services, such as water, medicine, electricity and gasoline. In the course of his travels, he was constantly confronted with angry Iraqis who were stunned by American brutality as well as their lack of compassion and respect for human dignity. Jamail was continually reminded of suicide bombs and the fear of being kidnapped, and he observed daily the deterioration of conditions and ached for the people’s general lack of health and freedom. Shortly after his return, he witnessed the worst resistance fighting around Fallujah as the Americans retaliated against the murder of four Blackwater mercenaries. While the author provides many significant, eye-opening observations, the prose is pedestrian, and he offers scant historical context. Mechanics aside, an important eyewitness testimony.”

Baltimore Examiner

Columbia Spectator (on launch event)

Counterspin (with audio, about halfway thru)

KUOW (with audio at 22 min.)

Daily Collegian

Al Jazeera International, Riz Khan Show (with video)