Chandrasekaran Wins Samuel Johnson Prize

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From the AP:

    A vivid account of life inside Baghdad’s Green Zone won Britain’s richest nonfiction book prize on Monday.

    “Imperial Life in the Emerald City,” by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, bureau chief in Baghdad for The Washington Post from April 2003 to October 2004, took the $60,000 Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction.

    The book paints a picture of waste, incompetence and thwarted intentions within the Coalition Provisional Authority appointed to run U.S.-occupied Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. It contrasts life in the heavily fortified Green Zone with the chaos unfolding outside.

    Human rights lawyer Helena Kennedy, who headed the award’s judging panel, said the book was “up there with the greatest reportage of the last 50 years” and praised Chandrasekaran’s writing as “cool, exact and never overstated.”