‘Night Draws Near’: Shadid’s New Must-Read

shadidbook.jpgToday marks the official release date of Pulitzer Prize-winning Postie Anthony Shadid‘s new book, “Night Draws Near: Iraq’s People in the Shadow of America’s War.” The book, excerpts of which have run in the Post over recent days, traces the lives of the Iraqi people across the span of history and more specifically the time since the U.S. invaded in 2003 and Shadid’s subsequent years of reporting there.

“Night Draws Near–by the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Islamic-affairs correspondent–may be the most important writing to come out of the war so far. While most American reports have focused on US soldiers overseas, Shadid brings us to the other side. The occupiers are rarely seen or heard in these pages. Instead we journey with Shadid and his government escort, Nasir Mehdawi, across a bitterly divided country united in hatred of two things: Saddam Hussein and the American occupation,” I wrote in a review for Washingtonian.

“Perhaps Shadid’s greatest contribution is to let us in on his own evolving thoughts. Torn between his Arab-American heritage, his country, and a profession that requires objectivity, he injects a generous amount of ‘I’ into his book–his struggles to provide comfort to some afflicted families, his speechlessness during interviews at bombing sites, his mixed emotions when Nasir’s family is attacked for helping him report.

“Although it would have been nice for Shadid to offer prescriptions, that’s not the book he set out to write. Rather he’s written a complex, sympathetic, and dark portrait of a people we still understand all too poorly. It’s a book that every soldier, war planner, and policy-maker should read.”

Tomorrow night, Shadid will be speaking at Arlington-Court House Olsson’s (2111 Wilson Blvd.; 703-525-4227) as part of Washingtonian’s book series. Shadid will also chat live on Washingtonian Online on Monday, September 12, from 11 AM to noon.

He did a Washingtonpost.com chat yesterday.