Book: Rajiv Chandrasekaran – Imperial life in the Emerald City

The cover of this book features action man Matt Damon and the words Green Zone far more prominently than the title. ‘‘Now a major motion picture’’ is also trumpeted.

A movie based on the book? A book punting a movie?

Actually it’s a reissue of the 2007 book of the US occupation of Iraq riding on the back of a movie that borrows from it little more than background and inspiration.

Imperial Life in the Emerald City is analytical reportage at its best.

Washington Post correspondent Chandrasekaranrips the guts out of the costly farce that was the US attempt to rebuild a shattered Iraq in the mould of a liberal American democracy after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Billions of dollars were thrown at inappropriate projects (largely through US contractors) often to satisfy the fanciful political dreams of Washington’s neo-conservative hawks.

In an absorbing yet easy read Chandrasekaran reveals the dreadful folly and tragic waste of lives and money.

Imperial life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Bloomsbury, R130

Rating: 3/5