Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Baghdad at Sunrise

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Baghdad at Sunrise

Article excerpt

Baghdad at Sunrise. By Peter R. Mansoor. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008. 376 pp. $28.

Few soldiers who write narratives of war attain a perspective that transcends their own area of operation. Conversely, historians who write of battle seldom convey the nuance and color evident to those whose actions they describe. Mansoor is an exception. The chair of military history at Ohio State University, he served as commander of a brigade combat team in Baghdad, director of the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff strategy group, and finally, as executive officer for Gen. David Petraeus. He weaves together an expertly written narrative that describes in detail his service in Baghdad during a period of transition from tense calm in 2003 to full insurgency in 2004 with an eye toward the larger picture.

He begins his narrative in Adhamiya, the toughest Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad, on April 7, 2004, less than a week after the outbreak of insurgency. A firefight ensues, which Mansoor describes with fluid precision, making Baghdad at Sunrise read as smoothly as a Tom Clancy novel. He then flashes back to his arrival in Baghdad on June 26, 2003, to examine the run-up to the violence.

Amid first impressions, Mansoor analyzes the management of the first year of U. …

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