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June 17 , 2011

The Unravelling

High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq


When Emma Sky, an intrepid young British woman, volunteered to help rebuild Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, she had little idea what she was letting herself in for. It was only supposed to last three months but instead spanned a decade.

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As the representative of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Kirkuk and then the political advisor to US General Odierno, Sky was valued for her outspoken voice and different perspectives that she brought due to her knowledge of the Middle East. Since the invasion in 2003, Sky has been a tireless witness to American efforts to transform a country traumatized by decades of war, sanctions and brutal dictatorship; to insurgencies and civil war; to the planning and implementation of the surge and the subsequent drawdown of US troops; to corrupt political elites who use sectarianism to mobilize support; and to the takeover of a third of the country by the Islamic State.

Called the 'modern-day Gertrude Bell' by The Times, Sky provides unique insights into the US military, and the complexities, diversity and evolution of Iraqi society. With sharp detail, tremendous empathy and respect for those who served - The Unravelling is an intimate portrait of how and why the Iraq adventure failed despite the best and often heroic efforts of its young men and women on the ground.

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