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Friendly Fire: The Remarkable Story of a Journalist Kidnapped in Iraq, Rescued by an Italian Secret Service Agent, and Shot by U.S. Forces [Hardcover]

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Item description for Friendly Fire: The Remarkable Story of a Journalist Kidnapped in Iraq, Rescued by an Italian Secret Service Agent, and Shot by U.S. Forces by Amy Goodman Giuliana Sgrena...

"Giuliana Sgrena's work is forever curious, powerful, and brave. I salute her."-John Pilger

Giuliana Sgrena brings us inside the US occupation of Iraq as no other journalist has done.

The leading Italian journalist, whose personal story was featured on 60 Minutes and in other major media worldwide, describes the real story of her capture, dramatic release, and shooting in 2004.

While reporting for the Italian daily newspaper Il Manifesto in Iraq, Sgrena was taken hostage by a group of Iraqis on February 4, 2005, and held until March 4, 2005. On the day of her release, as she was being escorted to Baghdad International Airport by Italian security, US forces fired on her vehicle. The attack killed Major General Nicola Calipari, the number-two man in Italian military intelligence, as he shielded Sgrena.

In the book, Sgrena describes her experience as a hostage and provides unique insights into the situation in Iraq under occupation, exposing US war crimes there.

In her foreword to this edition, radio and television host and best-selling author Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! situates the attack on Sgrena in the context of the increased targeting of journalists in conflict zones around the world.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   280
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.48" Width: 5.43" Height: 1.02"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2006
Publisher   Haymarket Books
ISBN  1931859396  
ISBN13  9781931859394  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Memoirs
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Professionals & Academics > Journalists
4Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Specific Groups > Women
5Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > 20th Century > General
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Friendly Fire: The Remarkable Story of a Journalist Kidnapped in Iraq, Rescued by an Italian Secret Service Agent, and Shot by U.S. Forces?

Ironic Ordeal  Aug 19, 2007

Irony is hardly the word to describe the situation of this hostage. Not only is she a stalwart champion of the suffering Iraqis including the ones who kidnapped her, but also she has little politically in common with the Italian Prime Minister who negotiates her release.

The book was most interesting when Sgrena spoke to her own experience. More that 1/2 or more text was devoted to the issues such as utilities and insecutiry in Baghdad, the factions, the role women, religion, etc. 50% (or maybe more) of the text could have been written by others.

It seems to me, readers interested in Sgrena and her story would be well versed in the Iraqi situation and would buy her book to hear what she has to say that speaks to her experience.

I would have liked this book to be more about her captivity, her understanding of others who have been held hostage in this way, her observations of her captors, and a more precise reconstruction of the negotiations to free her.

Civics Lesson Folks  May 30, 2007
I have not read this book but I am going to buy it today. This is a comment on the editorial review and this line in particular.

"either she or translator Riva fail to distinguish between government and citizens in reference to "the Americans"

Uh, last I checked (just watched School House Rock to make sure) the American People ARE the government. There are no two separate entities as "the government" and "the people" as we are a government "by the people, for the people, of the people".

If they don't treat the Americans as two separate entities, then maybe they know something about our system of governing ourselves that we'd do well to remember.

Yes, that makes me and you and anyone of voting age responsible for the war and for letting "our government" get away with what's happening.

I have abstained from rating the book, merely because I have not read it yet, but I felt I must make this comment and I will buy this book immediately and update my rating accordingly.
Especially recommended for military and public library collections.  Feb 9, 2007
The journalist author of FRIENDLY FIRE reported under war conditions, was kidnapped, rescued by an Italian secret agent, then shot by U.S. forces. If her name sounds familiar, it's because her story was detailed on 60 Minutes and other world media, but no show could prove the punch and impact of her memoir FRIENDLY FIRE, which chronicles her experience as a hostage. Any who would understand occupied Iraq in general and both military politics and hostage situations will find this packed with insights and answers lending to both study and browser interest. Especially recommended for military and public library collections.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
Insightful, exciting  Jan 8, 2007
"Hostages are weapons of war, a powerful means of blackmail in an asymmetric conflict like that in Iraq. In two years of occupation, all foreigners have become the enemy; there's no longer any distinction between governments and those who oppose them..."(page 68)

In November 2004 the United States launched an especially violent assault on the resistance stronghold of Falluja, laying siege to the city and creating a civilian refugee crisis. On the trail of this crisis, interviewing civilians, antiwar Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena found herself sucked into the war in a most unexpected way: One of the resistance groups kidnapped her.

Sgrena's powerful book not only documents her personal drama as a hostage but reflects on the wider situation in Iraq that led to hers'--and many others'--kidnappings. She clearly explains why the "unbearable" living conditions feed into a general discontent that is (literally) violently stirred up by the presence of Coalition troops and their sledgehammer anti-insurgency tactics...tactics which almost led to her own death and did lead to the death of her liberator, Nicola Calipari.

"What happened to me after my liberation, the car hit by "friendly fire", took me back to the real origins of the current situation in Iraq: the war. The violent fall of Saddam did not bring liberty, but the decline into barbarism of Mesopotamia, cradle of civilization of the Sumerians, the Assyrians and the Babylonians. This is the reality." (page 187)

(Kudos to the translator and editor for producing a highly readable English account of the author's remarkable story and exceptional political insight.)
With Friends LIke These...  Sep 24, 2006
Like many other hostage tales, there are moments of true human interaction between the hostage and her captors in this book. Interestingly enough, but not surprisingly, some of these moments occur during various soccer matches that are watched by the kidnappers. Although Sgrena is anything but a sports fan, her Italian nationality gives her credence if only because of one of the kidnappers obsession with Italian soccer. She describes her discussions of religion and non-belief with the mujaheedin holding her and their difficulty in understanding her relationship to her unmarried longtime partner. Unlike other hostage tales, especially the recent story by US journalist taken hostage Jill Carroll, Sgrena refuses to accept the rationale of the occupiers and insists thgoughout the text that it is the occupation that is the primary culprit in Iraq, not the resistance. The descriptions of the aforementioned conversations reminds the reader of the contradictory nature of the human condition--warriors able to hold a woman prisoner yet curious enought of this person from another culture to converse with her and debate, even though their commanders and clerics might not approve.

As regards Sgrena's thoughts on Iraq, it is her contention that the fighters against the occupiers are primarily composed of two elements: the nationalist insurgency and the jihadists. Sgrena states that the jihadists want the US in Iraq because it gives them a front in their war on the infidels, while the insurgency wants the US and other occupation troops out so they can get on with their lives. As I write this review, the news broadcasts are reporting on a demonstration of hundreds of thousands against the US occupation of Iraq and the Israeli war on Lebanon in Baghdad. The primary component of this demonstration were Shia Iraqis that support Muqtada al-Sadr. According to the news report, US officials claim to be concerned that this massive show of strength by these Shia Iraqis could provoke attacks on them by members of the Sunni community in Iraq. While there may be some truth to this possibility, the fact that the US command is expressing concern is so transparent as to be laughable. After all, the US military and intelligence have certainly killed more of Sadr's supporters than their fellow Iraqis have. It is more likely that the US is concerned that the solidarity being expressed across religious lines and across the Arab world for the resistance of Hezbollah to Israel's onslaught will become the dominant current in Iraq. If that occurred, the resistance to the occupation would be nearly universal among Iraqis. That would spell the end of not only the occupation, but of the jihadists as well.
Of course, the Pentagon and White House (with approval from Congress) remains convinced that the situation can be remedied in favor of Washington via military means. Indeed, the commander of US Central Command, General Abizaid, went on record in early August stating that he could "imagine" the US military "winning" Baghdad. As Sgrena's book clarifies (once again), this imaginary scenario is nothing more than a pipe dream for the US generals and a nightmare for the Iraqis. As the occupation and its consequent mayhem continue no one is certain what the next phase will look like. The civil strife between various religious trends is but one facet of the aforementioned mayhem. Underlying it all is the continuing dismal state of most Iraqis' economic lives and the lack of any apparent future of peace.
Sgrena's understanding of this desperate situation and Washington's fundamental role in creating and maintaining it are the subject of much of her commentary in the book. It is interspersed with a narrative describing the physical realities of her captivity and her means of dealing with the boredom, fear, and hopelessness that are part of any imprisonment. Her journalistic abilities are quite apparent in these descriptions--one feels that they know the characteristics of the room she spent her captivity almost as well if they had seen a walk-through video of it. Her discussion of the emotions she experienced are interwoven into her story in such a way that they become like the darkness of her mask that the kidnappers insist she wear at times of their choosing. Or the daylight that we assume will always be. They exist but they do not overwhelm. In fact, that is how Sgrena tells her story. Perhaps it is her journalistic detachment or perhaps it is the only manner in which she could write it down. No matter what the reason may be, it works. Friendly Fire is more than the tale of one hostage's ordeal and it is more than just another tract on the US-created debacle that is Iraq. It is not a cry for revenge, but a tempered statement on a nation's shattered psyche and an individual attempt to share a perspective influenced by her unforeseen role in that nation's history.

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