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Iraq War Books: The Great Deluge

Sunday, Oct. 1, 2006

With the publication of his new book, State of Denial, the third tome he's written on the Bush administration after Sept. 11, Bob Woodward is everywhere. The Washington Post Company is milking the Woodward book for all its worth, publishing two excerpts so far in the paper (see here and here) and another in Newsweek. (More on the content of Woodward's book later).

But Woodward is far from the only big-time journalist that's helping to write the first-draft of the history of the Iraq war. An astonishing number of books on the conduct of war -- examining decision-making in Baghdad and in Washington -- have been published in recent weeks.

Washington Post Pentagon reporter Thomas Ricks beat most of his colleagues to the punch when he released Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq this summer. (The NY Times review is here.) If the Post extended it's Pentagon reporter the courtesy of publishing an excerpt, I can't find it. But Ricks may be having the last laugh. His book has spent 9 weeks on the New York Times' hardcover nonfiction bestseller list.

Another Washington Post reporter, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who did some of the best foreign reporting from Iraq in the immediate aftermath of the Iraq invasion, also examines the conduct of the war in Baghdad with his book Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone. Both the Washington Post and Foreign Policy magazine published excerpts from the book this month.

As its title suggests, Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War by The Nation's David Corn and Newsweek's Michael Isikoff, focuses on the run-up to the war rather than events after the invasion. Here's a short excerpt pertaining to the Plame affair from The Nation. And in Newsweek, Isikoff outlined the book's scoop regarding the Plame affair.

Finally, a new biography of Colin Powell by the Washington Post's Karen DeYoung also contains fodder for future historians of the Iraq war. Chief among its "revelations" is that, before stepping down in January 2005 (a little late, no?), Powell tried to warn Bush about the difficulties the adminstration would encounter in Iraq. As you might expect, the Post published an excerpt of the DeYoung book -- this time in its Sunday magazine.

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