A Stranger in Your Own City

A Stranger in Your Own City

Travels in the Middle East’s Long War


Brought to you by Penguin.

This is not a book about Iraq's history, nor an inventory of the many Middle Eastern wars that have spun out over the past twenty years, though both wars and history are part of its narrative, from the American invasion to the Arab Spring, ISIS and beyond. This is the story of a people who once lived under the rule of a megalomaniac leader who shaped the state in his own image. Then one day, after yet another war, a foreign army invaded, toppled the leader, destroyed the state, and proceeded to invent a new country. This is the story of a people who watched with horror as their world fragmented into a hundred different cities, as walls rose between them and bodies piled in the streets. It offers a remarkable de-centring of the West in the history and contemporary situation of the region - the motivation, needs and ideologies of Western powers are all dealt with sparingly, dismissively, even. What comes to the fore is the effect on the ground: the human cost, the shifting allegiances, and the generational change. The result is a rare work of great beauty and tragedy, whose power and relevance lies in the return of twenty years of war to those whose land it really is.

©2023 Ghaith Abdul-Ahad (P)2023 Penguin Audio


  • An excellent and haunting account of the impact of western policies premised on sectarianism that engulfed the country after 2003
    Charles Clover, Financial Times

About the author

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad was born in Iraq in 1975. He began writing for the Guardian and the Washington Post after the US-led invasion in 2003 and has reported across Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan for the past twenty years. Putting the experiences of civilians at the heart of his writing, he has won numerous awards including the British Press Awards' Foreign Reporter of the Year, the Orwell Prize for Journalism and two Emmys. He currently lives in Istanbul.
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