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Every Man in This Village is a Liar: An…

Every Man in This Village is a Liar: An Education in War

by Megan Stack

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An interesting book. Some very haunting anecdotes--I'm thinking in particular about Ahmed and Birak near the end, but there are other stories too that I won't forget. It does get a little repetitive, though. I feel like Stack had something between a long magazine article and a short book and chose to stretch her material into a short book. I can't fault her for that, really, especially since she was nominated for a National Book Award! But the stretching shows. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
I think the author had some great points but it seemed like she could have ended it much sooner. ( )
  cygnet81 | Jan 17, 2016 |

This book packs a bit of an emotional wallop. This is not a finely crafted story, but a series of experiences in the Middle East post 9/11 as a young journalist is swept along and sent to report on the "War on Terror". It's powerful, emotional and is bound to linger. ( )
  StigE | Feb 22, 2014 |
"You can survive and not survive, both at the same time."

War on Terror! Manifest or farce? Megan Stack, a foreign correspondent for the LA Times, attempts to answer that question. Shortly after 9/11, Stack found herself thrust into the Middle East, spending the next six years, in various hot zones: Afghanistan, occupied Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya, Saudi Arabia and a few others.
Stack’s first hand account of many atrocities is eye-opening and gut-wrenching. She befriends a variety of people in each of these dangerous locales, putting a human face on these tragedies. She is able to witness the myriad of lies and deceptions and experience the ugly hatreds, that fuel and drive these regions. Her prose is both tough and beautiful. She is a daring, unflinching journalist, looking directly into the horrible face of war.

"Only after covering it for years did I understand that the war on terror never really existed. It was not a real thing. Not that the war on terror was flawed, not that it was cynical or self-defeating, or likely to breed more resentment and violence. But that it was hollow, it was essentially nothing but a unifying myth for a complicated scramble of mixed impulses and social theories and night terrors and cruelty and business interests.” ( )
13 vote msf59 | Jul 22, 2012 |
An eager 25-year-old journalist, Megan Stack learned about the bombing of the Trade Towers while on vacation in France. Since she was physically closest to Afghanistan, her editor at the Los Angeles Times sent her to Afghanistan to be on the ground for the invasion. Thus began a seven year stint, reporting from all over the Middle East, wherever the fighting was heaviest: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, the West Bank.

When her memoir begins, the world and its problems seem clear. Ms. Stack is naive and idealistic, absorbing all she experiences and writing the reports expected of her. But as time passes and the war drags on, she begins to see things that change the ways she thinks about the role of the West in the Middle East and specifically the policies of the United States. How can a nation promoting democracy turn a blind eye to some dictators and ruin a country in order to depose another? Who's side is just? Does it even matter given the amount of human suffering the conflicts inflict? Questions such as these begin to weigh on Megan, and her thoughts become grim as she reflects on the costs of the Middle East wars.

This is who gets left behind when war comes: poor people, old people, and handicapped people. This is who they are bombing now. In this moment I am numb and still, but I am aware that I deeply hate everybody for letting this happen. I hate the Lebanese families for leaving them here. I hate Hezbollah for not evacuating them, for ensuring civilian deaths that will bolster their cause. I hate Israel for wasting this place on the heads of the feeble. I hate all of us for participating in this great fiction of the war on terror, for pretending there is a framework, a purpose, for this torment. I sit in hatred and write everything down with filthy fingers.

Although the book is somewhat dated now, with Osama bin Laden dead and popular revolutions having brought down some of the despots about whom she writes, there is still an immediacy and potency to Ms. Stack's memoir that makes it compelling. Her writing is poetic, and her self-insights are honest and direct. The only difficulty for me is that as a journalist, she must remain apart and write of what she sees, instead of stopping to help the victims. She writes of how hard that is. I think I would have just stopped and done what I could. Regardless, the book is a heart-breaking tribute to those caught in a disaster not of their own making and to her own journey to greater self-awareness and understanding. ( )
4 vote labfs39 | Oct 23, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385527160, Hardcover)

A shattering account of war and disillusionment from a young woman reporter on the front lines of the war on terror.

A few weeks after the planes crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11, journalist Megan K. Stack, a  twenty-five-year-old national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, was thrust into Afghanistan and Pakistan, dodging gunmen and prodding warlords for information. From there, she traveled to war-ravaged Iraq and Lebanon and other countries scarred by violence, including Israel, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, witnessing the changes that swept the Muslim world and laboring to tell its stories.

Every Man in This Village Is a Liar is Megan K. Stack’s riveting account of what she saw in the combat zones and beyond. She relates her initial wild excitement and her slow disillusionment as the cost of violence outweighs the elusive promise of freedom and democracy. She reports from under bombardment in Lebanon; records the raw pain of suicide bombings in Israel and Iraq; and, one by one, marks the deaths and disappearances of those she interviews.

Beautiful, savage, and unsettling, Every Man in This Village Is a Liar is a memoir about the wars of the  twenty-first century that readers will long remember.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:12 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Every Man in This Village Is a Liar" is LA Times reporter Megan K. Stack's riveting account of what she saw in the combat zones of the Middle East, in war-torn Afghanistan and Pakistan, and beyond. She relates her initial wild excitement and her slow disillusionment as the cost of violence outweighs the elusive promise of freedom and democracy.… (more)

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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