The “wrenching” (Rachel Maddow, The Rachel Maddow Show) first book by acclaimed journalist Michael Hastings (1980-2013), whose unflinching Rolling Stone article “Runaway General” ended the military career of General Stanley A. McChrystal.
At age twenty-five, Michael Hastings arrived in Baghdad to cover the war in Iraq for Newsweek. He had at his disposal a little Hemingway romanticism and all the apparatus of a twenty-first-century reporter—cell phones, high-speed Internet access, digital video cameras, fixers, drivers, guards, translators. In startling detail, he describes the chaos, the violence, the never-ending threats of bomb and mortar attacks, the front lines that can be a half-mile from the Green Zone, that can be anywhere. This is a new kind of war: private security companies follow their own rules or lack thereof; soldiers in combat get instant messages from their girlfriends and families; members of the Louisiana National Guard watch Katrina’s decimation of their city on a TV in the barracks.
Back in New York, Hastings had fallen in love with Andi Parhamovich, a young idealist who worked for Air America. A year into their courtship, Andi followed Michael to Iraq, taking a job with the National Democratic Institute. Their war-zone romance is another window into life in Baghdad. They call each other pet names; they make plans for the future; they fight, usually because each is fearful for the other’s safety; and they try to figure out how to get together, when it means putting bodyguards and drivers in jeopardy. Then Andi goes on a dangerous mission for her new employer—a meeting at the Iraqi Islamic Party headquarters that ends in catastrophe.
I Lost My Love in Baghdad is a searing, unflinching, and revelatory book by “a great reporter,” who will be remembered for being “ambitious, skeptical of power and conventional wisdom, and incredibly brave” (Ben Smith, Buzzfeed) and who “leaves behind a remarkable legacy” (Rolling Stone).