In August 2003, at the age of thirty, Rory Stewart took a taxi from Jordan to Baghdad. A Farsi-speaking British diplomat who had recently completed an epic walk from Turkey to Bangladesh, he was soon appointed deputy governor of Amarah and then Nasiriyah, provinces in the remote, impoverished marsh regions of southern Iraq. He spent the next eleven months negotiating hostage releases, holding elections, and splicing together some semblance of an infrastructure for a population of millions teetering on the brink of civil war.
The Prince of the Marshes tells the story of Stewart's year. As a participant he takes us inside the occupation and beyond the Green Zone, introducing us to a colorful cast of Iraqis and revealing the complexity and fragility of a society we struggle to understand. By turns funny and harrowing, moving and incisive, it amounts to a unique portrait of heroism and the tragedy that intervention inevitably courts in the modern age.
PRAISE FOR THE PRINCE OF THE MARSHES
"Rueful, richly detailed, often harrowing . . . [Stewart] brings his yearlong diary to a conclusion with a thrilling shoot ’em-up, an Alamo-like last stand in Nasiriya, where Sadrist forces attack coalition offices with mortars."—THE NEW YORK TIMES
"Rory Stewart can write . . . His spare, vivid prose serves him brilliantly . . . There’s sometimes something Monty Pythonesque about the way he sails gallantly, if not quite blindly, into danger."—MICHAEL UPCHURCH, THE SEATTLE TIMES —