By September 2003, six months after the US-led invasion of Iraq, the anarchy had begun. Rory Stewart, a young Biritish diplomat, was appointed as the Coalition Provisional Authority's deputy governor of a province of 850,000 people in the southern marshland region. There, he and his colleagues confronted gangsters, Iranian-linked politicians, tribal vendettas and a full Islamist insurgency. Rory Stewart's inside account of the attempt to re-build a nation, the errors made, the misunderstandings and insumountable difficulties encountered, reveals an Iraq hidden from most foreign journalists and soldiers. Stewart is an award-winning writer, gifted with extraordinary insight into the comedy, occasional heroism and moral risks of foreign occupation. 'Beautifully written, highly evocative . . . a joy to read' John Simpson 'A marvellous book . . . a devastating narrative' Simon Jenkins 'Absolutely absorbing' Ken Loach 'Strikes gut and brain at once' James Meek 'Wonderfully observed, wise, evocative' Observer

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