I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story

I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story

by Michael Hastings


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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).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416560982
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 02/16/2010
Pages: 284
Sales rank: 604,849
Product dimensions: 5.64(w) x 8.56(h) x 0.76(d)

About the Author

Michael Hastings (1980-2013) was a contributing editor to Rolling Stone and a reporter for Buzzfeed. In 2008, he covered the US presidential election for Newsweek. His work appeared in GQ, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Slate, Salon, Foreign Policy, The Daily Beast, and a number of other publications. In 2011, he was awarded the George Polk Award for magazine reporting for his story in Rolling Stone, “The Runaway General.” He is the author of I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story (Scribner, 2008) and The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan (Blue Rider, 2012).

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Powerful.... A tragic love story with broad appeal married to an unflinching account of wartime violence and brutality." —-Publishers Weekly Starred Review

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I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
andrew cooper More than 1 year ago
this is an amazing story. i cant imagine the pain, anger, confusion and everything else the author went through it is a story that needs to out there more. i have been wanting to this book for over a year but no bookstores keep it on the shelvs. but i got a nook color and this was my first purchase. i believe that this should be carried on the shelves of all bookstores.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's raw, it's gripping, it's descriptions and accounts of stories and incidents that we can't fathom of happening as regular citizens in the U.S. It's an eye-opener and yes, it's a gut-check. I couldn't put it down...and not just because Andi was a friend of mine. Kudos to MH for completely grasping Andi's character and personality, and for allowing the reader to feel like they're right there with him. The genuine and pure intentions behind this book are obvious. Andi would be so proud.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hastings' new book is brilliant and horribly tragic. He reminds me of Kapuscinski in his insight and writing ability.
iftyzaidi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Even before he had made waves with "The Runaway General", his article for Rolling Stone about General Stanley McChrystal which led to the supreme U.S. commander in Afghanistan being removed from his post, journalist Michael Hastings had already courted controversy with this memoir. It chronicles his tragic relationship with Andi Parhamovich, a young woman who he met just a few months before he took up an assignment for Newsweek reporting from Iraq. They continued a long distance relationship, with short interludes together whenever Hastings returned to the States for leave. Eventually Andi decided to apply for a job with an U.S. NGO operating in Baghdad in order to both further her own idealistic ambitions to help the people of Iraq, and be closer to her boyfriend. A decision that would eventually have fatal consequences.Hastings describes both his deepening relationship with Andi, which eventually leads to talk of marriage and shopping expeditions to pick out the right engagement ring, alongside his life as a reporter in a war zone, which particularly after the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samaraa in early 2006 descends into all out civil war. He describes both aspects of his life in vivid detail. The tale is a gripping one even though the end is a forgone conclusion. When the moment arrives, Hastings recounts in shocking detail what happens when Andi goes on a trip in to a hostile area as part of her job and is ambushed by an insurgent group.Some reviewers have criticised the book as a cynical attempt to cash in on Andi's death. But Hastings writes with a honesty so brutal that one suspects that under the lucid, unadorned prose he is grappling with a deep sense of guilt. Some of the episodes with Andi he describes are ones in which he was impatient, unfair or hurtful and he never tries to offer rationalisations or apologies for these but presents them unadorned and unvarnished for the reader. A reviewer once described his tell-all account of McChrystal and his coterie in Afghanistan as a a burning of the bridge which gave him inside access to the 'story' in the military "with everyone, including him, on it." Here he seems to have turned the harsh spotlight on himself with the same fearlessness.Insightful, engaging and deeply moving.
cestovatela on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Two months before being dispatched to Iraq, reporter Michael Hastings falls in love with Andi Pahramovich, a feisty blonde with a burning passion to make the world a better place. The couple spends a year apart, and then Andi -- perhaps for her own reasons or perhaps just to be with Michael -- takes a job in Baghdad, where she is killed by terrorists. I Lost My Love in Baghdad is Hastings' "last love letter to Andi." The book tells two parallel stories: Hastings' experiences as a reporter in Baghdad and the couple's unsteady long-distance relationship. As many reviewers have pointed out, Hastings writes about war better than he writes about love. He lived in Iraq during Baghdad's most violent period, and his writing exposes intriguing (and distrubing) hidden details of the American occupation. This day-in-the-life of Iraq perspective is not available through standard newspaper articles, and that alone makes the book worth reading. Although Hastings writes about Iraq vividly and strongly, he often falls into cliches when describing his relationship with Andi. Some reviewers have suggested this is because he wants to write a book about Iraq more than he wants to write a book about his relationship, but I never got that impression. Years of dispassionate hard news reporting are probably not ideal preparation for writing a heartfelt autobiographical story, so it's not surprising that his writing occasionally lags. This was a minor glitch though, and one that I barely noticed. Real emotion shines through the cliches, and I left the book feeling that I had read a real, human and raw story.
Zoeyanne More than 1 year ago
A well written book that will have you page turning and a first hand, very personal account of an author who was there embedded with the military at times. While it was also emotional, I believe he described his experience in an unbiased way. I learned more about the culture in Iraq; and it confirmed some impressions I already had. Avid history buff
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I get the impression that Hastings wanted to publish something closer to a war journal, detailing his work in Iraq. Him losing his love seems to be an afterthought throughout the book--five chapters on the conditions in Iraq followed by a kissy kissy conversation that lasts a few pages. This appears to be two books jammed into one, and a tedious, poorly organized book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It shows the amazing contributions made by our military, journalists and other Americans working to help Iraq.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read. After my husband returned from a deployment to Iraq, so many questions went unanswered because he wouldn't talk about it. I saw this book and was immediately drawn to it because he wrote in detail about what was going on over there during the time my husband served. And of course I love a love story so why not? Turns out I could not put it down, it is honest, sad, and gives a very detailed look into the war in Iraq. Yes it is more about the war than the love story but for me it was a perfect mix. I am positive I will be reading it again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gut wrenching love story, wonder if it has anything to do wuth the recent death of Michael Hastings.