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Is This Your First War?: Travels Through the Post-9/11 Islamic World [Paperback]

Michael Petrou
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Sept. 29 2012

Winner of the Ottawa Book Award for English Non-Fiction, 2013

Less than a year before 9/11, Michael Petrou trekked through al Qaeda's backyard in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan. He was back in Central Asia within weeks of the attacks -- this time as a reporter, slipping into Afghanistan as rockets and tracer bullets lit up the night sky, carrying notebooks, stolen blankets, and a satellite phone.

In the decade that followed, Petrou has returned repeatedly to the greater Middle East, where political Islam, liberalism, ethnic and religious nationalism, and Western military intervention shape and batter the lives of those who live there. In the process, Petrou has established himself as one of Canada's premier foreign correspondents.

Petrou details a world in the midst of great turmoil and tells the stories of people who have long been held down by dictatorship and extremism and who are finally beginning to shake themselves free.


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Petrou’s clandestine travels in Iran and his visits with that country’s diverse and far-flung underground of brave democrats, intellectuals and dissidents provide an exceedingly rare insight into the workings of the Khomeinist police state... But it’s Petrou’s dispatches from the front lines of the “first war” of the book’s title, the freedom struggle that Canadians usually call the “war in Afghanistan,” that lend the book its heft.

(Ottawa Citizen)

"Petrou is a wonderful storyteller and the book is replete with intriguing vignettes of the multitude of people he worked with, and against." (Literary Review of Canada)

…a searing medley of gritty narratives… (Oxford Today, Alumni magazine (UK))

One of Canada’s leading foreign correspondents presents a searing medley of gritty narratives drawn from a decade of reporting across the greater Middle East... The human narratives, in their unpredictable and subjective particularity, are collectively compelling. (Oxford University Alumni 2013-05-00)

About the Author

Michael Petrou, an award-winning senior writer at Maclean's, has covered wars and conflicts across Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. He is the author of Renegades: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War, and he holds a doctorate in modern history from the University of Oxford. Petrou lives in Ottawa.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening Book Dec 22 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Micheal Petrou is one of the best Canadian foreign correspondents and this book does not disappoint. His travels through the Muslim world are a rare and enlightening look into the hopes, dreams, and desires of those who live there.
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