The Freedom

Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq

An instant classic on America’s catastrophic—and indefinite—occupation of Iraq

“Ah, the freedom. Look, we have the gas-line freedom, the looting freedom, the killing freedom, the rape freedom, the hash-smoking freedom. I don’t know what to do with all this freedom.” —Akeel, a twenty-six-year-old Baghdad resident, on life in the new Iraq

Consistently compared with the work of Hunter S. Thompson and Michael Herr, The Freedom provides a fearless and unsanitized tour of the disastrous occupation of Iraq, in all its surreal and terrifying detail. Drawing on the best tradition of war reporting, here is a rare book that “embeds” with both sides—the U.S. military and the Iraqi resistance.

Acclaimed journalist Christian Parenti takes us on a high-speed ride along treacherous roads to the centers of the ongoing conflict in Fallujah, Ramadi, and Sadr City through the first year of the occupation. He introduces us to relatives waiting anxiously outside the holding fortress of Abu Ghraib and takes a night drive around Baghdad with the insurgents. He recounts the military’s use of drugs and prostitutes, the imperial buffoonery of the Green Zone, and the religious ecstasy of the Shiites. And he allows us to witness, close up and in riveting detail, the cataclysmic violence, rampant gangsterism, and quotidian heroism that is today’s Iraq.

As predicted by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, when “historians of tomorrow start writing, they will doubtless have copies of The Freedom close at hand.”


The Freedom, a short, fast-paced book, scenic like a good film script, is steeped in the irony and horror of war.”
Los Angeles Times
“[Parenti] has an eye for the perfect image, a wonderful ear for dialogue and a prose style that floats across the page.”
Las Vegas Mercury
“For those who desire a taste of what occupied Iraq feels and smells and tastes like for the war correspondents, soldiers and Iraqis dealing with the mess that is ‘free’ Iraq, The Freedom is essential reading.”
San Diego Union-Tribune

Goodreads Reviews