The Unraveling

  • by Emma Sky
  • Narrated by Henrietta Meire
  • 11 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When Emma Sky, an intrepid young British woman, volunteered to help rebuild Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, she had little idea what she was letting herself in for: a tour that would last over a decade, longer than that of any senior military or political official. As the only adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Kirkuk and the closest confidante to US General Odierno, Sky was valued for her controversial voice and outsider's point of view - during the most painful stages of the war, she was one of the few to develop friendships and relationships with both Iraqis and Americans alike.
In the West, violence in Iraq is typically explained away as the symptom of psychopathic terrorists, blurring and arbitrary colonial borders, and ancient hatreds between Sunni and Shia. But the violence stems from weak governance and corrupt elites, empowered by the US-led coalition, who use sectarianism to mobilize support and fail to deliver service to the meet the needs of the country's citizens. Women and men, Iraqis and Americans, soldiers and civilians, the ordinary and yet extraordinary, Western cultures and Eastern all collide in Iraq.


What the Critics Say

"This authoritative first-person account is a must-read for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the complexity of the Iraq war, and the road to the current crises with the Islamic State." (Publishers Weekly Review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Inspiring memoir; irritating narration

The pronunciation of Arabic words and names is poor in most books about the Middle East. This is understandable, and mostly forgivable given the inaccessibility of the language. But narrator Henrietta Meire belongs in a class of her own. She can pronounce "Iraq" and "Saddam Hussein," but for everything else, she's just winging it. She mangles even commonly known terms like Sunni, which she pronounces to rhyme with bunny -- and since this word occurs hundreds of times in the book, it is quite distracting. She has notable lapses in English as well, to include pronouncing Rumsfeld as Rumsfield, and corps (as in an Army Corps) to sound like corpse.

With that caveat made, this is a great book about the Iraq War. Sky was against the war, but spent nearly a decade there working closely with the US Army to make the aftermath succeed. Which it did, very briefly, following the surge, before collapsing again. Sky's story humanizes everyone involved, whether Iraqi, American, British, civilian or military. Worth a listen, despite the narration.
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- Amazon Customer

Good not great

Someone desperately needed to tell the narrator how to pronounce not only iraqi names but also words such as "baton" and "reneged." Makes it rather difficult to listen to
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- Matthew Pokorny

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-23-2016
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio