Homer's Travels: Book: Rory Stewart's "The Prince Of The Marshes"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Book: Rory Stewart's "The Prince Of The Marshes"

During the lead up to the Iraq war, several members of the Bush administration testified, on the record, that there were no significant ethnic rivalries in Iraq. We have learned better since then and we all know that the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds pretty much hate each other. After my latest read, Rory Stewart's "The Prince of the Marshes: And Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq", it is evident that three groups is an oversimplification.

Rory Stewart worked for the British foreign service and was the deputy governor of two southern provinces of Iraq (Amara and Nasiriyah) and experienced the chaos of the Iraqi provincial politics first hand. His memoir of the year he spent as deputy governor provides an eye opening view of the difficulties of nation building when the nation is splintered into hundreds of political parties, religious sects,and tribes, many with their own militias.

Stewart's analysis, what little there is in the book, is probably as wrong as everyone else's analysis. He doesn't agree with everything that's been done in Iraq. He doesn't seem to have any faith in the Iraqi government while coalition forces are still there and seems to believe they will do better once our forces have been removed and the Iraqis realize that they're on their own. Only time will tell.

I recommend this book but it's not for everybody. The Wife made it about half way through before she lost interest. I, on the other hand, found it interesting, more interesting that Stewart's other book, "The Places In Between" that I read in November 2006, that the Wife enjoyed more than me. I guess I'm more interested in memoirs than travel logs.


  1. Too late to try thinking about what's been done in Iraq. The Bush administration is seeing its last days and as for myself, I wish a certain Barack Obama tidies up this whole mess.

  2. Gany: Amen to that. I just hope whoever becomes president does the right thing.

  3. More diplomatic, huh? Well, I'm not from the US:)