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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Saved by Her Enemy: An Iraqi Woman's Journey From the Heart of War to the Heartland of America by Don Teague and Rafraf Barrak

A Fascinating Look at the Iraq War

Don Teague was an NBC correspondent assigned to Iraq twice - once during the invasion and once during February 2004, the beginning of the insurgent bombing spree that was finally ended by the famous "surge." His translator during this one month hitch was a beautiful and rebellious young Iraqi woman named Rafraf Barrak.

Teague is an 11 year veteran of the National Guard (helicopter pilot) and knows enough about fighting and war to be very respectful of the dangers of it all (unlike some of his more fearless, less experienced colleagues). Rafraf is one of 10 children - but a handful. Smart enough to know better, Rafraf often flouts the rules dares to do things like eat lunch with boys she meets at her university and express what should be carefully guarded opinions to foreign reporters.

As the situation in Iraq grows worse and worse, Teague realizes that Rafraf will become a target of the insurgents or simply die as a victim of the mayhem of Baghdad. He decides that he has been sent to Baghdad to save Rafraf by helping her escape to America (legally).

Teague's descriptions of the violence and chaos of post-war Iraq is compelling reading. His descriptions of the culture as an outsider, combined with Rafraf's insider point of view, combine to give the reader a sense of some points of Iraqi culture. Teague's insider view of the network news business is interesting as well.

Don Teague and Rafraf Barrak
Teague's open comments about his religious faith are sure to make some people uncomfortable, but Teague's comments are not gratuitous, they are integral to his motivations. The book is written in a rather simple style, but it still is compelling reading. I blasted through this book and am quite pleased to have read it. Very enjoyable.

I rated this book 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on May 17, 2010.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Saved by Her Enemy.

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