To Be a Friend Is Fatal: The Fight to Save the Iraqis America Left Behind

Kirk W Johnson, Author
Kirk W. Johnson. Scribner, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4767-1048-8
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-4767-1049-5
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4767-1050-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-1559-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-4559-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-4526-6559-7
Book - 978-1-4676-5036-6
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Though the Iraq War is over, Iraqis who worked with Americans during the struggle continue to live in fear of retribution from embittered fellow Iraqis. Here, a modern-day Oskar Schindler fights to help those in danger while simultaneously battling his own demons. In 2005, Johnson traveled to Iraq as a translator for USAID. He was just a 24-year-old kid from the Midwest, but he was fluent in Arabic and eager to help. But as the violent and complicated reality of life in Iraq became clear, Johnson’s spirit plummeted, prompting him to throw himself from his hotel window. His injuries required him to return to the States for an extended recovery period. While there, he receives an e-mail from an Iraqi friend explaining that the latter’s life is in danger. Johnson rallies and founds the List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies. Not surprisingly, the challenges keep on coming, but so do the successes. To date, the organization has helped over 1,500 Iraqis immigrate to America. Johnson’s writing style varies from comparisons to Norse sagas to the style of op-eds that caught the attention of George Packer and heartfelt indictments of the leadership in Washington, D.C., but ultimately his story is about finding a safe place to heal—for himself and for our allies. Photos. Agent: Katherine Flynn, Kneerim, William & Bloom. (Oct. 15)
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