Åsne Seierstad is one of my favourite authors and one of my favourite people. I have never met her but her life is fascinating to me and I have read three of her books now and have really enjoyed them all. I wrote posts on the other two books: With Their Backs to the World and The Bookseller of Kabul. When I saw this one about Baghdad I got so excited (you know me and the Middle East)!
A Hundred and One Days is Åsne Seierstad’s account of the invasion of Iraq beginning with the bombing of Baghdad in 2003. Seierstad went there as a journalist and even when many other journalists and media outlets were pulling out she paid a hefty price to go back into the centre of it all.
In her account she interviews different Iraqis, some loyal to the Hussein regime, some wanting foreign invaders to mind their own business, and some happy about the invasion. She also talked with other journalists, Europeans, Americans and American military personnel.
As a child when the invasion happened, I didn’t know much about what actually happened in the early days and had a very skewed perception until I was in University. It was very interesting to read about the bombing from a European perspective. I feel like most of my information came from the American perspective (both sides of the spectrum) and that it can often be assumed that all Western ideas are pretty much the same. I didn’t know that there was such a large majority of people in Europe who also protested against this invasion.
This account was hard to read at times. While it doesn’t immediately start when the bombing happens, you can read and understand the tensions leading up to the bombing and read about the details of the bombing itself which was a little frightening to read at times and even more so to actually picture it in your head.
I think this book is a pretty important one to read if you are interested in this subject. I lent it to a friend who is American and she also had the same reaction I did and was equally as surprised by the perspective of the author. I think it gave us both some insight into this conflict from an outside angle.
If you have any other books on this subject to recommend please let me know in the comments. Have you read this booK? What were your thoughts? Are you from a country with a very specific perspective on this war?