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Capsule Review

In a Time of Monsters: Travels Through a Middle East in Revolt

In This Review

In a Time of Monsters: Travels Through a Middle East in Revolt
In a Time of Monsters: Travels Through a Middle East in Revolt
By Emma Sky
Atlantic Books, 2019 320 pp. Purchase

Sky spent three years in Iraq as a British civil servant seconded to senior U.S. military figures, including Generals David Petraeus and Raymond Odierno. In 2015, she produced an insightful book, The Unraveling, chronicling her service. In this new book, she shifts from participant to spectator. The results are disappointing. Starting in 2011 with the early Arab Spring, Sky recounts her travels across several regions, from Galicia in Spain to the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, often guided by diplomats and other acquaintances from her time in Iraq. Sky admits that finding direction and purpose after she left Iraq was not easy and says that her excursions across the Middle East gave her new shots of adrenaline. Yet what the reader is meant to take away from the stories remains a mystery.

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