Review Essay

How a Caliphate Ends

On the Frontline of the Fight Against ISIS

In This Review

They Will Have to Die Now: Mosul and the Fall of the Caliphate
They Will Have to Die Now: Mosul and the Fall of the Caliphate
By James Verini
Norton, 2019, 304 pp. Purchase

The origin story that James Verini tells about his new book, They Will Have to Die Now, is about guilt—his guilt for not having gone to Iraq earlier. On 9/11, in his first newspaper job, he covered the collapse of the Twin Towers. He writes that a couple of years later, he “could have, should have, gone to Iraq but didn’t.” He was, he says, “too scared.”

It’s just as well that Verini waited until 2016 to “face Iraq” and start reporting on what he calls the central American war of our time. For one thing, obviously yet still shockingly, even arriving 13 years late, he didn’t miss it. For another, he eventually learned a key lesson for a reporter: being scared doesn’t make you the wrong person for the job. Verini’s deeply reported, beautifully written first-person account results from many months on an extremely dangerous assignment.

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