The war in Iraq is the sole focus of Thomas E. Ricks' essential bestseller Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, read by James Lurie. Senior Pentagon reporter for the Washington Post, Ricks doesn't beat around the bush, as it were; this overthrow, he states, was launched recklessly, with a flawed plan for war and a worse approach to occupation. He backs up this indictment with devastating, mesmerizing detail, drawn from extensive interviews with American military personnel and more than 30,000 pages of official documents. It results in a powerful narrative that dissects what has become a tragedy, a tragedy in which every major player contributed to the errors, where the heroes tend to be anonymous and relatively powerless front-line American soldiers and Iraqi civilians trying to care for their families. They are the people who pay every day for the failures of high officials and powerful institutions. Sad and sobering indeed.

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