A War of Choice, By Jack Fairweather

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The Independent Culture

Gripping, shocking, admirably terse, this is the story of the bloody mess after the fast 2003 victory in Iraq.

Fairweather, an embedded reporter for the Telegraph, tells the unvarnished truth from brass-hat bust-ups ("Did you just say you've briefed this plan to Washington without consulting any of us?" "You're being consulted now") to the darkly funny screw-ups on the front line ("Ryan, pass us the fucking grenade." "I can't. I've pulled the pin"). "It is easy to blame Tony Blair," concludes Fairweather – and he does – but British military leaders "gave poor advice."

A War of Choice By Jack Fairweather Vintage, £9.99