Review of the Roman Empire Essay

Submitted By tjwwheel
Words: 2128
Pages: 9

Travis Wheeler
HIST 3460
Blogs and Oral Histories, the best way to re-live the past Book and narratives such as Baghdad burning and Footsteps in Gaza are a great way to enjoy a piece of history in a form that is a little different and more personal than your average text book readings. These books, specifically Baghdad Burning, give the reader a rare insight into the daily lives of the people in affected areas such as Iraq, as well as show a side of the war, and a flip side perspective, of the people in and around it. We are so focused on reading accounts from the occupying countries that we sometimes forget there is a whole different side that are going through different and more difficult trials and tribulations. I would like to discuss both the positive and negative sides of these forms of writing, however, am going to strongly side with the positive qualities of a confessional blog and a written oral history. Focusing more on the book Baghdad Burning, I will give my opinion on why looking at history from every possible side, reading an insider’s account as well as an overall account, and learning to decipher what is biased and unbiased, is important attribute of both the reader and writer of blogs and oral histories in today’s culture. In the book Baghdad Burning, a narrator by the name of “Riverbend” take the reader, or blogger, on a regularly updated journey through the pre-invasion and invasion months and years of Iraq. Riverbend is a mid-twenties, middle class woman who has at least an education level that allows her to follow both Iraqi and world politics, while relating the ideas of the countries back to simple logics. Her understanding of the monetary and political reasoning’s behind the United States and their involvement in Iraq are very comprehensive and provide a lot of continual debate on her blog. She, early in the book/blog, lists out a group of the top players for all sides of the war. Riverbend describes all these people as if she knows them personally and can attest to their true qualities and roles in the invasion. She calls a lot of the former Iraqi government “puppets” of the American government, and is able to prove this through their spotty backgrounds and changing political stances. The most interesting thing about reading this book is the ability for the reader to have a first person, live perspective on how the war impacted daily life both overtly and subtly. Very early in her blog she mentions how difficult daily life has become in post invasion Iraq, “Waking up anywhere in Iraq these days is a trial.” (p. 5) She goes on through the beginning, describing how life used to be and then how it is now. Going anywhere has become a massive risk and struggle; from passing through guarded checkpoints, to cars being stolen and bombed, no single move can be guaranteed safe. Another unique thing about this book is that during her blog, she frequently takes emails or comments from readers across the world, and argues with or against them on certain topics. About midway through her blog, there is an assassination of one of the key “puppets” and when this happens, she goes into a small debate with a reader over what political advantage his death was going to give both the Americans and the newly formed Iraqi political system. In all of these cases, her ability to convey her thoughts and to also relate her words to people all around the world is what helped her become an accredited source of insider knowledge during the start of the war. When looking at some of the things that make Riverbend successful at talking to her audience, a reader is able to see that some of her most prominent qualities include her diction, sentence structure, and ability to talk in a way that doesn’t side with anyone in particular. When she first begins writing, she makes it known that during the early part of the American invasion into Iraq, the native people feel a sense of sorry and sympathy for the