Occupational Hazards

Rory Stewart

2007 Nominee

John Llewellyn Rhys Prize

09 May 2024
464 pages


A fascinating insight into the complexity, history and unpredictability of Iraq from Rory Stewart, bestselling author of Politics on the Edge and host of hit podcast The Rest Is Politics.

‘Devastating’ - The Sunday Times
‘Absolutely absorbing’ - Ken Loach

By September 2003, six months after the US-led invasion of Iraq, the anarchy had begun. Rory Stewart, then a young British diplomat, was appointed as the Coalition Provisional Authority's deputy governor of a province of 850,000 people in the southern marshland region. There, he and his colleagues confronted gangsters, Iranian-linked politicians, tribal vendettas and a full Islamist insurgency.

Occupational Hazards is Rory Stewart's inside account of the attempt to rebuild a nation, the errors made, the misunderstandings and insurmountable difficulties encountered. It reveals an Iraq hidden from most foreign journalists and soldiers, a rare and compelling insight that remains just as important today.

‘An extraordinarily vivid tale’ - The Guardian
‘Wonderfully observed, wise, evocative’ - The Observer

Beautifully written, highly evocative . . . a joy to read.
A marvellous book . . . a devastating narrative.
Absolutely absorbing.