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Reviewed by Velma Lang for Readers' Favorite
Join the Foreign Service and see the world! So began Amy Madsen’s career in the U.S. State Department which landed her in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussain. In Green Zone Diary, she recounts war zone preparedness training in firearms, spy training, and facial expression recognition. Eventually, she endures a harrowing military transport flight and a ride in a fortified military bus through dangerous insurgent territory to the safe Green Zone. On the job, when she tells families about loved ones’ deaths and learns about the loss of Iraqui friends and American hostages, she learns to suppress emotions. By the year’s end, she has witnessed the objectification of women by the military, alarming incidents of rape, and experienced workplace harassment herself. Many years later, she is finally able to recount the trauma of that dangerous year of constant gunfire.
Green Zone Diary: A Diplomat’s War Story is an enlightening, well-organized account of Amy Madsen’s Baghdad experience. It is educational in that I learned about the State Department's operations and structure. As well, it is emotionally engaging, detailing everyday life in a war zone, parties, and missiles et al. She expertly varies the tone from factual to personal feelings about loss and harassment. Her language is explicit when necessary. She connects the reader to the lives of individuals who navigate the complexities of war. Ultimately, she strongly supports her revelations about sexual grievances in the military by establishing a storytelling platform to empower women in conflict zones. This is a compelling memoir that I highly recommend.