In 2003, three U.S. Christian peacemakers weathered the first horrifying days of Shock and Awe in Baghdad only to be nearly killed in a car accident as they were leaving the country. They were rescued by Iraqi Muslims who took them to a clinic in the already bombed-out town of Rutba, where they received protection and care. In sending the Americans on their way, their hosts had only one request: Go and tell the world of Rutba.
In fulfillment of that pledge, the peacemakers returned to Rutba in 2010 to thank the doctors and all who saved them, and to contribute to an ongoing process of peace, friendship, and reconciliation.
In his Afterword, Shane Claiborne (author of The Irresistible Revolution, and one of the three peacemakers) describes the impact of this experience and its ongoing meaning: Now that the war in Iraq is over, history will tell how we remember it. I m sure there will be all sorts of books on the Iraq war.. . . Political pundits will defend their parties and candidates. But in the end, I hope that history will also remember the story of this little town called Rutba.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Barrett's style reads as if he were sitting across the table telling you the story; it comes to life in your mind. Honest, well researched and, well, what an experience - both the account shared in the book and that of reading it. It would have to be with a foreword written by Archbishop Tutu, right? It's everything you'd hope for in fiction, yet it's all true. Powerfully, movingly true. Today I "played hookie" from work (I work at home) to read the last chapters on the back porch. The first few were so riveting (I immediately sent copies to three special people in my life!) I just couldn't resist the urge. The players, including the writer, are all admirable people of conscience with fascinating back-stories of their own, each in their own ways fierce warriors for peace and such gentle, courageous human beings that I just had to know what else happened. After finishing their story I'm still drying the tears. After reading it through, the simply stated but unspeakably profound...
The Gospel of Rutba is a must read regardless of your views on the invasion of Iraq and in spite of the fact that many of us would prefer not to dwell on that topic if we can avoid it. The book examines just one life-threatening incident -- among literally countless others across war-torn Iraq -- and invites us into the lives of those who lived through it. The reporting and research are first rate (even the footnotes are jaw-dropping) as one might expect from Barrett, a former journalist. However, the book is much more than a purely objective chronicling of events. Gospel of Rutba will make you care more deeply about "collateral damage" and about the innocent civilians whose lives end or just get turned upside down when America goes to war. Absolutely riveting!
You get more than the story of the Christian Peacemaker Team and the Good Samaritan actions of the desert town of Rutba in this book. It is loaded with detailed footnotes and plenty of back story about each person as well as descriptions of the war we did not see or hear from from American journalists.
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