"Da'ash (ISIS) is the hideous product of a sacralised determinism born out of secular failure."
When you meet that in the preface of a book, you know you're in the hands of an intellectual. But Emma Sky is a very special kind of intellectual. A Brit civil servant, with a passion for the Middle East, she somehow ends up as the closest aide to the General Odierno, who's leading US troops in Iraq.. He's 6' 5" and she's 5' 4", so the photographs make it look even stranger, but it's actually a beautiful story of friendship, as well as a tough, sad account of "high hopes and missed opportunities." If you wondered how we got from there to here, and got a bit confused about the various factions involved, this is the book to read. It's not short or snappy, but all the better for that. It's detailed, intelligent and heartfelt - unforgettable.