Axis of Evil World Tour: An American’s Travels in Iran, Iraq, and North Korea by Scott Fisher

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Axis of Evil World Tour goes beyond the superficial coverage found in much of the media to bring a boots-on-the-ground look at three of the most enigmatic, difficult-to-enter countries on the planet-Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.
North Korea: Visit the tense yet quiet DMZ that divides North from South, one of the eeriest places on earth. Spend time touring Pyongyang, the showcase capital that houses the regime and its elites. Travel halfway across the country to the beautiful “Heavenly Fragrance” mountain for a visit to the surreal, cult-like “museums” housing gifts to the country’s leaders, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.
Iraq: What’s it like to live on a U.S. military base during the war in Iraq? Spend two months as part of the Iraqi Survey Group, the international team that was tasked with finding Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction.
Iran: What do Iranians think of the U.S. and Americans? You might be surprised. Travel around the country and take an inside look at Khomeini’s tomb, hear about Iran’s own fight against Al Qaeda, and take a look inside the secret world of the mullahs that really run Iran.

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Elvis Is Titanic: Classroom Tales From The Other Iraq by Ian Klaus

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In the spring of 2005, Ian Klaus, a twenty-six-year-old Rhodes Scholar, traveled eight hours from Turkey, via broken-down taxi and armed convoy, to reach Salahaddin University in Arbil, the largest city in Iraqi Kurdistan. Elvis Is Titanic is the poignant, funny, and eye-opening story of the semester he spent there teaching U.S. history and English in the thick of the war for hearts and minds.
Inspired by the volunteerism of so many young Americans after 9/11, Klaus exchanges the abstraction of duty for an intimate involvement with individual lives, among them Mahir, a rakish Kurdish pop star whose father, an imam, disapproves of music; Ali, an Anglomaniac professor of translation devoted to the BBC, with whom Klaus has a public showdown over Hemingway; and Sarhang, Klaus’s bodyguard, whose interest in American history is excited by Mel Gibson’s performance in The Patriot. Among the Kurds, a perennially oppressed but seemingly indomitable people, Klaus encounters both openhearted welcome and resentful suspicion—and soon learns firsthand how far even a trusted stranger can venture in this society. With assignments ranging from Elvis to Ellington, from the mysteries of baseball to the aperçus of Tocqueville, Klaus strives to illuminate the American way for charges initially far more attuned to our pop culture than our national ideals.
These efforts occasion Klaus’s own reexamination of truths we hold to be self-evident, as well as the less exalted cultural assumptions we have presumed to export to the rest of the world. His story, as full of hope and discovery as he finds his students, offers a slice of life behind the headlines.

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