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Synopsis

In the spring and summer of 2004, Iraq was coming apart at the seams. Sectarian violence pitted Shiite against Sunni. American proconsul L. Paul Bremer had disbanded the Iraqi Army, placing disgruntled young men on the street without jobs or the prospect of getting one. Their anger developed into a full-blown insurgency fed by a relentless campaign by the clergy for jihad against the "occupation force." In August, a Shiite cleric named Muqtada Al-Sadr called upon his thousands of armed followers, the Mahdi Militia, to resist the occupation. Fighting broke out in several locations, including the holy city of Najaf, the site of the largest Moslem cemetery in the world, and the Imam Ali Mosque. The U.S. forces fought in 120-degree heat through a tangle of crypts, mausoleums, and crumbling graves. The fight was brutal, pitting religious zealots against the highly motivated and disciplined U.S. Army and Marine Corps troops. It makes for a riveting account of Americans in battle.

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