Book by Blue Mountains writer: 'The Sacking of Fallujah: A People's History'

A personal mission to give voice to the victims of the war in Iraq has culminated in the publication of an acclaimed book by Woodford writer and activist, Donna Mulhearn.

Ms Mulhearn was part of the human shield movement during the war in Iraq and returned several times as a volunteer aid worker and human rights observer. She was an eye witness to the US attacks on the city of Fallujah in April 2004, considered the most ferocious event of the war.

Many years in the writing, The Sacking of Fallujah - A People's History, published by University of Massachusetts Press, tells the story of the destruction of Fallujah and the subsequent health crisis, including a dramatic rise in birth deformities.

A special event to mark the book's publication will be held on Wednesday, November 6 at 7pm in Woodford. The event will include a presentation by Ms Mulhearn, Q&A and opportunity to purchase the book.

Ms Mulhearn said the research for the book, over seven years, included several trips back to Iraq to document the impact of toxic weapons used in Fallujah and the dramatic rise in stillborn births, miscarriage and birth deformities.

"It was a gruelling process, physically and emotionally.

"Too many times I was sitting in a hospital room with a mother as she watched her new baby die. It was heart-breaking, but I continued because the story needed to be told. My goal was to give names and faces to the women and children caught up in this disaster."

Praised by renowned US academic Professor Noam Chomsky, the book is first comprehensive study of the three recent sieges of Fallujah, and offers a unique people's history rather than a purely military account.

"This groundbreaking work cuts through thick veils of propaganda to reveal the experiences of the victims, with depth of research and a sensitivity that is uniquely perceptive - and with powerful lessons for solidarity work and the struggle for 'peace with justice,' not only in the tortured land of Iraq," said Prof Chomsky.

Distinguishing itself from other books on Fallujah, written mainly by former American soldiers, this book draws on a wide range of sources and includes independent and Iraqi voices. It combines military history with social history, drawing attention to the human consequences of these operations.

The Sacking of Fallujah, co-authored with former US Marine turned anti-war activist Ross Caputi and academic Richard Hill, is a catalyst for widespread community reflection on the important lessons to be drawn from a conflict that symbolises the brutality of modern warfare.

The book event will be held in the Earth Room at Blue Labyrinth Bush Retreat. Book at or phone 4758 7360.