Paul William Roberts first visited Iraq during the Arab summit in 1990. He went back in 1991 during the Gulf War. One of the few Western journalists to get into Iraq, he was arrested by soldiers on the outskirts of Baghdad at the height of the ALLied attack and witnessed the nightmarish effects of the bombing on the city’s civilians and infrastructure. In 1995, he received a surprise invitation to the International Babylon Festival and was able to revisit what little was left of Baghdad.Roberts ranges from a Hunter Thompson-like gonzo journalism to skirted historical analysis, untangling the complicated history of Iraq and its neighbors, to intrepid interviews, discussing movies and religion with a frightening array of madmen, from Hussein himself, the man “whose mother looked like Anthony Quinn playing Mother Teresa”, to Assad Bayoud al-Tamimi, the less-than-benevolent father figure of the Islamic Jihad.
At once chillingly horrifying and hysterically funny, The Demonic Comedy is a unique travel memoir, an eyewitness testament to the horrors of dictatorship and the devastation of war.