Margaret Coker biography

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Margaret Coker

Margaret Coker

Margaret Coker Biography

Margaret Coker is a prize-winning investigative journalist who, for the last nineteen years, has covered stories from thirty-two countries on four continents. Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Coker has largely focused on the Middle East, writing about corruption, counterterrorism, and cyber warfare. An ex-Baghdad Bureau Chief for the New York Times, she honed her reporting skills at The Wall Street Journal where she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize as part of a team chronicling Turkey's failed coup, political purges and teetering democracy. Her coverage of national security issues won the Overseas Press Club Award and the Edwin M. Hood Prize from the National Press Club, America's top prize for diplomatic reporting.

Margaret and her husband live in Savannah, Georgia, with their two dogs and cat. The Spymaster of Baghdad is her first book.



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Interview

A conversation with Margaret Coker, author of The Spymaster of Baghdad

Why did you decide to write a book about wartime espionage set in Baghdad?

Baghdad has never developed the glamour or mystic of other past wartime spy capitals—places like Paris, Casablanca, Berlin, or Saigon—in large part because unlike those other times and places, Americans who deployed and served there since 2003 have done it with a "shelter in place" ethos. Americans stayed behind embassy walls or within military bases and saw hostility in local neighborhoods and landscapes. Baghdad deserves a more nuanced and textured reputation in literature and history than it has had in the English-speaking world. It's one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in human history. It has a strong identity as a place of Arab literature and learning. It has one of the world's major rivers running through it. It has a geographically distinct cuisine. It has a vibrant, if embattled, diverse population. And for the last 17 years it has been ground zero for many intelligence battles in the war on terror.

Unlike other narratives, you focus on the role that Iraqis played in protecting their country and the world. Why was this important to you?

I grew up in a military family, where both parents and my uncles all served in the U....

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Books by this Author

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The Spymaster of Baghdad jacket
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