Occupational Hazards

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Occupational Hazards
Occupational Hazards by Rory Stewart cover.jpg
Cover of 2006 Picador edition
AuthorRory Stewart
Publication date
December 2006
Pages546 pages
Preceded byThe Places in Between 
Followed byCan Intervention Work? 
Cover of 2007 Harvest Books ed with alternative title

Occupational Hazards: My Time Governing in Iraq or The Prince of the Marshes: And other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq is a 2006 non-fiction book by the British writer and later Member of Parliament Rory Stewart.


Occupational Hazards documents Stewart's experiences as Coalition Provisional Authority Deputy Governor of the Iraqi province of Maysan and Senior Advisor in the province of Dhi Qar. These provinces in the remote, impoverished marsh regions of southern Iraq were home to a diverse number of parties and peoples and Stewart spends much of his time mediating, negotiating hostage releases, holding elections, and trying to restore order to a society which seemed on the edge of civil war, following the Iraq War. Much of the book is concerned with Stewart's dealings with the Prince of the Marshes, a local warlord who had fought against Saddam Hussein and regarded Stewart's actions with suspicion. Occupational Hazards explores the hostility experienced by Coalition troops and administrators, mostly notably when, in May 2004, Stewart and his compound in Nasiriyah were besieged by Sadrist militia, an experience he recounted in his Desert Island Discs appearance of 2008.[1]


Occupational Hazards received positive reviews following its publication, with The New York Times critic William Grimes describing it as "a rueful, richly detailed, often harrowing account...the real value of [which] is Mr. Stewart's sobering picture of the difficulties involved in creating a coherent Iraqi state based on the rule of law".[2] David Morphet, writing in The Guardian, described it as "an extraordinarily vivid tale with many exciting episodes" and Maya Jasanoff called it "an eye-opening and at times enthralling book" in London Review of Books.[3][4]


In 2017, the book was adapted for the stage by Stephen Brown, debuting at Hampstead Theatre under the title Occupational Hazards.[5][6]


  1. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Desert Island Discs, Rory Stewart". BBC. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  2. ^ Grimes, William. "An Outsider Confronts the Tide in the Marshes of Iraq". Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  3. ^ Morphet, David (2006-06-10). "Review: Occupational Hazards by Rory Stewart". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  4. ^ Jasanoff, Maya (2007-04-05). "One Enduring Trace of Our Presence". London Review of Books. pp. 11–12. ISSN 0260-9592. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  5. ^ "Occupational Hazards". Hampstead Theatre. 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  6. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (9 May 2017). "Fascinating but fleeting encounter with a latter-day T E Lawrence - Occupational Hazards review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 June 2017.

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