ON-Lion Letter
For nine tumultuous months, working for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq, John Agresto was a senior adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, idealistically trying to help the newly liberated country rebuild its once-vaunted education system.  CPA was the U.S. bureaucracy responsible for the civil administration of Iraq between the fall of Baghdad in Spring 2003 and the end of June 2004.

In Mugged by Reality:  The Liberation of Iraq and the Failure of Good Intentions, newly released by Encounter Books, Agresto recounts his time there, soberingly describing that which he thinks the experience can teach Americans about democracy and national-building, among many other things.  The reconstruction of Iraq, he believes, had very many conceptual and operational shortcomings -- the realization of which can only improve the way in which the U.S. performs is existing and potential roles in the world.

Agresto is a former president of St. John's College's campus in Santa Fe, N.M.  He has been a longtime champion of liberal-arts education in general and Great Books curricula in particular.  He was a top deputy to two National Endowment for the Humanities chairmen, William Bennett and Lynne Cheney.

Encounter Books is an activity of Encounter for Culture and Education, a nonprofit group that is substantially supported by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee.  Encounter's president and publisher is Roger Kimball, editor of The New Criterion magazine, which is also supported by Bradley.
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