Turn Back Before Baghdad

ISIS’s use of social media and other avenues to facilitate their terrorism is a relatively recent development in the preexisting conflict in the Middle East, and Iraq in particular. Conflict with this region of the world and the U.S. can be pinpointed to the 1990s with the First Gulf War.

In August of 1990, Saddam Hussein marched the Iraqi army on the oil province of Kuwait. The U.S. and the U.N. rushed to defend Kuwait with Operation Desert Shield, declaring that Hussein was to withdraw by January 15, 1991 or face repercussions. Hussein refused to surrender and, on January 16, 1991, Operation Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm.

Unlike today, with entire news outlets dedicated to wartime media, many of the military leaders during Desert Shield/Storm held the media at arm’s length due to the lingering reactions against the Vietnam war’s media coverage. With Turn Back Before Baghdad, Laurence Jolidon collected firsthand dispatches from American and British correspondents, providing readers with intimate insight into the conversations, the snap decisions, and the moments that changed history.

While the media may now have the advantage of releasing their content nearly instantaneously, getting information straight from dispatches, letters, and more, can be thrilling. These primary sources can help readers begin to understand not simply what decision was made, but why a certain option was chosen over another. Jolidon was one of the first modern journalists to utilize this.

The upcoming twenty-fifth anniversary of the end of the First Persian Gulf War provides a timely context for acknowledging Jolidon’s legacy with the University of North Georgia Press’s publication of Turn Back Before Baghdad and its original frontline dispatches.

New Release: Turn Back Before Baghdad

“Turn Back Before Baghdad” Official Cover

The day is finally here: we’re releasing the long-anticipated Gulf War novel, Turn Back Before Baghdad! Follow author Laurence Jolidon as he uses his experience with media pools and wartime journalism to bring frontline dispatches from American and British Correspondents to the public during the historical Operation Desert Storm.

You’ll be able to buy it on our website, as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Ingram.

We hope you’ll love this book as much as we do. Let us know what you think by commenting down below, tweeting us on Twitter, or leaving a review!

About Turn Back Before Baghdad

A quarter of a century ago, Saddam Hussein was given the ultimatum to peacefully withdraw troops by January 15, 1991, from Kuwait before the United States and our allies took lethal action. Hussein failed to comply and Operation Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm, in attempt to swiftly bring an end to the war over the oil province in Kuwait.

Including commentary from the late Laurence Jolidon, Turn Back before Baghdad is a collection of firsthand dispatches from American and British correspondents in the thick of the action. Their accounts include eye-witness battlefield reports, descriptions of tragic friendly fire episodes, and colorful and humorous insights into how American and British soldiers lived on the frontlines.

Turn Back before Baghdad is filled with the excitement and emotion of life among soldiers preparing for, and engaging in combat. Read it to experience various daily accounts of Operation Desert Storm and learn intimate details from the soldiers and civilians who lived through that pivotal moment in history. The University of North Georgia Press is honored to announce our April 18, 2017 release of Turn Back before Baghdad, a true and commemorative account of Operation Desert Storm.

Journalism and Jolidon by Ron Martz

Of all the many strange and fascinating characters I met during my 40-year career in the newspaper business, perhaps none was more focused on the business of journalism than the late Larry Jolidon, author, editor, and original publisher of Turn Back Before Baghdad.

            I first met Larry, then working for USA TODAY, in the fall of 1990, when Cox Newspapers dispatched me to Saudi Arabia to report on the buildup of coalition forces preparing to oust Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.

I was not quite sure what to make of Larry at first meeting. He had this head of wild, curly hair, a sly smile that made you wonder what he knew that you didn’t, and an easy way of conversing with anyone at any level of military or civilian life that I came to admire and tried to emulate.

Larry was 10 years my senior, but we bonded quickly because we were fellow travelers, both of us having served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and later working at The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, although at different times.

With Larry, the priority every day was the story, whatever that story might be, and the story was always about people, not processes or procedures.

Although he was incredibly competitive when he was reporting a story, Larry was always willing to lend a hand to fellow journalists. During the run-up to the first Gulf War, Larry took on the thankless task of print pool coordinator, working with the military and his often obstreperous colleagues in the print media to determine who would be assigned to what press pools when the war started. He handled it with patience and good humor, despite numerous complaints and a lot of whining from his fellow journalists.

He did what he could to mollify as many people as possible, but in the end, the pool experiment was a failure because of the military’s inability to get stories back to the numerous print publications in a timely fashion. Once the war ended, Larry boxed up hundreds of stories that never saw print, sent them home, and created his own publishing firm, Inkslinger Press, to preserve them for history. The result is Turn Back Before Baghdad.
Larry’s loyalty to his fellow war reporters was evident again in Somalia in 1992. Following one reporting trip to a refugee camp, Larry and several other journalists were hurrying to get back to the relative safety of the capital of Mogadishu before one of the armed militia groups that roamed the roads after dark waylaid them.

Spotting something amiss on one side of the road, Larry stopped and found a wrecked SUV and another crew of journalists, some badly injured. Ignoring the approaching darkness, Larry supervised getting the more seriously injured stabilized and loaded onto the back of his truck before speeding off to Mogadishu and medical care. Larry later learned that the most seriously injured of the bunch, a French photographer, lost an eye but likely would have died had treatment been delayed any longer.

Larry was an old-school journalist committed to his craft.

Said Larry’s good friend and frequent traveling companion Mike Hedges: “No one I know embodied the qualities it took to be an extraordinary war correspondent more than Larry Jolidon.”

While You Wait for “Turn Back Before Baghdad”

As you may know, the Press has an upcoming release about the Persian Gulf War called Turn Back Before Baghdad. It takes place 25 years ago during Operation Desert Storm. This was a tumultuous time in which Saddam Hussein was given a choice: withdraw his troops by January 15, 1991 or face the wrath of the United States and our allies.

Turn Back Before Baghdad, including commentary from late Laurence Jolidon, is a collection of firsthand dispatches from American and British news correspondents in the middle of the historically significant events.

While you eagerly wait for the release, here are some other books that may quench your need for some historical wartime accounts. While Turn Back Before Baghdad focuses on the media development and media pools during the events, these picks take a look at some otheraspects of the Persian Gulf War from diverse perspectives.

Courtesy of B&N


1) Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War by Rick Atkinson

“This definitive account of the Gulf War relates the previously untold story of the U.S. war with Iraq in the early 1990s. The author follows the 42-day war from the first night to the final day, providing vivid accounts of bombing runs, White House strategy sessions, firefights, and bitter internal conflicts” (Barnes & Noble).



                                  2) Jarhead: A Marine’s Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles by Anthony Swofford

Courtesy of B&N

“Anthony Swofford’s Jarhead is the first Gulf War memoir by a frontline infantry marine, and it is a searing, unforgettable narrative. When the marines — or “jarheads,” as they call themselves — were sent in 1990 to Saudi Arabia to fight the Iraqis, Swofford was there, with a hundred-pound pack on his shoulders and a sniper’s rifle in his hands. It was one misery upon another. He lived in sand for six months, his girlfriend back home betrayed him for a scrawny hotel clerk, he was punished by boredom and fear, he considered suicide, he pulled a gun on one of his fellow marines, and he was shot at by both Iraqis and Americans. At the end of the war, Swofford hiked for miles through a landscape of incinerated Iraqi soldiers and later was nearly killed in a booby-trapped Iraqi bunker” (Barnes & Noble).


Keep your eyes peeled for the release of Turn Back Before Baghdad this April. Stay connected with us through the Press blog, Twitter, and Facebook to keep up to date on all upcoming events and releases!