Decline into Madness: Samuel Peter Shaw’s Anti-war Novel Gathers New Relevance in Current Middle East Crisis

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Colly Wolfson’s life crumbles around him as Iraq War escalates in ‘While They Were Dying’

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As the Middle East crisis widens, the events of the 2003 Iraq War play an ever more relevant role in Samuel Peter Shaw’s debut novel, “While They Were Dying: The Road to Iraq” (published by iUniverse).

The book is set in London among a group of wealthy friends, and opens as the Iraq War begins in 2003. Colly Wolfson, a celebrated yet troubled architect, is horrified by the televised hi-tech assault, which falls on two anniversaries: the death of his infant son and the maiming of orphan Warren Nichols in an accident at one of his construction sites.

Wolfson secretly sets Warren up in a house and treats him as a son, but the strain and the new war propel him on a downward spiral that crumbles his marriage and sends him into the arms of two women. The sufferings and deceptions of the war become his own, his friendships splinter and he sinks into a depression he may never escape.

Shaw weaves an intricate fictional narrative that stands separate from the Iraq War yet is linked to it by chapter headings of quotes from political figures such as George W. Bush and Tony Blair, and by media excerpts that keep the war and its opponents in context.

“While They Were Dying”
By Samuel Peter Shaw
Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 270 pages | ISBN 9781475951868
E-Book | 270 pages | ISBN 9781475951875
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author
After cutting his journalistic teeth in Yorkshire, Samuel Peter Shaw left for Africa in 1959 and worked on newspapers, a news agency and in radio in what are now Zimbabwe and Zambia, and subsequently for a further 30 years on the staff of the BBC World Service News Department in London.

iUniverse, an Author Solutions, LLC, self-publishing imprint, is the leading book marketing, editorial services, and supported self-publishing provider. iUniverse has a strategic alliance with Indigo Books & Music, Inc. in Canada, and titles accepted into the iUniverse Rising Star program are featured in a special collection on iUniverse recognizes excellence in book publishing through the Star, Reader’s Choice, Rising Star and Editor’s Choice designations—self-publishing’s only such awards program. Headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, iUniverse also operates offices in Indianapolis. For more information or to publish a book, please visit or call 1-800-AUTHORS. For the latest, follow @iuniversebooks on Twitter.

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