John Agresto spent nine months in Iraq – from September 2003 to June 2004 – working under Ambassador Paul Bremer as senior adviser to the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. His daunting task was to assist Iraqis in rebuilding their once distinguished system of colleges, universities, and vocational schools. As he left Iraq, Agresto was asked by the Pentagon to write a few paragraphs about the “lessons learned” during his time there. Those paragraphs were never written, but a book was born instead. Mugged by Reality is partly the memoir of an American civilian and educator trying to help a devastated country revive its educational institutions. It is also a compendium of the successes and failures that followed in the wake of Iraq’s liberation.