Iraq War

This is not your father's war

This is Iraq, where a soldier's first duty is reinforcing his Humvee with sheet metal and sand bags. Or, in the absence of plumbing, burning barrels of human waste. Where any dead dog on the side of the road might be concealing an insurgent's bomb and anyone could be the enemy.

At age 17, Jason Christopher Hartley joined the Army National Guard. Thirteen years later, he is called to active duty, to serve in Iraq. Sent to a town called Ad Dujayl, made notorious by Saddam Hussein's 1982 massacre, Hartley is thrust into the center of America's war against terrorism. This is his story.

"If you are distrustful of the media and want to know exactly what's going on in Iraq, you'll have to pray for divine enlightenment, because only god knows what the hell is going on over here. However, if you want to know how it feels to be a soldier in Iraq, to hear something honest and raw, that I can help you with."

Sometimes profane, often poignant, and always nakedly candid, Just Another Soldier takes the reader past the images seen on CNN and the nightly news, into the day to day reality of life on the ground as an infantryman, attached to the 1st Division, in the first war of the 21st century. From the adrenaline rush of storming a suspected insurgent's house, to the sheer boredom of down time on the base, to the horror of dead civilians, Hartley examines his role as a man, as a soldier and as an American on foreign soil. His quest to discover the balance between his compassionate side and his baser instincts, results in a searing portrait of today's Army and a remarkable personal narrative written in a fresh and exciting new voice. Just Another Soldier is more than a war story; it delivers an intimate look at a generation of young men and women on the front lines of American policy.

Whether you're for or against the war in Iraq, this is essential reading.

From the only journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from Iraq, here is a riveting account of ordinary people caught between the struggles
of nations


Like her country, Karima—a widow with eight children—was caught between America and Saddam. It was March 2003 in proud but battered Baghdad. As night drew near, she took her son to board a rickety bus to join Hussein's army. "God protect you," she said, handing him something she could not afford to give—the thirty-cent fare.

The Washington Post's Anthony Shadid also went to war in Iraq although he was neither embedded with soldiers nor briefed by politicians. Because he is fluent in Arabic, Shadid—an Arab American born and raised in Oklahoma—was able to disappear into the divided, dangerous worlds of Iraq. Day by day, as the American dream of freedom clashed with Arab notions of justice, he pieced together the human story of ordinary Iraqis weathering the terrible dislocations and tragedies of war.

Through the lives of men and women, Sunnis and Shiites, American sympathizers and outraged young jihadists newly transformed into martyrs, Shadid shows us the journey of defiant, hopeful, resilient Iraq. Moving from battle scenes to subdued streets enlivened only by the call to prayer, Shadid uses the experiences of his characters to illustrate how Saddam's downfall paved the way not only for democracy but also for an Islamic reawakening and jihad.

Night Draws Near—as compelling as it is human—is an illuminating and poignant account from a repoter whose coverage has drawn international attention and acclaim.
In the most dramatic and intimate account of battle reporting since Michael Herr's classic Dispatches, NBC News's award-winning Middle East Bureau Chief, Richard Engel, offers an unvarnished and often emotional account of five years in Iraq.

Engel is the longest serving broadcaster in Iraq and the only American television reporter to cover the country continuously before, during, and after the 2003 U.S. invasion. Fluent in Arabic, he has had unrivaled access to U.S. military commanders, Sunni insurgents, Shiite militias, Iraqi families, and even President George W. Bush, who called him to the White House for a private briefing. He has witnessed nearly every major milestone in this long war.

War Journal describes what it was like to go into the hole where U.S. Special Operations Forces captured Saddam Hussein. Engel was there as the insurgency began and watched the spread of Iranian influence over Shiite religious cities and the Iraqi government. He watched as Iraqis voted in their first election. He was in the courtroom when Saddam was sentenced to death and interviewed General David Petraeus about the surge.

In vivid, sometimes painful detail, Engel tracks the successes and setbacks of the war. He describes searching, with U.S troops, for a missing soldier in the dangerous Sunni city of Ramadi; surviving kidnapping attempts, IED attacks, hotel bombings, and ambushes; and even the smell of cakes in a bakery attacked by sectarian gangs and strewn with bodies of the executed.

War Journal describes a sectarian war that American leaders were late to understand and struggled to contain. It is an account of the author's experiences, insights, bittersweet reflections, and moments from his private video diary -- itself the subject of a highly acclaimed documentary on MSNBC.

War Journal is the story of the transformation of a young journalist who moved to the Middle East with $2,000 and a belief that the region would be "the story" of his generation into a seasoned reporter who has at times believed that he would die covering the war. It is about American soldiers, ordinary Iraqis, and especially a few brave individuals on his team who continually risked their lives to make his own daring reporting possible.
A New York Times Notable Book: A look at the hidden costs of America’s war on terror from “the finest national security reporter of this generation” (Newsweek).
 
Since 9/11, the United States has fought an endless war on terror, seeking enemies everywhere and never promising peace. In Pay Any Price, Pulitzer Prize winner James Risen reveals an extraordinary litany of the hidden costs of that war: billions of dollars that went missing from Iraq only to turn up in a bunker in Lebanon; whistleblowers abused, including a staffer on the House Intelligence Committee persecuted by the FBI for expressing her concerns about the NSA spying on US citizens; and an entire professional organization, the American Psychological Association, forced to investigate its own involvement with the government’s use of torture.
 
In the name of fighting terrorism, our government has perpetrated acts that rival the shameful historic wartime abuses of generations past, and it has worked very hard to cover them up. This “important and powerful book” brings them into the light (The New York Times Book Review).
 
“A wide-ranging look at consequences of the so-called war on terror [that] includes stories of shocking thievery during the U.S. occupation of Iraq.” —U.S. News & World Report
 
“A memorable chronicle of the long-range consequences of the panicky reaction of top American officials to the Sept. 11 attacks . . . Mr. Risen certainly makes the case in this book that America has lost much in its lashing out against terrorism, and that Congress and the people need to wake up and ask more questions about the political, financial, moral and cultural costs of that campaign.” —Thomas E. Ricks, The New York Times
 
“At times frightening, Risen’s book is a strong reminder of the importance of a free press keeping a powerful government in check.” —The Daily Beast
David Kilcullen is one of the world's most influential experts on counterinsurgency and modern warfare, a ground-breaking theorist whose ideas "are revolutionizing military thinking throughout the west" (Washington Post). Indeed, his vision of modern warfare powerfully influenced America's decision to rethink its military strategy in Iraq and implement "the Surge," now recognized as a dramatic success. In The Accidental Guerrilla, Kilcullen provides a remarkably fresh perspective on the War on Terror. Kilcullen takes us "on the ground" to uncover the face of modern warfare, illuminating both the big global war (the "War on Terrorism") and its relation to the associated "small wars" across the globe: Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Thailand, the Pakistani tribal zones, East Timor and the horn of Africa. Kilcullen sees today's conflicts as a complex interweaving of contrasting trends--local insurgencies seeking autonomy caught up in a broader pan-Islamic campaign--small wars in the midst of a big one. He warns that America's actions in the war on terrorism have tended to conflate these trends, blurring the distinction between local and global struggles and thus enormously complicating our challenges. Indeed, the US had done a poor job of applying different tactics to these very different situations, continually misidentifying insurgents with limited aims and legitimate grievances--whom he calls "accidental guerrillas"--as part of a coordinated worldwide terror network. We must learn how to disentangle these strands, develop strategies that deal with global threats, avoid local conflicts where possible, and win them where necessary. Colored with gripping battlefield experiences that range from the jungles and highlands of Southeast Asia to the mountains of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to the dusty towns of the Middle East, The Accidental Guerrilla will, quite simply, change the way we think about war. This book is a must read for everyone concerned about the war on terror.
In the months leading up to March 2003, fresh from its swift and heady victory in Afghanistan, the Bush administration mobilized the United States armed forces to overthrow the government of Iraq. Eight months after the president declared an end to major combat operations, Saddam Hussein was captured in a farmhouse in Al-Dawr. And yet neither peace nor democracy has taken hold in Iraq; instead the country has plunged into terrorist insurgency and guerrilla warfare, with no end in sight.What went wrong?

In The Secret History of the Iraq War, bestselling author Yossef Bodansky offers an astonishing new account of the war and its aftermath—a war that was doomed from the start, he argues, by the massive and systemic failures of the American intelligence community. Drawing back the curtain of politicized debate, Bodansky—a longtime expert and director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare—reveals that nearly every aspect of America's conflict with Iraq has been misunderstood, in both the court of public opinion and the White House itself. Among his revelations:

  • The most authoritative account of Saddam Hussein's support for Islamic terrorist organizations—including extensive new reporting on his active cooperation with al-Qaeda in Iraq long after the fall of Baghdad

  • Extensive new information on Iraq's major chemical and biological weapons programs—including North Korea's role in building still-undetected secret storage facilities and Iraq's transfer of banned materials to Syria, Iran, and Libya

  • The first account of Saddam's plan for Iraq, Syria, and Iran to join Yasser Arafat's Palestinian forces to attack Israel, throw the region into turmoil, and upend the American campaign

  • The untold story of Russia's attempt to launch a coup against Saddam before the war—and how the CIA thwarted it by ensuring that Iraq was forewarned

  • Dramatic details about Saddam's final days on the run, including the untold story of a near miss with U.S. troops and the stunning revelation that Saddam was already in custody at the time of his capture—and was probably betrayed by members of his own Tikriti clan

  • The definitive account of the anti-U.S. resistance and uprising in Iraq, as the American invasion ignited an Islamic jihad and Iran-inspired intifada, threatening to plunge the region into irreversible chaos fueled by hatred and revenge

  • Revelations about the direct involvement of Osama bin Laden in the terrorism campaigns in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the Middle East—including the major role played by Iran and HizbAllah in al-Qaeda's operations

Drawing upon an extraordinary wealth of previously untapped intelligence and regional sources, The Secret History of the Iraq War presents the most detailed, fascinating, and convincing account of the most controversial war of our times—and offers a sobering indictment of an intelligence system that failed the White House, the American military, and the people of the Middle East.

“One of the very best books to come out of the war in Iraq,” (Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, bestselling author of On Killing), The Last Punisher is a gripping and intimate on-the-ground memoir from a Navy SEAL who was part of SEAL Team THREE with American Sniper Chris Kyle. Experience his deployment, from his first mission to his first kill to his eventual successful return to the United States to play himself in the Oscar-nominated film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper.

The Last Punisher is a “thoughtful, funny, and raw…always compelling” (Bing West, New York Times bestselling author of No True Glory) first-person account of the Iraq War. With wry humor and moving testimony, Kevin Lacz tells the bold story of his tour in Iraq with SEAL Team THREE, the warrior elite of the Navy. This legendary unit, known as “The Punishers,” included Chris Kyle (American Sniper), Mike Monsoor, Ryan Job, and Marc Lee. These brave men were instrumental in securing the key locations in the pivotal 2006 Battle of Ramadi.

Minute by minute, Lacz relays the edge-of-your-seat details of his team’s missions in Ramadi, offering a firsthand glimpse into the heated combat, extreme conditions, and harrowing experiences they faced every day. Through it all, Lacz and his teammates formed unbreakable bonds and never lost sight of the cause: protecting America with their fight.

“A rare glimpse into the mind of a Navy SEAL,” (Clint Emerson, New York Times bestselling author of 100 Deadly Skills) Kevin Lacz brings you onto the battlefield and relays the tough realities of war. At the same time, Lacz shares how these experiences made him a better man and how proud he is of his contributions to one of this country’s most difficult military campaigns.

The Last Punisher is the story of a SEAL and an “honest-to-God American hero” (Mike Huckabee, #1 bestselling author) who was never afraid to answer the call.
Debriefing the President presents an astounding, candid portrait of one of our era’s most notorious strongmen. John Nixon, the first man to conduct a prolonged interrogation of Hussein after his capture, offers expert insight into the history and mind of America’s most enigmatic enemy. 

In December 2003, after one of the largest, most aggressive manhunts in history, US military forces captured Iraqi president Saddam Hussein near his hometown of Tikrit. Beset by body-double rumors and false alarms during a nine-month search, the Bush administration needed positive identification of the prisoner before it could make the announcement that would rocket around the world.

At the time, John Nixon was a senior CIA leadership analyst who had spent years studying the Iraqi dictator. Called upon to make the official ID, Nixon looked for telltale scars and tribal tattoos and asked Hussein a list of questions only he could answer. The man was indeed Saddam Hussein, but as Nixon learned in the ensuing weeks, both he and America had greatly misunderstood just who Saddam Hussein really was.

After years of parsing Hussein’s leadership from afar, Nixon faithfully recounts his debriefing sessions and subsequently strips away the mythology surrounding an equally brutal and complex man. His account is not an apology, but a sobering examination of how preconceived ideas led Washington policymakers—and the Bush White House—astray. Unflinching and unprecedented, Debriefing the President exposes a fundamental misreading of one of the modern world’s most central figures and presents a new narrative that boldly counters the received account.
“Riveting. . . a testament to a misconceived war, and to the ease with which ordinary men, under certain conditions, can transform into monsters.”—New York Times Book Review

This is the story of a small group of soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division’s fabled 502nd Infantry Regiment—a unit known as “the Black Heart Brigade.” Deployed in late 2005 to Iraq’s so-called Triangle of Death, a veritable meat grinder just south of Baghdad, the Black Hearts found themselves in arguably the country’s most dangerous location at its most dangerous time.

Hit by near-daily mortars, gunfire, and roadside bomb attacks, suffering from a particularly heavy death toll, and enduring a chronic breakdown in leadership, members of one Black Heart platoon—1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion—descended, over their year-long tour of duty, into a tailspin of poor discipline, substance abuse, and brutality.

Four 1st Platoon soldiers would perpetrate one of the most heinous war crimes U.S. forces have committed during the Iraq War—the rape of a fourteen-year-old Iraqi girl and the cold-blooded execution of her and her family. Three other 1st Platoon soldiers would be overrun at a remote outpost—one killed immediately and two taken from the scene, their mutilated corpses found days later booby-trapped with explosives.

Black Hearts is an unflinching account of the epic, tragic deployment of 1st Platoon. Drawing on hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews with Black Heart soldiers and first-hand reporting from the Triangle of Death, Black Hearts is a timeless story about men in combat and the fragility of character in the savage crucible of warfare. But it is also a timely warning of new dangers emerging in the way American soldiers are led on the battlefields of the twenty-first century.
New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice

The shocking story of the massacre of a group of Nepalese men working as Defense contractors for the United States Government during the Iraq War, and the widow who dedicated her life to finding justice for her husband and the other victims—a riveting tale of courageous heroes, corporate war profiteers, international business, exploitation, trafficking, and human rights in the age of global capitalism that reveals how modern power truly works.

In August of 2004, twelve men left their village in Nepal for jobs at a five-star luxury hotel in Amman, Jordan. They had no idea that they had actually been hired for sub-contract work on an American military base in Iraq. But fate took an even darker turn when the dozen men were kidnapped and murdered by Islamic extremists. Their gruesome deaths were captured in one of the first graphic execution videos disseminated on the web—the largest massacre of contractors during the war. Compounding the tragedy, their deaths received little notice.

Why were these men, from a remote country far removed from the war, in Iraq? How had they gotten there? Who were they working for? Consumed by these questions, award-winning investigative journalist Cam Simpson embarked on a journey to find answers, a decade-long odyssey that would uncover a web of evil spanning the globe—and trigger a chain of events involving one brave young widow, three indefatigable human rights lawyers, and a formidable multinational corporation with deep governmental ties.

A heart-rending, page-turning narrative that moves from the Himalayas to the Middle East to Houston and culminates in an epic court battle, The Girl from Kathmandu is a story of death and life—of the war in Iraq, the killings of the twelve Nepalese, a journalist determined to uncover the truth, and a trio of human rights lawyers dedicated to finding justice. At its heart is one unforgettable young woman, Kamala Magar, who found the courage to face the influential men who sent her husband to his death—a model of strength hope, bravery, and an unbreakable spirit who reminds us of the power we all have to make a difference.

Fiasco, Thomas E. Ricks’s #1 New York Times bestseller, transformed the political dialogue on the war in Iraq—The Gamble is the next news breaking installment

Thomas E. Ricks uses hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews with top officers in Iraq and extraordinary on-the-ground reportage to document the inside story of the Iraq War since late 2005 as only he can, examining the events that took place as the military was forced to reckon with itself, the surge was launched, and a very different war began.

Since early 2007 a new military order has directed American strategy. Some top U.S. officials now in Iraq actually opposed the 2003 invasion, and almost all are severely critical of how the war was fought from then through 2006. At the core of the story is General David Petraeus, a military intellectual who has gathered around him an unprecedented number of officers with both combat experience and Ph.D.s. Underscoring his new and unorthodox approach, three of his key advisers are quirky foreigners—an Australian infantryman-turned- anthropologist, an antimilitary British woman who is an expert in the Middle East, and a Mennonite-educated Palestinian pacifist.

The Gamble offers news-breaking account, revealing behind-the-scenes disagreements between top commanders. We learn that almost every single officer in the chain of command fought the surge. Many of Petraeus’s closest advisers went to Iraq extremely pessimistic, doubting that the surge would have any effect, and his own boss was so skeptical that he dispatched an admiral to Baghdad in the summer of 2007 to come up with a strategy to replace Petraeus’s. That same boss later flew to Iraq to try to talk Petraeus out of his planned congressional testimony. The Gamble examines the congressional hearings through the eyes of Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, and their views of the questions posed by the 2008 presidential candidates.

For Petraeus, prevailing in Iraq means extending the war. Thomas E. Ricks concludes that the war is likely to last another five to ten years—and that that outcome is a best case scenario. His stunning conclusion, stated in the last line of the book, is that “the events for which the Iraq war will be remembered by us and by the world have not yet happened.”
"Insurgents and terrorists retain the resources and capabilities to sustain and even increase current level of violence through the next year." This was the secret Pentagon assessment sent to the White House in May 2006. The forecast of a more violent 2007 in Iraq contradicted the repeated optimistic statements of President Bush, including one, two days earlier, when he said we were at a "turning point" that history would mark as the time "the forces of terror began their long retreat."

State of Denial examines how the Bush administration avoided telling the truth about Iraq to the public, to Congress, and often to themselves. Two days after the May report, the Pentagon told Congress, in a report required by law, that the "appeal and motivation for continued violent action will begin to wane in early 2007."

In this detailed inside story of a war-torn White House, Bob Woodward reveals how White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, with the indirect support of other high officials, tried for 18 months to get Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld replaced. The president and Vice President Cheney refused. At the beginning of Bush's second term, Stephen Hadley, who replaced Condoleezza Rice as national security adviser, gave the administration a "D minus" on implementing its policies. A SECRET report to the new Secretary of State Rice from her counselor stated that, nearly two years after the invasion, Iraq was a "failed state."

State of Denial reveals that at the urging of Vice President Cheney and Rumsfeld, the most frequent outside visitor and Iraq adviser to President Bush is former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who, haunted still by the loss in Vietnam, emerges as a hidden and potent voice.

Woodward reveals that the secretary of defense himself believes that the system of coordination among departments and agencies is broken, and in a SECRET May 1, 2006, memo, Rumsfeld stated, "the current system of government makes competence next to impossible."

State of Denial answers the core questions: What happened after the invasion of Iraq? Why? How does Bush make decisions and manage a war that he chose to define his presidency? And is there an achievable plan for victory?

Bob Woodward's third book on President Bush is a sweeping narrative -- from the first days George W. Bush thought seriously about running for president through the recruitment of his national security team, the war in Afghanistan, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the struggle for political survival in the second term.

After more than three decades of reporting on national security decision making -- including his two #1 national bestsellers on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush at War (2002) and Plan of Attack (2004) -- Woodward provides the fullest account, and explanation, of the road Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and the White House staff have walked.
Awarded the Navy Cross for gallantry under fire, Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Workman is one of the Marine Corps’ best-known contemporary combat veterans. In this searing and inspiring memoir, he tells an unforgettable story of his service overseas–and of the emotional wars that continue to rage long after our fighting men come home.

Raised in a tiny blue-collar town in Ohio, Jeremiah Workman was a handsome and athletic high achiever. Having excelled on the sporting field, he believed that the Marine Corps would be the perfect way to harness his physical and professional drives.

In the Iraqi city of Fallujah in December 2004, Workman faced the challenge that would change his life. He and his platoon were searching for hidden caches of weapons and mopping up die-hard insurgent cells when they came upon a building in which a team of fanatical insurgents had their fellow Marines trapped. Leading repeated assaults on that building, Workman killed more than twenty of the enemy in a ferocious firefight that left three of his own men dead.

But Workman’s most difficult fight lay ahead of him–in the battlefield of his mind. Burying his guilt about the deaths of his men, he returned stateside, where he was decorated for valor and then found himself assigned to the Marine base at Parris Island as a “Kill Hat”: a drill instructor with the least seniority and the most brutal responsibilities. He was instructed, only half in jest, to push his untested recruits to the brink of suicide. Haunted by the thought that he had failed his men overseas, Workman cracked, suffering a psychological breakdown in front of the men he was charged with leading and preparing for war.

In Shadow of the Sword, a memoir that brilliantly captures both wartime courage and its lifelong consequences, Workman candidly reveals the ordeal of post-traumatic stress disorder: the therapy and drug treatments that deadened his mind even as they eased his pain, the overwhelming stress that pushed his marriage to the brink, and the confrontations with anger and self-blame that he had internalized for years.

Having fought through the worst of his trials–and now the father of a young son–Workman has found not perfection or a panacea but a way to accommodate his traumas and to move forward toward hope, love, and reconciliation.
Includes 32 color photos taken by the author during the month he was embedded with the 82nd in Kuwait and Iraq.

This is a riveting account of the war in Iraq moving north with the 82nd Airborne. Units of the 82nd depart Kuwait and convoy to Iraq's Tallil Air Base en route to night-and-day battles within the major city of Samawah and its intact bridges across the Euphrates. Boots on the Ground quickly becomes an action-filled microcosm of the new kinds of ultramodern war fighting showcased in the overall battle for Iraq. At the same time it remains specific to the daily travails of the soldiers. Karl Zinsmeister, a frontline reporter who traveled with the 82nd, vividly conveys the careful planning and technical wizardry that go into today's warfare, even local firefights, and he brings to life the constant air-ground interactions that are the great innovation of modern precision combat.

What exactly does it feel like to travel with a spirited body of fighting men? To come under fire? To cope with the battlefield stresses of sleep-deprivation, and a steady diet of field rations for weeks on end? Readers of this day-to-day diary are left with not only a flashing sequence of strong mental images, but also a notion of the sounds and smells and physical sensations that make modern military action unforgettable.

Ultimately, Boots on the Ground is a human story: a moving portrayal of the powerful bonds of affection, trust, fear, and dedication that bind real soldiers involved in battle. There are unexpected elements: The humor that bubbles up amidst dangerous fighting. The pathos of a badly wounded young boy. The affection openly exhibited by many American soldiers--love of country, love of family and hometown, love of each other. This is a true-life tale of superbly trained men in extraordinary circumstances, packed with concrete detail, often surpassing fiction for sheer drama.
This instant New York Times bestseller—“a jaw-dropping, fast-paced account” (New York Post) recounts SEAL Team Operator Robert O’Neill’s incredible four-hundred-mission career, including the attempts to rescue “Lone Survivor” Marcus Luttrell and abducted-by-Somali-pirates Captain Richard Phillips, and which culminated in the death of the world’s most wanted terrorist—Osama bin Laden.

In The Operator, Robert O’Neill describes his idyllic childhood in Butte, Montana; his impulsive decision to join the SEALs; the arduous evaluation and training process; and the even tougher gauntlet he had to run to join the SEALs’ most elite unit. After officially becoming a SEAL, O’Neill would spend more than a decade in the most intense counterterror effort in US history. For extended periods, not a night passed without him and his small team recording multiple enemy kills—and though he was lucky enough to survive, several of the SEALs he’d trained with and fought beside never made it home.

“Impossible to put down…The Operator is unique, surprising, a kind of counternarrative, and certainly the other half of the story of one of the world’s most famous military operations…In the larger sense, this book is about…how to be human while in the very same moment dealing with death, destruction, combat” (Doug Stanton, New York Times bestselling author). O’Neill describes the nonstop action of his deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, evokes the black humor of years-long combat, brings to vivid life the lethal efficiency of the military’s most selective units, and reveals details of the most celebrated terrorist takedown in history. This is “a riveting, unvarnished, and wholly unforgettable portrait of America’s most storied commandos at war” (Joby Warrick).
BONUS: This edition contains excerpts from Bing West's No True Glory and The Strongest Tribe.

With unprecedented access and previously unreported detail, here is a first hand account of the 22-day march to Baghdad that takes you behind the scenes and to the front line...

No one reporting on the war in Iraq had the unique battlefield clearance afforded the authors of this dramatic eyewitness account. Unlike embedded journalists confined to a single unit, West and Smith acquired a captured yellow SUV and joined with whatever unit was leading the assault every day of the fight. The result is a report of what really happened from the heart of the action unlike anything you’ ll read anywhere else.

“While we will move swiftly and aggressively against those who resist, we will treat all others with decency, demonstrating chivalry and soldierly compassion for people who have endured a lifetime under Saddam’s oppression.”—Major General J.N. Mattis, 1st Marine Division, Commanding

Here is the story that can be told only by those who actually witnessed the action of the famed 1st Marine Division’ s march on Baghdad, from the shaky beginning of U.S. operations in southern Iraq to the capture of U.S. prisoners, the misreported “fierce Iraqi resistance,” and the aggressive assaults that led to a quick and decisive victory.

With over a half century of military and combat experience between them, bestselling author F. J. “Bing” West and Major General Ray L. Smith, USMC (Ret.), combine expert military analysis with dramatic battlefield reporting. They bring the reader on a march that ended in victory—but was shadowed by second-guessing, unexpected reversals, and the threat of catastrophe.


With access to three-star generals in the command centers and to privates in the field, the authors reveal how the strategic plan played out in battle, showing what went well and what failed, and detailing power struggles for military and political control never reported. The result is destined to become the definitive account of ground warfare in Iraq.
Now a Major Motion Picture Directed by American Sniper Writer Jason Hall and Starring Miles Teller

The wars of the past decade have been covered by brave and talented reporters, but none has reckoned with the psychology of these wars as intimately as the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Finkel. For The Good Soldiers, his bestselling account from the front lines of Baghdad, Finkel embedded with the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion during the infamous "surge," a grueling fifteen-month tour that changed them all forever. In Finkel's hands, readers can feel what these young men were experiencing, and his harrowing story instantly became a classic in the literature of modern war.
In Thank You for Your Service, Finkel has done something even more extraordinary. Once again, he has embedded with some of the men of the 2-16—but this time he has done it at home, here in the States, after their deployments have ended. He is with them in their most intimate, painful, and hopeful moments as they try to recover, and in doing so, he creates an indelible, essential portrait of what life after war is like—not just for these soldiers, but for their wives, widows, children, and friends, and for the professionals who are truly trying, and to a great degree failing, to undo the damage that has been done.
The story Finkel tells is mesmerizing, impossible to put down. With his unparalleled ability to report a story, he climbs into the hearts and minds of those he writes about. Thank You for Your Service is an act of understanding, and it offers a more complete picture than we have ever had of these two essential questions: When we ask young men and women to go to war, what are we asking of them? And when they return, what are we thanking them for?

One of Publishers Weekly's Best Nonfiction Books of 2013
One of The Washington Post's Top 10 Books of the Year
A New York Times Notable Book of 2013
An NPR Best Book of 2013
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2013
My Men Are My Heroes introduces its readers to a living standard of Marine Corps esprit de corps and military decorum. Sergeant Major Bradley Kasal, the pride of Iowa, is a small town boy who wanted to be a United States Marine even before a poster perfect Marine recruiter marched into his high school gym and offered him a challenge Kasal couldn’t resist. Two decades later Kasal stood stiffly at attention, one leg literally shot in half, while the Navy Cross was pinned to his chest. Kasal is currently the Sergeant Major of the Infantry School at Camp Pendleton, CA until he retires in May, 2012.

After a brief visit to his childhood Kasal’s story quickly gathers steam, introducing the reader to his early Marine career; adventure filled years that earned him the name “Robo-Grunt” from men who don’t offer accolades easily. Kasal uses his experience climbing the ranks to illustrate how Marines grow, and how they are shaped by the uncompromising attitudes of the officers and non-coms charged with turning young Marines into tigers.

Kasal’s adventures culminate in Iraq. By now he is 1st Sergeant Kasal, ramrodding Kilo Company, 3/1, a rifle company in 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, the mighty “Thunder Third” that would cover itself with glory in 2004. Two days into Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003 Kilo is ordered to hold open a critical road between two bridges that Saddam’s fierce Fedayeen Saddam were just as determined to take away. Kasal makes in his stand on that road, literally standing tall amidst fierce gunfire, demonstrating the kind of leadership Kilo Company needed to get the job done. Kilo’s fight was part of the first big test of Marine Corps combat capabilities in the second Iraqi War and the only major engagement the Marine Corps fought during the heady days of the “Drive Up” to Baghdad. When it was over the so-called “Ninjas” of the Fedayeen Saddam were smashed. A week later Kasal was in Baghdad, welcomed with open arms by the exuberant population.

A year later 3/1 was back to Iraq, in Anbar Province, the epicenter of the brutal war now raging in the former tribal stronghold of Saddam and his henchmen. The smiling faces that had greeted 3/1 the year before were gone. Kasal is the 1st Sergeant of Weapons Company, 3/1, the armored fist of a light infantry battalion. After four months of ambushes, IEDs, and deadly skirmishes 3/1 is ordered into Fallujah, to take the ancient city back from Al Qaeda and the foreign fighters who had turned the ancient “City of Mosques” into a fortress. It is there, in November, 2004 that the “Thundering Third” entered into Marine Corps legend and Kasal into the Pantheon of Heroes for his actions during the most savage battle the Marines fought in the Iraq War.

At a non-descript house in a walled neighborhood in Fallujah Kasal, at the time accompanying a squad of Kilo’s riflemen into a contested house, becomes involved in a close-quarter duel with fanatical Chechen fighters. The fight rages throughout the house, at times Marines and the foreign fighters were exchanging rifle fire and grenades at ranges of less than 10 feet. For almost two hours the squad is trapped inside the house. During the brawl Kasal is shot seven times, almost loses his leg when it is nearly severed from his body, and sustains 47shrapnel wounds when he used his body to shield a wounded Marine laying next to him from an enemy grenade. In the skirmish, forever known as the “Hell House” fight, Kasal was awarded the Navy Cross, the nation’s second highest award for heroism.
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