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Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq

by Thomas E. Ricks

Cutting through the headlines and spin, this is the first book to give us a true picture of the reality on the ground, through the words of the people there - from commanders to intelligence officers, army doctors to ordinary soldiers. Providing eye-witness accounts that contradict the official stories and figures, they give a chilling picture of the deceit, stupidity, wishful thinking, lack of forward planning and total intellectual failure of those behind the invasion. The result is an extraordinary new insight into the plight of ordinary soldiers doing nightmarish jobs, and the real nature of the fighting in Iraq.

Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003 to 2005

by Thomas E. Ricks

Finalist for the Pulitzer PrizeOne of the Washington Post Book World's 10 Best Books of the YearOne of Time's 10 Best Books of the YearUSA Today's Nonfiction Book of the YearA New York Times Notable BookThe definitive account of the American military's tragic experience in IraqFiasco is a masterful reckoning with the planning and execution of the American military invasion and occupation of Iraq through mid-2006, now with a postscript on recent developments. Ricks draws on the exclusive cooperation of an extraordinary number of American personnel, including more than one hundred senior officers, and access to more than 30,000 pages of official documents, many of them never before made public. Tragically, it is an undeniable account--explosive, shocking, and authoritative--of unsurpassed tactical success combined with unsurpassed strategic failure that indicts some of America's most powerful and honored civilian and military leaders.

The Gamble: General Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq

by Thomas E. Ricks

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."

The Generals

by Thomas E. Ricks

From the #1 bestselling author of Fiasco and The Gamble, an epic history of the decline of American military leadership from World War II to IraqHistory has been kind to the American generals of World War II--Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, and Bradley--and less kind to the generals of the wars that followed. In The Generals, Thomas E. Ricks sets out to explain why that is. In part it is the story of a widening gulf between performance and accountability. During the Second World War, scores of American generals were relieved of command simply for not being good enough. Today, as one American colonel said bitterly during the Iraq War, "As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war."In The Generals we meet great leaders and suspect ones, generals who rose to the occasion and those who failed themselves and their soldiers. Marshall and Eisenhower cast long shadows over this story, as does the less familiar Marine General O. P. Smith, whose fighting retreat from the Chinese onslaught into Korea in the winter of 1950 snatched a kind of victory from the jaws of annihilation.But Korea also showed the first signs of an army leadership culture that neither punished mediocrity nor particularly rewarded daring. In the Vietnam War, the problem grew worse until, finally, American military leadership bottomed out. The My Lai massacre, Ricks shows us, is the emblematic event of this dark chapter of our history. In the wake of Vietnam a battle for the soul of the U.S. Army was waged with impressive success. It became a transformed institution, reinvigorated from the bottom up. But if the body was highly toned, its head still suffered from familiar problems, resulting in tactically savvy but strategically obtuse leadership that would win battles but end wars badly from the first Iraq War of 1990 through to the present.Ricks has made a close study of America's military leaders for three decades, and in his hands this story resounds with larger meaning: about the transmission of values, about strategic thinking, and about the difference between an organization that learns and one that fails.

The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today

by Thomas E. Ricks

From the #1 bestselling author of Fiasco and The Gamble, an epic history of the decline of American military leadership from World War II to Iraq History has been kind to the American generals of World War II--Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, and Bradley--and less kind to the generals of the wars that followed. In The Generals, Thomas E. Ricks sets out to explain why that is. In part it is the story of a widening gulf between performance and accountability. During the Second World War, scores of American generals were relieved of command simply for not being good enough. Today, as one American colonel said bitterly during the Iraq War, "As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war. " In The Generals we meet great leaders and suspect ones, generals who rose to the occasion and those who failed themselves and their soldiers. Marshall and Eisenhower cast long shadows over this story, as does the less familiar Marine General O. P. Smith, whose fighting retreat from the Chinese onslaught into Korea in the winter of 1950 snatched a kind of victory from the jaws of annihilation. But Korea also showed the first signs of an army leadership culture that neither punished mediocrity nor particularly rewarded daring. In the Vietnam War, the problem grew worse until, finally, American military leadership bottomed out. The My Lai massacre, Ricks shows us, is the emblematic event of this dark chapter of our history. In the wake of Vietnam a battle for the soul of the U. S. Army was waged with impressive success. It became a transformed institution, reinvigorated from the bottom up. But if the body was highly toned, its head still suffered from familiar problems, resulting in tactically savvy but strategically obtuse leadership that would win battles but end wars badly from the first Iraq War of 1990 through to the present. Ricks has made a close study of America's military leaders for three decades, and in his hands this story resounds with larger meaning: about the transmission of values, about strategic thinking, and about the difference between an organization that learns and one that fails. .

Making the Corps: 61 Men Came to Parris Island to Become Marines

by Thomas E. Ricks

The United States Marine Corps, with its proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of American myth. Making the Corps visits the front lines of boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina. Here, old values are stripped away and new Marine Corps values are forged. Bestselling author Thomas E. Ricks follows these men from their hometowns, through boot camp and into their first year as Marines. As three fierce drill instructors fight a battle for the hearts and minds of this unforgettable group of young men, a larger picture emerges, brilliantly painted, of the growing gulf that divides the military from the rest of America. Included in this edition is an all-new afterword from the author that examines the war in Iraq through the lens of the Marines from Platoon 3086, giving readers an on-the-ground view of the conflict from those who know it best

A Soldier's Duty

by Thomas E. Ricks

Majors Cindy Sherman and Bud Lewis are the best young combat officers the army has, and they've both been tapped for plum positions as aides-de-camp for two of the Pentagon's most senior generals. The Pentagon is a cauldron of careerist jockeying and factional squabbling in the best of times, though, and these are not the best of times. A president whom the officer class widely loathes sits in the White House, and grumblings that he's steering the military onto the rocks are growing louder. Some officers are openly asking: If you believe the president is betraying his country, where does your duty lie? Just as Sherman and Lewis ease into their jobs -- and into a deepening romance -- a secret pressure group of military officers called the Sons of Liberty begins to carry out covert protests, symbolic at first, against White House policy. It is with shock that Lewis comes to suspect the group's leader is his own boss and hero, General B. Z. Ames, and that the man in the center of Ames's target is Sherman's boss, General John Shillingworth. As the White House keeps the army grinding through a miserable third-world brushfire war, the Sons of Liberty's activities grow more treasonous, and their efforts to avoid detection more ruthless, until Majors Sherman and Lewis find themselves in a vicious game with life-and-death stakes and the future of the American military hanging in the balance.

The Unraveling: An Update to The Gamble

by Thomas E. Ricks

In this timely supplement to his 2009 New York Times bestseller The Gamble, Thomas E. Ricks reveals how the Iraq war has changed and how the national conversation has shifted since the time of writing. This Penguin eSpecial offers new insights into the difficulties likely to confront the United States in Iraq in the coming year, from our most trusted expert on the conflict there.

War Dogs

by Thomas E. Ricks Rebecca Frankel

*A New York Times Best Seller*Under the cover of night, deep in the desert of Afghanistan, a US Army handler led a Special Forces patrol with his military working dog. Without warning an insurgent popped up, his weapon raised. At the handler's command, the dog charged their attacker. There was the flash of steel, the blur of fur, and the sound of a single shot; the handler watched his dog take a bullet. During the weeks it would take the dog to heal, the handler never left its side. The dog had saved his life. Loyal and courageous, dogs are truly man's best friend on the battlefield. While the soldiers may not always feel comfortable calling the bond they form love, the emotions involved are strong and complicated.In War Dogs, Rebecca Frankel offers a riveting mix of on-the-ground reporting, her own hands-on experiences in the military working dog world, and a look at the science of dogs' special abilities-from their amazing noses and powerful jaws to their enormous sensitivity to the emotions of their human companions. The history of dogs in the US military is long and rich, from the spirit-lifting mascots of the Civil War to the dogs still leading patrols hunting for IEDs today. Frankel not only interviewed handlers who deployed with dogs in wars from Vietnam to Iraq, but top military commanders, K-9 program managers, combat-trained therapists who brought dogs into war zones as part of a preemptive measure to stave off PTSD, and veterinary technicians stationed in Bagram. She makes a passionate case for maintaining a robust war-dog force. In a post-9/11 world rife with terrorist threats, nothing is more effective than a bomb-sniffing dog and his handler. With a compelling cast of humans and animals, this moving book is a must read for all dog lovers-military and otherwise.

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