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No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujahby Bing West
Synopses & Reviews
Fallujah: Iraq's most dangerous city unexpectedly emerged as the major battleground of the Iraqi insurgency. For twenty months, one American battalion after another tried to quell the violence, culminating in a bloody, full-scale assault. Victory came at a terrible price: 151 Americans and thousands of Iraqis were left dead.
The epic battle for Fallujah revealed the startling connections between policy and combat that are a part of the new reality of war.
The Marines had planned to slip into Fallujah "as soft as fog". But after four American contractors were brutally murdered, President Bush ordered an attack on the city — against the advice of the Marines. The assault sparked a political firestorm, and the Marines were forced to withdraw amid controversy and confusion — only to be ordered a second time to take a city that had become an inferno of hate and the lair of the archterrorist al-Zarqawi.
Based on months spent with the battalions in Fallujah and hundreds of interviews at every level — senior policymakers, negotiators, generals, and soldiers and Marines on the front lines — No True Glory is a testament to the bravery of the American soldier and a cautionary tale about the complex — and often costly — interconnected roles of policy, politics, and battle in the twenty-first century.
"This is the face of war as only those who have fought it can describe it." Senator John McCain
"No True Glory is the gripping account of the valor of the Marines in the fiercest urban combat since Hue. Yet, the even-handed description of the vacillation regarding policy will likely please neither some of our senior officers nor the White House." Former Secretary of Defense, James R. Schlesinger
"No True Glory is the best book on the U.S. military in Iraq to emerge so far." Tom Ricks of The Washington Post
"The finest chronicle of the strategy behind battle and the fighting during battle that I've ever read!" General Carl E. Mundy, former Commandant of the Marine Corps
"A remarkably detailed, vivid firsthand account of the American military experience." Booklist
"West describes the fury of the fighting in Fallujah and Ramadi in a style that makes him part historian, part novelist." LA Times Book Review
"West successfully brings the war back home in all its agonizing and illuminating detail. From the combat stories of those on the ground all the way up to the White House, West [is] uniquely placed to write a chronicle of the fight." The Christian Science Monitor
“There is no glory in battle worth the blood it costs.”
——General Dwight D. Eisenhower
For months author F. J. “Bing” West lived among the Marines who besieged the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, and interviewed members of the three US Army units that fought in that factious city before the Marines arrived. With access from frontline personnel to senior policymakers and negotiators, West’s astonishing account takes us into strategy discussions between generals, on tense night patrols, and into fighting from rooftop to rooftop to tell the story that hasn’t been told in the press or on the nightly news.
The Marines originally planned to slip into Fallujah “as soft as fog.” But in March 2004, after a mob killing and mutilating four American contractors was recorded in images that horrified the world, the Marines attacked. West recounts the ferocious street battles that followed, the stiff resistance and shocking violence that caught many in our military and government off guard, and the sweeping US counterattack that outraged the Arab world.
We go behind the scenes to the intense negotiations to persuade Iraqis to take charge and hunt down terrorists like al-Zarqawi, who were using the city as a sanctuary–negotiations whose ramifications will impact Iraq for years to come. But the real focus is upon the heroic, everyday efforts of the American fighting soldier and Marine confronting the key paradox of the war: that the Iraqis both wanted and didn’t want Americans in their country.
No True Glory is a firsthand account of the gritty fighting, political maneuvering, and ongoing struggle in this crucial city–a microcosm of the confused and frustrating Iraqi war.
Here, in this singular book, is the unprecedented frontline look at the struggle in Iraq to replace American soldiers with Iraqis in the face of continued resistance. What unfolds is a vivid portrait from a veteran author who is in the line of fire right now. Award-winning author Bing West is living now and throughout fall 2004 with the Marines who besieged the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah. Granted exclusive access to frontline personnel and back-office operatives, West's astonishingly current account will bring the reader into strategy discussions between generals, then onto tense night patrols and into factious town meetings. The Marines had initially planned to slip into Fallujah as soft as fog. But in March 2004, after a mob hung the bodies of two American contractors from the town bridge, the Marines attacked. When the intense street battles provoked outrage in the Arab world, Iraqi and American officials responded by demanding a negotiated end to the attack--a negotiation that will have ramifications through the next few years. No True Glory is the only firsthand account of the gritty fighting, the political maneuvering, and the ongoing struggle to establish peace and security in this city--a microcosm of the challenge throughout the country; it will stand as the classic case study of the confused and frustrating Iraqi war.
About the Author
Bing West is the author of several books, including the award-winning The March Up: Taking Baghdad with the United States Marines and the Vietnam classic The Village. He served as a Marine in Vietnam and was assistant secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan. He lives in Rhode Island. Visit his website at www.westwrite.com.
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