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7 Remote Warehouse World History- Iraq War (2003- ?)
6 Remote Warehouse World History- General

Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq

by

Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq Cover

ISBN13: 9780143038917
ISBN10: 0143038915
All Product Details

 

Staff Pick

A book so timely, it should be required reading. Hardly a polemic, this detailed and well-researched book succinctly explains how we got into this war and how each touchpoint has been bungled along the way.
Recommended by Ted, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The definitive military chronicle of the Iraq war and a searing judgment on the strategic blindness with which America has conducted it, drawing on the accounts of senior military officers giving voice to their anger for the first time.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post senior Pentagon correspondant Thomas E. Ricks's Fiasco is a masterful and explosive reckoning with the planning and execution of the American military invasion and occupation of Iraq, based on the unprecedented candor of key participants.

The American military is a tightly sealed community, and few outsiders have reason to know that a great many senior officers view the Iraq war with incredulity and dismay. But many officers have shared their anger with renowned military reporter Thomas E. Ricks, and in Fiasco, Ricks combines these astonishing on-the-record military accounts with his own extraordinary on-the-ground reportage to create a spellbinding account of an epic disaster.

As many in the military publicly acknowledge here for the first time, the guerrilla insurgency that exploded several months after Saddam's fall was not foreordained. In fact, to a shocking degree, it was created by the folly of the war's architects. But the officers who did raise their voices against the miscalculations, shortsightedness, and general failure of the war effort were generally crushed, their careers often ended. A willful blindness gripped political and military leaders, and dissent was not tolerated.

There are a number of heroes in Fiasco — inspiring leaders from the highest levels of the Army and Marine hierarchies to the men and women whose skill and bravery led to battlefield success in towns from Fallujah to Tall Afar — but again and again, strategic incoherence rendered tactical success meaningless. There was never any question that the U.S. military would topple Saddam Hussein, but as Fiasco shows there was also never any real thought about what would come next. This blindness has ensured the Iraq war a place in history as nothing less than a fiasco. Fair, vivid, and devastating, Fiasco is a book whose tragic verdict feels definitive.

Review:

"The main points of this hard-hitting indictment of the Iraq war have been made before, but seldom with such compelling specificity. In dovetailing critiques of the civilian and military leadership, Washington Post Pentagon correspondent Ricks (Making the Corps) contends that, under Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Feith, the Pentagon concocted 'the worst war plan in American history,' with insufficient troops and no thought for the invasion's aftermath. Thus, an under-manned, unprepared U.S. military stood by as chaos and insurgency took root, then responded with heavy-handed tactics that brutalized and alienated Iraqis. Based on extensive interviews with American soldiers and officers as well as first-hand reportage, Ricks's detailed, unsparing account of the occupation paints a woeful panorama of reckless firepower, mass arrests, humiliating home invasions, hostage-taking and abuse of detainees. It holds individual commanders to account, from top generals Tommy Franks and Ricardo Sanchez on down. The author's conviction that a proper hearts-and-minds counter-insurgency strategy might have salvaged the debacle is perhaps naive, and pays too little heed to the intractable ethnic conflicts underlying what is by now a full-blown civil war. Still, Ricks's solid reporting, deep knowledge of the American military and willingness to name names make this perhaps the most complete, incisive analysis yet of the Iraq quagmire. Photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Hubris, the ancient Greeks taught, is followed by Nemesis; overbearing presumption always finds the goddess of divine retribution and vengeance baying at its heels. Washington is learning that painful lesson again today — and Iraqi civilians and American troops are paying the price for the pride that drove the United States to try to implant democracy on the cheap in the heart of the Arab world.

... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"[A]bsolutely essential reading for anyone interested in understanding how the United States came to go to war in Iraq, how a bungled occupation fed a ballooning insurgency and how these events will affect the future of the American military." Michiko Kakutani, the New York Times

Review:

"[An] extraordinarily well-sourced, highly-detailed portrait....Fiasco is for those who want a serious, on-the-ground picture of what's actually happened with the war." Christian Science Monitor

Review:

"Ricks has written an honest book that could help America move beyond the reflexive, red or blue coloring of the war and toward a more dispassionate discussion of the kind of Iraq we hope will emerge from today's near-anarchic state." Oregonian

Review:

"In his compelling and well-researched book, Thomas E. Ricks...painfully but clearly reveals an important truth about the Iraq debacle." Washington Post

Review:

"Fiasco is not a screed but a well-researched, strongly written account of the miscues that led from shock-and-awe to rampant sectarian strife." Los Angeles Times

Synopsis:

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 IIandmdash;Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, and Bradleyandmdash;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, andldquo;As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.andrdquo;

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 Americaandrsquo;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.

Synopsis:

Coming from The Penguin Press in February 2009, Thomas E. Ricks's The Gamble

Thomas E. Ricks 's #1 New York Times bestseller, Fiasco, transformed the political dialogue on the war in Iraq. Now Ricks has picked up where Fiasco left off-Iraq, late 2005. With more newsbreaking information, including hundreds of hours of interviews with top U.S. officials who were on the ground during the surge and beyond, The Gamble is the natural companion piece to Fiasco, and the two are sure to become the definitive examinations of what ultimately went wrong in Iraq.

About the Author

Thomas E. Ricks is The Washington Post's senior Pentagon correspondent, where he has covered the U.S. military since 2000. Until the end of 1999, he held the same beat at The Wall Street Journal, where he was a reporter for seventeen years. A member of two Pulitzer Prize-winning teams for national reporting, he has reported on U.S. military activities in Somalia, Haiti, Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Kuwait, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He is the author of Making the Corps and A Soldier's Duty.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

PROLOGUE: Captain William DePuy and the 90th Division in Normandy, summer 1944

PART I

WORLD WAR II

1. General George C. Marshall: The leader

2. Dwight Eisenhower: How the Marshall system worked

3. George Patton: The specialist

4. Mark Clark: The man in the middle

5. andldquo;Terrible Terryandrdquo; Allen: Conflict between Marshall and his protandeacute;gandeacute;s

6. Eisenhower manages Montgomery

7. Douglas MacArthur: The general as presidential aspirant

8. William Simpson: The Marshall system and the new model American general

PART II

THE KOREAN WAR

9. William Dean and Douglas MacArthur: Two generals self- destruct

10. Army generals fail at Chosin

11. O. P. Smith succeeds at Chosin

12. Ridgway turns the war around

13. MacArthurandrsquo;s last stand

14. The organization manandrsquo;s Army

PART III

THE VIETNAM WAR

15. Maxwell Taylor: Architect of defeat

16. William Westmoreland: The organization man in command

17. William DePuy: World War IIandndash; style generalship in Vietnam

18. The collapse of generalship in the 1960s

  • a. At the top
  • b. In the field
  • c. In personnel policy

19. Tet andrsquo;68: The end of Westmoreland and the turning point of the war

20. My Lai: General Kosterandrsquo;s cover-up and General Peersandrsquo;s investigation

21. The end of a war, the end of an Army

PART IV

INTERWAR

22. DePuyandrsquo;s great rebuilding

23. andldquo;How to teach judgmentandrdquo;

PART V

IRAQ AND THE HIDDEN COSTS OF REBUILDING

24. Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf, and the empty triumph of the 1991 war

25. The ground war: Schwarzkopf vs. Frederick Franks

26. The postandndash; Gulf War military

27. Tommy R. Franks: Two- time loser

28. Ricardo Sanchez: Over his head

29. George Casey: Trying but treading water

30. David Petraeus: An outlier moves in, then leaves

EPILOGUE: Restoring American military leadership

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

NOTES

INDEX

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

policydad, August 22, 2007 (view all comments by policydad)
This is an incredibly insightful book that details the numerous policy steps and missteps during the early (pre-"surge") U.S. activities in Iraq. It provides essential reading for understanding how and why good intentions have gone terribly awry. Now with its broad availability in paperback, FIASCO offers a cautionary tale on the contrast between abstract ideas and hard realities: "if wishes were horses, beggars would ride".
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(14 of 28 readers found this comment helpful)
cberglund, August 9, 2007 (view all comments by cberglund)
I think the Publisher's Weekly review is "spot on" including their comment about the author being a bit naive regarding his hoped for outcome(s). Clearly the indignities that were amassed upon this culture by our Military and the CPA, so vividly detailed in this book, will never be forgotten by a large group of Iraq citizens. With that kind of distrust I see no way that a continued US Military presence within the towns and cities of Iraq will add anything to a long term solution of impacting the insurgency. Even if it's absence means any greater chaos than exists today.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(12 of 23 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780143038917
Author:
Ricks, Thomas
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Author:
Ricks, Thomas E.
Subject:
Military - United States
Subject:
Middle East - General
Subject:
Military - Iraq War (2003-)
Subject:
Iraq War, 2003
Subject:
United States History, Military.
Subject:
World History-Iraq War (2003-?)
Subject:
Military - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20070831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
2 8-pp bandw inserts + maps
Pages:
512
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

» History and Social Science » Military » Gulf Wars
» History and Social Science » Military » Iraq War (2003-)
» History and Social Science » Military » Recent Military History
» History and Social Science » Military » US Military » General
» History and Social Science » World History » General

Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq New Trade Paper
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Product details 512 pages Penguin Books - English 9780143038917 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

A book so timely, it should be required reading. Hardly a polemic, this detailed and well-researched book succinctly explains how we got into this war and how each touchpoint has been bungled along the way.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The main points of this hard-hitting indictment of the Iraq war have been made before, but seldom with such compelling specificity. In dovetailing critiques of the civilian and military leadership, Washington Post Pentagon correspondent Ricks (Making the Corps) contends that, under Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Feith, the Pentagon concocted 'the worst war plan in American history,' with insufficient troops and no thought for the invasion's aftermath. Thus, an under-manned, unprepared U.S. military stood by as chaos and insurgency took root, then responded with heavy-handed tactics that brutalized and alienated Iraqis. Based on extensive interviews with American soldiers and officers as well as first-hand reportage, Ricks's detailed, unsparing account of the occupation paints a woeful panorama of reckless firepower, mass arrests, humiliating home invasions, hostage-taking and abuse of detainees. It holds individual commanders to account, from top generals Tommy Franks and Ricardo Sanchez on down. The author's conviction that a proper hearts-and-minds counter-insurgency strategy might have salvaged the debacle is perhaps naive, and pays too little heed to the intractable ethnic conflicts underlying what is by now a full-blown civil war. Still, Ricks's solid reporting, deep knowledge of the American military and willingness to name names make this perhaps the most complete, incisive analysis yet of the Iraq quagmire. Photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[A]bsolutely essential reading for anyone interested in understanding how the United States came to go to war in Iraq, how a bungled occupation fed a ballooning insurgency and how these events will affect the future of the American military."
"Review" by , "[An] extraordinarily well-sourced, highly-detailed portrait....Fiasco is for those who want a serious, on-the-ground picture of what's actually happened with the war."
"Review" by , "Ricks has written an honest book that could help America move beyond the reflexive, red or blue coloring of the war and toward a more dispassionate discussion of the kind of Iraq we hope will emerge from today's near-anarchic state."
"Review" by , "In his compelling and well-researched book, Thomas E. Ricks...painfully but clearly reveals an important truth about the Iraq debacle."
"Review" by , "Fiasco is not a screed but a well-researched, strongly written account of the miscues that led from shock-and-awe to rampant sectarian strife."
"Synopsis" by ,

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 IIandmdash;Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, and Bradleyandmdash;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, andldquo;As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.andrdquo;

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 Americaandrsquo;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.

"Synopsis" by ,
Coming from The Penguin Press in February 2009, Thomas E. Ricks's The Gamble

Thomas E. Ricks 's #1 New York Times bestseller, Fiasco, transformed the political dialogue on the war in Iraq. Now Ricks has picked up where Fiasco left off-Iraq, late 2005. With more newsbreaking information, including hundreds of hours of interviews with top U.S. officials who were on the ground during the surge and beyond, The Gamble is the natural companion piece to Fiasco, and the two are sure to become the definitive examinations of what ultimately went wrong in Iraq.

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