Synopses & Reviews
In this landmark book, Robert D. Kaplan, veteran correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and author of Balkan Ghosts, shows how American imperialism and the Global War on Terrorism are implemented on the ground, mission by mission, in the most exotic landscapes around the world.
Given unprecedented access, Kaplan takes us from the jungles of the southern Philippines to the glacial dust bowls of Mongolia, from the forts of Afghanistan to the forests of South America–not to mention Iraq–to show us Army Special Forces, Marines, and other uniformed Americans carrying out the many facets of U.S. foreign policy: negotiating with tribal factions, storming terrorist redoubts, performing humanitarian missions and training foreign soldiers.
In Imperial Grunts, Kaplan provides an unforgettable insider’s account not only of our current involvement in world affairs, but also of where America, including the culture of its officers and enlisted men, is headed. This is the rare book that has the potential to change the way readers view the men and women of the military, war, and the global reach of American imperialism today.
As Kaplan writes, the only way to understand America’s military is “on foot, or in a Humvee, with the troops themselves, for even as elites in New York and Washington debated imperialism in grand, historical terms, individual marines, soldiers, airmen, and sailors–all the cultural repositories of America’s unique experience with freedom–were interpreting policy on their own, on the ground, in dozens upon dozens of countries every week, oblivious to such faraway discussions. . . . It was their stories I wanted to tell: from the ground up, at the point of contact.”
Never before has America’s overarching military strategy been parsed so incisively and evocatively. Kaplan introduces us to lone American servicemen whose presence in obscure countries is largely unknown, and concludes with a heart-stopping portrait of marines in the first battle in Fallujah. Extraordinary in its scope, beautifully written, Imperial Grunts, the first of two volumes, combines first-rate reporting with the sensitivity and insights of an acclaimed writer steeped in history, literature, and philosophy, to deliver a masterly account of America’s global role in the twenty-first century.
• Imperial Grunts paints a vivid picture of how defense policy is implemented at the grassroots level.
• Kaplan travels throughout the world where U.S. forces are located. This is not just a book about Iraq or Afghanistan.
• Rather than debate imperialism, Kaplan relies on a keen understanding of history, philosophy, and in-the-field reporting to show how it actually works on the ground.
• Imperial Grunts escapes Washington and shows us what it’s like to live with the grunts day to day.
Praise for Imperial Grunts
“One of the most important books of the last several years. Robert Kaplan uses his prodigious energy and matchless reporting skills to takes us on to the front lines with the new warrior-diplomats who use weapons, imagination, and personal passion to protect and advance the interests of the United States. This is a generation every American should come to know.”
“Robert Kaplan has brilliantly captured the story of today’s U.S. military operating in far-flung places on strange missions. Imperial Grunts is the most insightful and superbly written account of soldiering in the New World Disorder to date. It is a must read for all Americans.”
–General Anthony C. Zinni, United States Marine Corps (Ret.)
“Kaplan infuses us with a sense of hope about the future. Through astonishing observations, truths, and stories, Imperial Grunts introduces a brand-new way of thinking about the enduring virtue of the American spirit.”
–George Crile, author of Charlie Wilson’s War
“No recent book so well or so vividly portrays the challenges of the modern United States military. With an impressive grasp of the complexities of military missions worldwide, Robert Kaplan exposes the reader to the world of the modern soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine. A must read for both civilian and military leaders.”
–General Barry R. McCaffrey, United States Army (Ret.), Bradley Distinguished Professor of International Security Studies, United States Military Academy
“Imperial Grunts is vintage Robert Kaplan, combining a deep appreciation of history and wonderfully vivid writing with an infectious wanderlust.”
–Max Boot, Senior Fellow, National Security Studies, the Council on Foreign Relations, author of The Savage Wars of Peace
“Splendid! This is the finest work in print about today’s American fighting men and the challenges they face around the globe. Kaplan’s courage in researching this book under combat conditions is complemented by his integrity and great literary skill. Imperial Grunts simply could not be better.”
–Ralph Peters, author of Beyond Baghdad
From the Hardcover edition.
"[Mead] has clearly immersed himself in the subject and written the definitive account of gaming in the U.S. military." --Slate and#160; "A surprisingly profound little book about the rise of the 'military-entertainment complex' in the wake of Americaand#8217;s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq... Mead's approach is straightforward and no-nonsense. Readers will learn something they didnand#8217;t realize it was important to know." --Kirkus Reviews and#160; "Meadand#8217;s account is insightful, and though heand#8217;s hopeful that military innovations will continue to benefit more humanitarian fields (such as medicine), he also recognizes its potential repercussions, as evidenced by a prescient closing image..." --Publishers Weekly
A fascinating, unprecedented first-hand look at the soldiers on the front lines on the Global War on Terror. Plunging deep into midst of some of the hottest conflicts on the globe, Robert D. Kaplan takes us through mud and jungle, desert and dirt to the men and women on the ground who are leading the charge against threats to American security. These soldiers, fighting in thick Colombian jungles or on dusty Afghani plains, are the forefront of the new American foreign policy, a policy being implemented one soldier at a time. As Kaplan brings us inside their thoughts, feelings, and operations, these modern grunts provide insight and understanding into the War on Terror, bringing the war, which sometimes seems so distant, vividly to life.
A veteran correspondent for "The Atlantic" explores how American imperialism is pursued and how the global war on terrorism is fought worldwide by America's elite military forces.
An expert on military innovation reveals how video games are revolutionizing warfare from the battlefield to the highest echelons of the Pentagon.
A behind-the-scenes look at how the military uses video game technology to train soldiers, treat veterans, and entice new recruits
How does the U.S. military train its soldiers for new forms of armed conflict, all within the constraints of diminished defense budgets? Increasingly, the answer is cutting-edge video game technology. Corey Mead shows us training sessions where soldiers undertake multiplayer andldquo;missionsandrdquo; that test combat skills, develop unit cohesion, and teach cultural awareness. He immerses himself in 3-D battle simulations so convincing that they leave his heart racing. And he shows how the military, which has shaped American education more than any other force over the last century, fuels the adoption of games as learning toolsandmdash;and recruitment come-ons. Mead also details how the military uses games to prepare soldiers for their return to the home front and to treat PTSD.
Military-funded researchers were closely involved with the computing advances that led to the invention of the Internet. Now, as Mead proves, we are poised at the brink of a similar explosion in game technology. War Play reveals that many of tomorrowandrsquo;s teaching tools, therapies, and entertainments can be found in todayandrsquo;s military.
About the Author
Robert D. Kaplan
is chief geopolitical analyst for Stratfor, a private global intelligence firm, and the author of fourteen books on foreign affairs and travel translated into many languages, including The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate; Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power; Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History;
and Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos
. He has been a foreign correspondent for The Atlantic
for more than a quarter-century. In 2011 and 2012, Foreign Policy
magazine named Kaplan among the world’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers.”
From 2009 to 2011, he served under Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as a member of the Defense Policy Board. Since 2008, he has been a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington. From 2006 to 2008, he was the Class of 1960 Distinguished Visiting Professor in National Security at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis.
Table of Contents
1.and#160;The Rise of the Military-Entertainment Complexand#8195;and#8195;11
2.and#160;Building the Classroom Arsenal: The Militaryand#8217;s Influence on American Educationand#8195;and#8195;34
3.and#160;and#8220;Everybody Must Thinkand#8221;: The Militaryand#8217;sand#160;Post-9/11 Turn to Video Gamesand#8195;and#8195;50
4.and#160;Americaand#8217;s Army: The Gameand#8195;and#8195;72
5.and#160;All but War Is Simulationand#8195;and#8195;103
6.and#160;WILL Interactive and the Militaryand#8217;s Serious Gamesand#8195;and#8195;115
7.and#160;The Aftermath: Medical Virtual Reality and the Treatment of Traumaand#8195;and#8195;129
8.and#160;Conclusion: Americaand#8217;s Army Invades Our Classroomsand#8195;and#8195;154