Hopeless But Optimistic: Journeying Through America's Endless War in Afghanistan


Product Details

$30.00  $27.60
Indiana University Press (Ips)
Publish Date
August 01, 2016
6.2 X 0.7 X 9.0 inches | 0.9 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Douglas A. Wissing is an award-winning journalist and author of eight books, including Funding the Enemy: How US Taxpayers Bankroll the Taliban and Pioneer in Tibet: The Life and Perils of Dr. Albert Shelton. He has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, CNN.com, Fox.com, Salon.com, and Time.com, among other publications.


"One of the state's most intrepid combat reporters, Wissing went to Afghanistan for a third time in 2013, expecting to watch the war wind down. Instead, he found a place still rife with conflict.... [Wissing] gives readers a view of both the perils and the many examples of money being wasted in a country where even something as seemingly benign as digging wells has devastating consequences."

--Indianapolis Monthly

"This is not a book that directly engages the theories and conceptions of twenty-first-century US military intervention, in its full-spectrum approach from counterinsurgency to development, in numerous working papers, articles, and monographs. It does not invoke 'hard power, ' 'soft power, ' or 'smart power.' But in this case, that is an asset. Sometimes the most effective response to all the proposals of what could or should be is the observation of what is."


"It's that kind of book. It reminds us of Peter Van Buren's We Meant Well book on Iraq."


"A scathing dispatch from an embedded journalist in Afghanistan.... Pungent, embittered, eye-opening observations of a conflict involving lessons still unlearned."

--Kirkus Reviews

"On page after page, as Wissing travels around the country, we are told how U.S. operatives continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over, leaving a trail of unfinished/sabotaged projects that have no value to the people of Afghanistan."

--OpEd News

"Wissing's moving and exceptionally well-written account makes sad reading... The book becomes a heart-breaking travelogue, accompanied by Wissing's own photos.... [but] however corrupt and misguided the war, however much damage it has done, Wissing says, 'I met American after American determined to make the world a better place.'"

--Bloom Magazine