The Good War: Why We Couldn't Win the War or the Peace in Afghanistan


Product Details

Basic Books
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.3 X 1.6 inches | 0.01 pounds

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About the Author

A former foreign correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and the Washington Post, Jack Fairweather won the British Press Award for his reporting on the Iraq invasion and is the author of A War of Choice. Fairweather is currently a Middle East editor and correspondent for Bloomberg News, and he lives in Istanbul with his wife and two daughters.


Fairweather was confronted by big challenges in writing a study of so long a war with such a huge cast of characters and so many parallel plots. He has surmounted these obstacles with flair, and is a confident, credible navigator in leading the reader through a complicated war.... Fairweather gives his account in a fast-moving, factually detailed style, avoiding any attempt at needless description. His work is all the more powerful for this, yet there is no lack of either humour or poignancy.
"The Times" (UK)
[A] powerful history of the war.
"London Review of Books"
Thanks to reporters such as Jack Fairweather, we now know that this Afghan war has been and still is anything but good.... ["The Good War"] combines first-hand war reporting with shrewd analysis of the western conduct of the war.
"Financial Times"
Well-documented.... Fairweather quite effectively weaves tactical, local-level insights into broader, strategic themes and issues. He leaves the reader with a sense of the challenges encountered by successive attempts by non-Afghans to bring order to this long-troubled country. His is an easy style, making this exceedingly complex study more understandable.
"ARMY Magazine"
An excellent account. [Fairweather] writes with exceptional lucidity and punch.
"Sunday Times" (UK)
[Fairweather] has done an invaluable job. The book is very good to read, full of pace and drama. Anyone wanting to get to grips with Afghanistan today, the prime example of what strategists like to call a wicked problem, should start here. It s a brilliant introduction.
"London Evening Standard"
Jack Fairweather s sweeping account, "The Good War," is one of the first to look at the war as a whole.... His richly narrated history roams from the corridors of the White House to the poppy palaces of the country s opium warlords and the patrol bases of Sangin and Kandahar.... As the West looks at the chaos of Iraq and Syria and once more considers how to intervene, the sobering warnings of this riveting book are more relevant than ever.
"Daily Telegraph"
This smart, well-researched and well-written analysis explains how the world's most powerful leaders plotted to build a new kind of nation in Afghanistan that was pure fantasy.
J. Ford Huffman, "Military Times"
A fresh and needed analysis of the political miscalculations and lack of strategic vision in Washington, D.C., and other Western capitals regarding their grand experiment in Afghanistan. Fairweather synthesizes earlier writing with his original investigative work and private interviews to offer a unique and important chronicle of America's longest war in its history. An excellent chronicle of the most significant challenges and...a valuable reflection on the most important lessons learned.
"Foreign Policy"
[A] gripping and detailed narrative Fairweather breaks new ground with a number of assertions that challenge conventional wisdom.
"Publishers Weekly"
Recommended for all Americans who want to understand more than a dozen years of an American war in Afghanistan.... Fairweather offers a knowledgeable argument for a more careful and thoughtful response to a complex and dangerous world in which terrorists threaten the stability of many weak societies.
"Library Journal"
A thorough, elegant reassessment of America's 'irresistible illusion.'
"Kirkus Reviews"
There are some timely lessons to be learned from Middle East editor and Bloomberg News correspondent Jack Fairweather's well-told history of the Afghanistan war.
"Winnipeg Free Press"
A remarkable account of the longest shooting war in American history. "The Good War" is the kind of book one would not ordinarily expect to see for decades, encyclopedic in sweep and yet rich with colorful detail. Jack Fairweather writes with respect but often damning insight. He seems to have digested everything written about the war, and to have talked with every player, open and clandestine. This timely, absorbing narrative captures the essence of an infuriating place, illustrating once again a seemingly unlearnable lesson: There are strict limits to what can be accomplished by force.
Mark Bowden, author of "Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War"
It has been America s longest war, yet there is no real history of the conflict in Afghanistan. Now this war has finally found its chronicler. Jack Fairweather has reported deeply from the White House Situation Room to the deserts of Kandahar to tell a riveting story with an outsized cast of characters. It's a sweeping work of history written with great verve.
Peter Bergen, author of "Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad"
At last, an intrepid war reporter has woven together his insights from the battlefield, the unadorned views of grunts, and the political calculations of Washington to reveal the entire history of the war in Afghanistan. The result is a superb history, compassionate, comprehensive, and eminently readable. Like the best accounts of war, it shows how our aims going into a conflict are all too swiftly undercut by reality on the ground. Bravo Zulu!
Bing West, author of "The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq and One Million Steps: a Marine Platoon at War"
"The Good War" is a tour de force a riveting, clear-eyed account of the troubled US-led war in Afghanistan. Jack Fairweather has shown himself to be a narrative historian of the first order. For anyone seeking an honest appraisal of what went wrong and why, this book is a must-read.
Jon Lee Anderson, author of "The Lion s Grave: Dispatches from Afghanistan"