In 1991, the United States Army trounced the Iraqi army in battle, only to stumble blindly into postwar turmoil. Then, in 2003, the United States did it again. How could this happen? How could the strongest power in modern history fight two wars against the same opponent in just over a decade, win lightning victories both times, and yet still be woefully unprepared for the aftermath?
Because Americans always forget the political aspects of war.
Time and again, argues Gideon Rose in this penetrating look at American wars over the last century, our leaders have focused more on beating up the enemy than on creating a stable postwar environment. What happened in Iraq was only the most prominent example of this phenomenon, not an exception to the rule. Woodrow Wilson fought a war to make the world safe for democracy but never asked himself what democracy actually meant and then dithered as Germany slipped into chaos. Franklin Roosevelt resolved not to repeat Wilson's mistakes but never considered what would happen to his own elaborate postwar arrangements should America's wartime marriage of convenience with Stalin break up after the shooting stopped. The Truman administration casually established voluntary prisoner repatriation as a key American war aim in Korea without exploring whether it would block an armistice - which it did for almost a year and a half. The Kennedy and Johnson administrations dug themselves deeper and deeper into Vietnam without any plans for how to get out.
Drawing on vast research, including extensive interviews with participants in recent wars, Rose re-creates the choices that presidents and their advisers have confronted during the final stages of each major conflict from World War I through Iraq. He puts listeners in the room with U.S. officials as they make decisions that affect millions of lives and shape the modern world - seeing what they saw, hearing what they heard, feeling what they felt.
©2010 Gideon Rose (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
This is one book that will give "ah ha" moments, but there are some "oh my gosh" moments here too. Each chapter is a stand alone discussion of a particular conflict and how it was resolved. A high point for me was the revealing section on WWII in the Pacific. This book lends value to the reader because it looks solely at how particular encounters were ended and what motivated the end. There are a lot of insights to be gained from this approach and analysis. This is, above all, a thoughtful volume - well written, informative, and professional read by the author himself.
A great analysis of a complex subject and the flow of the information makes it very suitable to an audio-book format
"Good but not great"
Stopped listening about half way through to finish some other audible books. But after I finished those then I went back to listening to this one. The book skips around, first it discusses Iraq signing the surrender documents after the first Gulf war but then it starts from the beginning of the build up. Does that for other events as well.
"Great book, terrible naration"
Yes, it covers very important topics and is an excellent book.
Anyone, Gideon Rose is a smart guy, but somehow he totally managed to mispronounce things like Bin Laden, etc. It is unbelievable. I thought the book was read by someone else, but sure enough it is not. I don't understand how it cane be so bad.
"Interesting info but boring narrative"
Any military history fan will enjoy the content.
No. The narration is too monotone. Very boring way to read a book.
I don't know many readers but anyone who can do presidential impressions and change the tone of the speakers in the book would be way better.
I just found out I can listen to samples. Would have avoided this book if I recognized that ahead of time.
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