Listen free for 30 days

  • Blood, Metal and Dust

  • How Victory Turned into Defeat in Afghanistan and Iraq
  • By: Ben Barry
  • Narrated by: Christopher Ragland
  • Length: 21 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Middle East
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (30 ratings)

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £24.99

Buy Now for £24.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

Bloomsbury presents Blood, Metal and Dust by Ben Barry, read by Christopher Ragland.

From the high-ranking officer who wrote the still-classified British military analysis of the war in Iraq comes the authoritative history of two conflicts which have overshadowed the beginning of the 21st century. Inextricably linked to the ongoing ‘War on Terror’, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dominated more than a decade of international politics and their influence is felt to this day.

Blood, Metal and Dust is the first military history to offer a comprehensive overview of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, providing in-depth accounts of the operations undertaken by both US and UK forces. Brigadier Ben Barry explores the wars which shaped the modern Middle East, providing a detailed narrative of operations as they unfolded. With unparalleled access to official military accounts and extensive contacts in both the UK and the US militaries, Brigadier Barry is uniquely placed to tell the story of these controversial conflicts and offers a rounded account of the international campaigns which irrevocably changed the global geopolitical landscape.

©2020 Ben Barry (P)2020 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic reviews

"At one level Blood, Metal and Dust is a clear, dispassionate and succinct military history of the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it is much more important than that. As the US and UK turn their backs too quickly on both wars, they are in danger of disregarding the lessons and so failing to profit from their experiences. This book puts that right. Ben Barry is forthright in his criticisms and depressingly correct in his conclusions. Blood, Metal and Dust is essential reading." (Sir Hew Strachan FBA FRSE, professor of international relations at the University of St Andrews and former Chichele professor of the history of war at All Souls College, Oxford)

"With a soldier’s eye for telling operational details, Ben Barry offers an authoritative, compelling and inevitably bleak account of the American and British campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan." (Sir Lawrence Freedman, emeritus professor of war studies, King’s College London)

"Blood, Metal and Dust is a seminal work that exploits newly available archival material to produce a riveting account of the allies’ wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Armed with a keen scholarly eye and long military experience, Ben Barry dissects key decision points and pitched battles ranging from Tora Bora, Operation Medusa and Wanat in Afghanistan to the US Marines’ Anbar campaign, Operation Viking Hammer in Kurdistan, and the Sadr City battle of 2008. His unsparing judgements should inform future war planning, making this book required reading for the policymaker and the practitioner alike." (Linda Robinson, senior international/defense researcher, RAND Corporation and author of Tell Me How This Ends)

More from the same

What listeners say about Blood, Metal and Dust

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    23
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    21
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • TS
  • 21-12-21

Excellent book, poor narration.

This is an excellent account of the Iraq and Afghan wars with a brilliant preamble which puts the two conflicts into a geopolitical context. It is great to hear an assessment of the wars that mentions the UK, AUS, FRA, GER etc activities rather than just labelling everything "The US and it's allies". The UK Ops in Basra chapters are especially enlightening. If nothing else it gives a great historical account at the operational level of the two wars and how they unfolded.

Sadly, it is let down by the narration. Why an American was selected to read this book written by an Ex British Army Officer escapes me. He consistently miss-pronounces words such as 'co-located' and Helmand place names that are well known to the British. His pronouncing of 'Kosovo' and 'Afghanistan' is also very irritating. He should be narrating Pixar film trailers about talking animals rather than strategic assessments of modern conflicts. He made it difficult for me listen to the book for long periods of time. Despite this I would still recommend this book.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An excellent listen

This book covers all the bases, it exposes just how and why we lost both Iraq and Afghanistan, this book doesn't pull any punches! I was shocked at just how badly we got it wrong! Recommended!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Analysis

Well articulated analysis of both the military and political events and their impact on the timeline of events. An excellent read that should be compulsory reading in military colleges and by politicians that aspire to be able to provide leadership to provide the context in which the military has to operate.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting but……

This should be an interesting book but I am struggling with it. It doesn’t flow and there are a number of repetitions, it sort of feels like someone reading a report that doesn’t go into depth. An example is a chapter called S.O.F but it then doesn’t seem to go into any great detail about special operations. Maybe it’s just me.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A thorough Analysis of Iraq & Afghanistan Wars

Really clear insight and thorough analysis and evaluation of why we lossed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The book explains the successes and failures of Our COIN strategy in both wars and lessons learnt for future wars. Really informative and ideal for historians, military officers, politicians, diplomats alike.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for philip
  • philip
  • 09-04-21

Outstanding Analysis of Strategic Failure

Excellent review of the twin disasters of America’s 21st century foreign policy. Berry states clearly and forcefully that the decision to invade Iraq was the greatest foreign policy of the 21st century. I don’t believe he says so but I also believe that the decision to overthrow the Taliban was also a mistake. We should have wiped out Al Qaeda and declared victory. Instead we farmed out the capture of Al Qaeda to the Northern Alliance and waged war on the Taliban. We succeeded in overthrowing the Taliban but failed to defeat the group that actually attacked us. That left us with two nations to rebuild.

The final chapter is must reading for anybody looking for a detailed and point by point analysis of what went right and wrong with a great explanation for why. I don’t recommend skipping the rest of the book but I do suggest that one pay special attention to Berry’s conclusions.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jack D Kendall
  • Jack D Kendall
  • 27-02-21

Extensively researched and highly detailed

If you're interested in the history of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, this is the definitive account.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Patrick
  • Patrick
  • 21-01-22

Excellent

Two stories told well. Hindsight makes it so much easier to identify mistakes but still was sad to listen to AND this was completed BEFORE our disastrous withdrawal.