Packer is a very observant and astute journalist. The Assassin's gate will give you an excellent impression of the human experiences were like in Iraq and how strategic decisions affected them. Generally he is not partisan or bias.
I read the Taliban and liked it a lot. Descent into Chaos is very different. Rashid is only presenting his own viewpoint which he admits in the beginning. However, he is very simplistic in many of his views. He mischaracterizes the intellectual tradition of the neo-cons, says that central Asia is the birth place of terrorism, and says the US army is currently broken among other things.
A Savage War of Peace is an excellent account of the French in Algeria. The author provides us with excellent analysis while still maintaining a lack of bias. The lessons that can be drawn from this account are very relevant today for fighting insurgencies.
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