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The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan | [Michael Hastings]

The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan

An explosive, behind-the-scenes look into the workings of the U.S. war in Afghanistan that lifts the curtain of the world stage to reveal the devastating greed, waste, and failure surrounding this unwinnable war.
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Publisher's Summary

In June 2010, Michael Hastings published an article in Rolling Stone that made headlines around the world: In “The Runaway General”, he reported on a week he spent in Europe with General Stanley McChrystal, the revered soldier in charge of the war in Afghanistan.

McChrystal and his staff's unguarded remarks about the White House, our allies, and the conduct of the war led President Obama to order McChrystal to the Oval Office, where he was fired unceremoniously. While Hastings' reporting won him a prestigious Polk award and led to two Pentagon investigations, there is much more to his story than the indiscretions of Stanley McChrystal.

In The Operators, Hastings, formerly the Baghdad bureau chief for Newsweek, takes the listener behind the diplomatic façades to paint a picture of nation-building gone awry. Hastings also takes us on patrol missions in Afghanistan, where he is embedded with American troops, and witnesses firsthand the madness, horror, and existential contradictions of Afghanistan.

The Operators combines the acute reportage of a Sebastian Junger with the mad energy of a Michael Herr - it is the painful, powerful tale of a war that can never and will never be won.

©2012 Michael Hastings (P)2012 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"An impressive feat of journalism by a Washington outsider who seemed to know more about what was going on in Washington than most insiders did." (Frank Rich, The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (131 )
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4.1 (116 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Professor United States 01-04-13
    Professor United States 01-04-13

    1*=I didn't like it..... 2*=It was OK...... 3*=It was good but I will never read it again.......... 4*=Maybe I will read it again in the future.............. 5*=I will definitely read it again(maybe more than once)

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    "VERY INTERESTING STORY"

    Somehow all the news and articles passed without touching me, so when I began this book all the facts were totally new to me.

    I have to say that I'm at a loss for words, I'm not sure what I think about all of this, but I have no doubt that everybody should read it.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bookworm New York, NY 12-20-12
    Bookworm New York, NY 12-20-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Bring our Troops Home"

    The book is about the author's investigation into writing a Rolling Stone article (June 2010) on Gen. Stanley McChrystal who was in charge of the war in Afghanistan as well as the fallout after publication of the article.

    Now that I have finished the book, I'm dying to read the RS article. The author never realized what a sh*tstorm the article would create - and it did.


    The middle part of the book is a little boring but stick with it. The end where the sh*t hits the fan and the fallout at the White House is fantastic.

    The story is also interesting knowing about Gen Petraeus' recent scandal in Florida.

    The sad part about the book is that you realize we have no business in the war. We aren't winning, they don't want us there, they don't even want democracy and our soldiers are risking the lives for nothing. It's time to bring our troops home.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Behzad manassas, VA, United States 05-22-12
    Behzad manassas, VA, United States 05-22-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Wonderful"

    Very Well Written and Equally well Read. Congratulations, Michael for creating such in depth and unbiased portrait of Generals who fought the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. Jonathan Newman Guelph, Ontario Canada 01-31-12
    Dr. Jonathan Newman Guelph, Ontario Canada 01-31-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Part history, part biography, totally enjoyable"

    This book was very entertaining and enlightening. Like many Americans, I have followed the wars through the new for the last 10+ years. I was aware of many of the actual historical events that are backdrops to this story. What I really liked was getting a glimpse behind the headlines, and seeing how the 'operators' that caused the events, and why.

    The book is not, and does not try to be, comprehensive. Nevertheless, there is enough there to provide a pretty good review. It certainly made me want to read other books that provide a critical synthesis of the wars and politics.

    I enjoyed the whole book, but it did sag a little toward the end. Even that was interesting, but not as good as the first 4/5ths or so. Still, I highly recommend this book.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Miller Arlington, VA 02-25-13
    M. Miller Arlington, VA 02-25-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Couldn't stop listening!"

    The narration of this book was exciting and easy to listen to. It was as though the author were sitting next to me telling a really good war story.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie APPLE VALLEY, CA, United States 02-17-14
    Julie APPLE VALLEY, CA, United States 02-17-14 Member Since 2013
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    "A rare glimpse into the inner circle ."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely !


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hastings and McChrystal both. Their fateful time together reveals a lot about both men and gives us a look into the inner circle of military power.


    Which character – as performed by Lloyd James – was your favorite?

    Both men are intriguing for totally different reasons, but its performed very well.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    It’s a very polarizing book and it has and will continue to anger folks and have others scratching their heads in disbelief . It's a crazy rock n' roll ride that shows some of the madness of our modern warfare . A great piece of literature .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerald SPARTA, NJ, United States 02-25-12
    Gerald SPARTA, NJ, United States 02-25-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Yaaaaaaawn"
    Would you try another book from Michael Hastings and/or Lloyd James?

    No way.


    What was most disappointing about Michael Hastings’s story?

    It is basically a rambling group of what I hesitate to call


    What didn’t you like about Lloyd James’s performance?

    It droned on and was too matter-of-fact with no passion. Actually, forget about passion, it had no feeling at all.


    What character would you cut from The Operators?

    The Author!


    Any additional comments?

    Does Audible give refunds? :-)

    5 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keith North Little Rock, AR, United States 02-26-12
    Keith North Little Rock, AR, United States 02-26-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Save your money"
    What would have made The Operators better?

    A better author


    Would you be willing to try another book from Michael Hastings? Why or why not?

    Hell no. He will never be confused with Max Hastings. He should be writing articles for Vanity Fair.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Get an author to write a military related book who isn't an anti-war liberal trying to create a career.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    For me, none what so ever.


    5 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Milwaukee, WI, United States 03-05-12
    Christopher Milwaukee, WI, United States 03-05-12
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    "An author with an agenda."
    This book wasn???t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    It was clear to me 15 mins into this book, the author hates the military.It's Rumsfelds' fault, it's Bushs' fault, it's John McCains' fault. The authors description of General McCystals' uniform and awards and comindations.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Michael Hastings again?

    no


    How could the performance have been better?

    Performance was fine, material was bad.


    You didn???t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yea, never to buy another Micheal Hastings book again.


    Any additional comments?

    It was a waste or time and money.

    7 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Neil skaneateles, NY, United States 03-02-12
    Neil skaneateles, NY, United States 03-02-12
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    "You can't get in trouble if you don't say it"
    Would you listen to The Operators again? Why?

    No...too depressing.


    Any additional comments?

    We never should have invaded Iraq. This story...proves we never EVER should have invaded Afghanistan either. What a mess...what...a...mess. Those poor families who lost loved ones to this stupid conflict that had nothing to do with what happened on 9/11. Sad...really sad.

    4 of 11 people found this review helpful
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