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Publisher's Summary

Informed by unparalleled access to still-secret documents, interviews with top field commanders, and a review of the military's own internal after-action reports, Cobra II is the definitive chronicle of America's invasion and occupation of Iraq, a conflict that could not be lost but one that the United States failed to win decisively. From the Pentagon to the White House to the American command centers in the field, the book reveals the inside story of how the war was actually planned and fought. Drawing on classified United States government intelligence, it also provides a unique account of how Saddam Hussein and his high command developed and prosecuted their war strategy.

Written by Michael R. Gordon, the chief military correspondent for The New York Times who spent the war with the Allied land command, and Bernard E. Trainor, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general and former director of the National Security Program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Cobra II traces the interactions among the generals, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and President George W. Bush. It dramatically reconstructs the principal battles from interviews with those who fought them, providing reliable accounts of the clashes waged by conventional and Special Operations forces. It documents with precision the failures of American intelligence and the mistakes in administering postwar Iraq.

Unimpeachably sourced, Cobra II describes how the American rush to Baghdad provided the opportunity for the virulent insurgency that followed. The brutal aftermath in Iraq was not inevitable and was a surprise to the generals on both sides; Cobra II provides the first authoritative account as to why. It is a book of enduring importance and incisive analysis, a comprehensive account of the most reported yet least understood war in American history.

©2006 Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor (P)2006 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"A superb account and analysis of what went right and what went wrong in the Gulf War. All of the inside stories of the people and the policies, the triumphs and the blunders, are here." (Jim Lehrer)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Graham
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 09-02-07

Informative military account of the War in Iraq

Cobra II is a comprehensive and elaborately detailed account of the planning, execution and aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Describing in detail meetings, teleconferences and phone calls between CENTCOM, The Pentagon and the White House, this book tells the story of how Donald Rumsfeld’s vision of a new type of warfare leads the war into the quagmire it is in today. The book is written from a military historians perspective and is replete with stories of soldiers bravado and courage. It is filled with interesting sources such as details about initial war planning meetings that were held in a trailer in the CENTCOM parking lot. The book explains the Bush Administration’s false expectations that there would be no need to engage in complex nation building and an extended conflict. After the invasion the Iraqi police, military and bureaucracy would remain intact. These false assumptions, based on bad intelligence, are the reason for the current situation in Iraq, according to the book. The narrator is clear and not dull but often adds a macho emphasis especially when describing weapons and attacks. This audio book is well worth the price.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robert
  • Fort Smith, AR, USA
  • 06-16-06

OUTSTANDING

This audio book is the finest in the area of Iraq.I study history and that's what this book is.This book is based on fact and is The best i have seen.If your interested in Iraq, this is the book you want.Best money I have spent on a book Period!!!!!

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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very interesting

outstanding narrator and interesting topic. appreciated the context provided by the author with the included epilog.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Informative overview of strategic failures

The cruxt of the pertinent information revealed in this book is contained within the prologue and epilogue, as is the case with many books. However, the body of the book tells the 'how it all happened' and, for the student of strategy, is probably well worth listening to, it's just dry and drawn out. But, so was the war.

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  • grimm79
  • Orange County, CA United States
  • 05-25-16

Makes a complex event easy to get into

The narration was very well done. Natural sounding emphases and stresses helped keep me engaged and enjoying the sometimes complex content. I very much appreciated the author's' reminders of some events and concepts; it helped maintain a sense of context while delving into the details.

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Really good read

As a vet of the early days of OIF, I am fascinated with the decision making behind the scenes, this book goes into great details of how politicians hamper the warfighter

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  • uriah1970
  • Crofton, MD United States
  • 11-08-15

A victory that was ultimately lost

If you could sum up Cobra II in three words, what would they be?

The lost victory.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The most compelling aspect of the narrative was the planning was wrong for conquering Iraq.

What aspect of Craig Wasson’s performance would you have changed?

Mr. Wasson read well.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The lost victory.

Any additional comments?

Gen. Anthony Clement McAuliffe was the commander of the 101st Airborne Div (Screaming Eagles). In the book on page 368, he was mistakenly put as the commander of the 82nd Airborne Div (All American). There may have been some other mistakes in the book, but that one stood out.If you are a supporter of the Bush Administration (I am), this book will sting. If you opposed the war in Iraq, there will be some justification. Just keep in mind, all of us who are serving or have served since the early 1970s are VOLUNTEERS. We could have avoided military service by simply not walking into the recruiting office and signing up.I believe that the war in Iraq was a war of choice. -OIF Vet March-July 2008

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    5 out of 5 stars

compelling

Compelling macro and micro view and telling of Rumsfeld's hubris as harbinger to failure in Iraq.