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Publisher's Summary

Based on previously unavailable documents and interviews with more than 100 key players, including General David Petraeus, The Insurgents unfolds against the backdrop of two wars waged against insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the main insurgency is the one led at home by a new generation of officers - including Petraeus, John Nagl, David Kilcullen, and H. R. McMaster - who were seized with an idea on how to fight these kinds of "small wars" and who adapted their enemies' techniques to overhaul their own army.

Fred Kaplan explains where their idea came from and how the men and women who latched onto this idea created a community (some would refer to themselves as a "cabal") and maneuvered the idea through the highest echelons of power. This is a cautionary tale about how creative ideas can harden into dogma, how smart strategists - "the best and the brightest" of today - can win bureaucratic battles but still lose the wars. The Insurgents made the U.S. military more adaptive to the conflicts of the post-Cold War era, but their self-confidence led us deeper into wars we shouldn't have fought and couldn't help but lose.

©2013 Fred Kaplan (P)2013 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A fascinating and powerful work by America's wisest national-security reporter about an epic battle.... If you love your country, if you care about its soldiers, if you wonder about the wisdom of their commanders, read this book now." (Tim Weiner, author of Legacy of Ashes)

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How to fight a war and win

While I was impressed by the extroidinary skill and intellect of Petraeus and his cohorts, I was somewhat dissapointed that there was no acknowledgement of the lives lost by commanders that were either not interested in efficient methods or just too lazy or egocentric. The fact that Gen Franks had no phase 4 plan is outrageous and Paul Brenner should be in Prison for literally causing the insurgency in the first place. It is heartening that the is,a place in the US Military for the Soldier Scholar so as to hopefully use war to end it for good . USMA 72

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Great book… Honest and revealing… Insightful

Honest revealing and insightful look at counterinsurgency in the US Army and it's practice in Iraq and Afghanistan truly a comprehensive book well written

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Great place to start.

Great place to start. Good story, well written, lots of great references to other good books for further reading.