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Little America

The War Within the War for Afghanistan

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


A New York Times Notable Book

The author of the acclaimed bestseller and National Book Award finalist, Imperial Life in the Emerald City, tells the startling, behind-the-scenes story of the US’s political and military misadventure in Afghanistan. In this meticulously reported and illuminating book, Rajiv Chandrasekaran focuses on southern Afghanistan in the year of President Obama’s surge, and reveals the epic tug of war that occurred between the president and a military that increasingly went its own way. The profound ramifications this political battle had on the region and the world are laid bare through a cast of fascinating characters—disillusioned and inept diplomats, frustrated soldiers, headstrong officers—who played a part in the process of pumping American money and soldiers into Afghan nation-building. What emerges in Little America is a detailed picture of unsavory compromise—warlords who were to be marginalized suddenly embraced, the Karzai family transformed from foe to friend, fighting corruption no longer a top priority—and a venture that became politically, financially, and strategically unsustainable.

Washington Post Notable Book
St. Louis Post-Dispatch Best Book of the Year

From Publishers Weekly

May 28, 2012 – Chandrasekaran, senior correspondent and associate editor of the Washington Post, follows his award-winning analysis of postinvasion Iraq, Imperial Life in the Emerald City, with a searing indictment of how President Barack Obama s 2009 Afghanistan surge was carried out. Drawing on his reporting from Afghanistan over a period of two and a half years and over 70 interviews conducted for this project, the author examines the Obama administration s efforts to resuscitate a flatlining war. What he finds in his extensive travels, especially in the strategic southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, is a smorgasbord of incompetence, venality, and infighting. It s only when the Marines pivot away from counterinsurgency on which the surge is predicated to counterterrorism that they begin to shift the momentum of the war. This success proves temporary when Obama begins to reverse the surge and the Taliban switch to a long-term game. Chandrasekaran argues that the surge was a missed opportunity and that its failure rests largely with the American bureaucracy : a Pentagon that was too tribal ; incompetent civilian officials, especially at USAID; and a flawed Obama policy to go big instead of going long. Solid and timely reporting, crackling prose, and more than a little controversy will make this one of the summer s hot reads.

Customer Reviews

Well written history of America's folly in Afghanistan

Great book that tells the story of America's attempt at nation building in the Middle East.

This should be a required reading...

..for everyone that deploys to Afghanistan, for every USAID employee, for every State Department employee and for 12th grade history classes.

This is a fantastic book with infinite lessons to be learned.

Little America
View in iTunes
  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Military
  • Published: Jun 26, 2012
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 416 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings