Partly on the strength of their apparent success in 'small wars' such as Malaya and Northern Ireland, the British armed forces have long been perceived as world class, if not world-beating. Yet under British control Basra degenerated into a lawless city riven with militia violence and fear, while tactical mistakes and strategic incompetence in Helmand province resulted in numerous casualties and a burgeoning opium trade. In both cases the British were eventually and humiliatingly baled out by the US military. In this thoughtful and compellingly readable book, former military intelligence officer Frank Ledwidge, a veteran of both campaigns, examines the British involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking how and why it went so wrong. With the aid of copious research, interviews with senior officers and his own experiences, he looks in detail at how British strategy is developed and how senior officers are trained. He discusses the culture of the British military and argues that at the root of these flawed operations has been a reliance on obsolete structures, approaches and tactics, a culture of not asking difficult questions and above all an inability to adapt to new challenges. This is an eye-opening analysis of the causes of military failure, and its enormous costs.