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Tell Me How This Ends: General David Petraeus and the Search for a Way out of Iraq. Hardcover – 2 Oct 2008
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James Traub, New York Times Book Review, October 5, 2008
“…the first book about this new Iraq. It’s a first-rate piece of work, probing and conscientious.”
David Kirkpatrick, The New York Times, October 26, 2008
“an admiring account of the troop “surge” in Iraq that Mr. McCain was among the first to embrace.”
Colonel Gregory Fontenot, Military Review, November/December issue
“As a rule, hyperbole is permissible for the ‘blurbs’ on the jacket of books and not in reviews, but in the case of Linda Robinson’s Tell Me How This Ends, it’s a hard one to follow. Robinson’s book is among the best written about the war in Iraq….”
Military Times, November 17, 2008
“The author who persuaded press-shy Special Forces soldiers to open up in the fascinating “Masters of Chaos: The Secret History of the Special Forces” (PublicAffairs, 2004) has done it again. This time, she persuaded Petraeus — now head of U.S. Central Command — and others in Iraq to talk, and she listened. And evidently, she took good notes. The result is not as dramatic as “Chaos,” but given the themes — politics and management — the insights in “Tell Me How This Ends” make the book worthwhile contemporary history and, foremost, military biography.”
John Nagl, Army Magazine, December issue
“Likely to remain the best analysis of General Petraeus’ role in the decisive years of the war in Iraq short of the general’s own memoirs.”
About the Author
Linda Robinson is a Senior Writer for U.S. News & World Report, specializing in military and national security issues. The recipient for several awards for her reporting, she is the author of the New York Times bestseller Masters of Chaos as well as countless articles in Foreign Affairs, World Policy Journal, Survival, SAIS Review, The New Republic, The New York Times, Outside, and Conde Nast Traveller.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The book is an easy read. It is full of interesting stories about events and personalities. This provides great depth to the story. You also gain new understanding of the event few other books offer. You also learn some interesting news about the inside story of events. Those stories here in the book did not make the general news media.
This book isn't a comprehensive reference. However it gives a good broad understanding of what went on. The book tells the story from both a macro level and from the ground grunt level. You will see how things unfolded. The book will give you a good basic understanding of the surge. Any reader will walk away from the book with a new admiration for General Petraeus. The book will make you want to vote for General Petraeus for President.
At the same time, Robinson knows her counterinsurgency theory. She portrays the struggle for Iraq as essentially a political contest and spends many pages discussing how Ambassador Ryan Crocker and his team prodded the Maliki government to act in the whole nation's interest. Among the more interesting pages are those on the Awakening, the process whereby Sunni tribesmen were turned against the vicious, foreign influences of Al Qaeda. Equally interesting were the chapters on how the central (Shiite-dominated) Iraqi government is dealing with those armed Sunnis, who are, at least for now, nominally on their side. Another highlight --- at least for this old soldier-bureaucrat --- was the inner workings of Team Petraeus and how this remarkable General adapted a standard military bureaucracy to the task of politico-military innovation. The cooperation documented here between the Embassy and the Command was also exemplary.
All of these issues are covered with great insight, fueled by experienced, on-the-ground reporting. There is a minimum of anonymous, third-hand sources in this book. Most of the participants speak clearly here in their own words, or through first hand observations, or by their subsequent actions. If good journalism is the first draft of history, we can be well satisfied with Robinson's contribution. The title passage --- tell me how this ends --- was actually a rhetorical question from then-Major General Petraeus at the start of the Iraq war. In a twist of historical irony, the questioner became responsible for crafting the political-military answer to his own question. Much progress has been made, but as Petraeus himself has recently noted, we are not yet ready for dancing in the end zone. This is the critical set of issues covered holistically by Linda Robinson in this well-reported and highly readable book. She has set the bar high for those who come after her.
This review represents my personal views and does not represent the policy or opinion of any U.S. government entity.
Joseph J. Collins, National War College, August 25, 2008.
pivotal moments of choices, impacts and combat. Like the situation, a complicated read. I learnt a ton more than anything aired on tv channel news.
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