This is a unique contribution to the burgeoning literature on the Iraq war, analyzing the day-to-day performance of a U.S. brigade in Baghdad during 2004-2005. Mansoor, former XO to General David Petraeus, uses a broad spectrum of sources to address the military, political and cultural aspects of an operation undertaken with almost no relevant preparation, which tested officers and men to their limits. A soldier and a scholar, Mansoor presents an eloquent critique of the armed forces post-Vietnam neglect of counterinsurgency, and makes a strong case for integrating military forces with civilian experts who can aid reconstruction in counterinsurgency operations.

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