Imperial Grunts

  • by Robert D. Kaplan
  • Narrated by John H. Mayer
  • 18 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this landmark book, Robert D. Kaplan, veteran correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and author of Balkan Ghosts, shows how American imperialism and the Global War on Terrorism are implemented on the ground, mission by mission, in the most exotic landscapes around the world. Given unprecedented access, Kaplan takes us from the jungles of the southern Philippines to the glacial dust bowls of Mongolia, from the forts of Afghanistan to the forests of South America, not to mention Iraq, to show us Army Special Forces, Marines, and other uniformed Americans carrying out the many facets of U.S. foreign policy: negotiating with tribal factions, storming terrorist redoubts, performing humanitarian missions, and training foreign soldiers.
In Imperial Grunts, Kaplan provides an unforgettable insider's account not only of our current involvement in world affairs, but also of where America, including the culture of its officers and enlisted men, is headed. This is the rare book that has the potential to change the way readers view the men and women of the military, war, and the global reach of American imperialism today.
Never before has America's overarching military strategy been parsed so incisively and evocatively. Kaplan introduces us to lone American servicemen whose presence in obscure countries is largely unknown, and concludes with a heart-stopping portrait of marines in the first battle in Fallujah. Extraordinary in its scope, beautifully written, Imperial Grunts combines first-rate reporting with the sensitivity and insights of an acclaimed writer steeped in history, literature, and philosophy, to deliver a masterly account of America's global role in the twenty-first century.

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What the Critics Say

"His on-the-ground reportage makes for riveting reading. He provides vivid and highly chilling accounts of the dangers faced by members of the American military in places like Falluja in Iraq and Colombia's Arauca Province, even as he leaves the reader with a keen appreciation of the expertise and versatility of Special Forces units." (The New York Times)
"One of the most important books of the last several years." (Tom Brokaw)
"An experienced military journalist has created this worthwhile portrait of American ground troops, mostly in elite units, working with the armed forces of other countries to fight terrorism, to be sure, but actually doing a job once done by the Roman legions." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

completely engaging and informative

In Imperial Grunts, Kaplan takes you to various parts of the world, giving you a wonderful history of each, then current events, then a look at the country through the eyes of the special forces. Having known some of the special forces men personally this report seems completely credible. This book has opened my eyes to much of the world by looking at what is happening on the ground. I was truly educated by this book and it was a pleasure to read.
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- Clark

Stories worth telling but not told by media

A sober, illuminating collection that provides some badly needed affirmation for our grunts on the ground. Take a stereotype, any stereotype--of our guys, allies or the enemy--and this book smashes it to pieces. Unvarnished, disturbing, engrossing.

Love the historical context provided, as well as the absence of flag-waving and back-slapping.

One passage, which took place in Columbia, upset me so much I couldn't get it out of my mind. It inspires an odd confluence of emotions: compassion for those I can personally never help, and a desire for retribution against those who were once victims themselves.

Highly Recommended.
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- Jason

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-12-2005
  • Publisher: Books on Tape