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I had resisted purchasing this book for quite a while. I had seen the author in many media appearances as he promoted it. When I saw an extensive interview with Brian Lamb of CSPAN on the hour-long Q & A program, I realized that I had made wrong assumptions about the work. By way of explanation, before retiring, I worked for the Army in a civilian position in which I recorded and observed many of the Distinguished Visitors (DVs) which came through our post during our nation's involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. This included a majority of the full Generals and Admirals (four stars) in all of the services (about 24) and most of the Lieutenant Generals (3-star) in the Army (43, according to LTG Bolger). I do not remember encountering the author during his time on active service so I assumed, wrongly, that he might have been a National Guard or Army Reserve general with limited time in either theater. No, quite the opposite, he was deployed extensively. From the title, one would expect this to be a kind of anti-war screed. It is anything but that. Bolger obviously has great admiration for his fellow soldiers and general officers. A very famous general once told me why a retired general (which I had asked about) wouldn't write a memoir. "Because if you do, you must either settle old scores, or gloss-over the inevitable differences." Bolger avoids this trap by writing as a trained historian (which he very much is - PhD in Military History from the University of Chicago). He gives extensive credit to senior officers and their civilian overlords where credit is due, but doesn't hesitate to criticize short-comings, either in policy, strategy, operations or tactics. He includes himself, if not in the praise, in the criticism. His extensive accounts of Operation Anaconda, Roberts Ridge, and other battles in Afghanistan and most of the major battles in Iraq are wonderful -- full of the inherent heroism which occurs, along with realistic depictions of the tedium, dirt, sweat and mundane tasks of war. Having read or listened entire books on many of these engagements, I found them well researched and thoroughly engrossing -- usually better than the accounts written by veteran war-correspondents and journalists.If you care about the military or want a accurate accounting of our two latest wars and the lessons that should be learned from them, you listen to or read this one. It is really good.--Don M. od Queen Creek, AZ
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What did you like best about Why We Lost? What did you like least?
This book drew a good broad picture on the wars and why they failed. You can see from a managerial perspective of the wars the many shortcomings that came from lack of planning and execution on the coalition's part in the matter of sustainment operations for the war country. It was a long listen and had a big focus on the Iraq war and not nearly as much on the war in Afghanistan. The author described many small stories in the wars that really didn't tie into the bigger picture of the story. Kind of seemed like filler.
Do you think Why We Lost needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
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1 of 1 people found this review helpful