Books on the War in Iraq
January 23, 2010 6:48 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me put together a reading list on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan/"war on terror"? I'm reading The Forever War by Dexter Flikins right now, so what should I read next? Eight years later I'm still struggling to understand what happened and how exactly we ended up there.

I'm pretty surprised this wasnt something I could easily google and that there isnt already an AskMefi post about this, but if there is and I missed it then point me there!

I'm also interested in the protest movement during this time and how anti-war demonstrations have changed since the Vietnam War.
posted by minicloud to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Fiasco by Thomas Ricks.
Bit of a truck stopper though!
posted by 92_elements at 7:00 AM on January 23, 2010

How about "Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman" by John Krakauer. A great read and you learn a lot about our current involvment in the war.
posted by Rad_Boy at 7:10 AM on January 23, 2010

Also "Charlie Wilson's War" by George Crile
posted by Rad_Boy at 7:11 AM on January 23, 2010

Andrew Bacevich's books.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 7:23 AM on January 23, 2010

Not a book, but PBS's Frontline tends to do a really good job on its documentaries. They have a page with all of their war and terror related reporting since 9/11. It's quite substantial.
posted by chris p at 7:39 AM on January 23, 2010

Robert Young Pelton - The Adventurist
Robert Young Pelton - Licensed to Kill
Robert Young Pelton - The Hunter / The Hammer
Rajiv Chandrasekaran - Imperial Life in the Emerald City
Peter Hopkirk - The Great Game
Robert Baer - Sleeping with the Devil
Robert Baer - The Devil We Know
Robert Baer - See No Evil
Romeo Dallaire - Shake Hands with the Devil
Gary Schroen - First In
George Crile - Charlie Wilson's War
PW Singer - Corporate Warriors
James Carroll - House of War
Stephen Kinzer - All the Shah's Men (a history of the 1953 anti-Mossadeq coup)
Anonymous - Imperial Hubris
Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin - The Mitrokhin Archive
Thomas E. Ricks - Fiasco
James Bamford - The Puzzle Palace
James Bamford - The Shadow Factory
James Bamford - Body of Secrets
Kevin Sites - In the Hot Zone
Craig Unger - House of Bush, House of Saud
Tim Spicer - An Unorthodox Soldier
Albert Hourani - A History of the Arab Peoples
Ahmad Rashid - Taliban
Ahmad Rashid - Jihad
Ahmad Rashid - Descent into Chaos
Pervez Musharraf - In the Line of Fire
Sarah Chayes - The Punishment of Virtue
Steve Coll - Ghost Wars
Steve Coll -The Bin Ladens
Robert Fisk - The Great War for Civilization
Lutz Kleveman - The New Great Game

Chalmers Johnson, Blowback; Sorrows of Empire; Nemesis
Patrick Cockburn, Muqtada al-Sadr and the Fall of Iraq
Rory Stewart, The Places in Between; Occupational Hazards (called something else in the US: The Prince of the Marshes?)
Naylor, Sean: Not a good day to die

Griffin, Nicholas: Caucasus: Mountain Men and Holy War
Barber, Benjamin R. : Jihad vs McWorld
Hartley, Aidan: The Zanzibar Chest (thank you Michelle in Alaska)
Ferguson, Gary: Hawk's Rest
Bell, Martin: Through Gates of FIre: A Journey into World Disorder
Maalouf, Amin: The Crusades through Arab Eyes
Shawcross, William: Deliver Us From Evil: Peacekeepers, Warlords and a World of Endless Conflict
Gotz, Thomas: Azerbaijan Diary
Weisman, Alan: The World Without Us
Cain, Kenneth, Postlewait and Thomson, Andrew: Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: A true story from Hell on Earth

Armstrong, Karen: Holy War, The Crusades and their impact of today's world
posted by thewalrus at 7:39 AM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

On Strategy, by Harry Summers Jr.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:02 AM on January 23, 2010

David Loyn "In Afghanistan: Two Hundred Years of British, Russian and American Occupation"
"Butcher and Bolt" appears to be the same book but with a different title.
posted by acro at 8:15 AM on January 23, 2010

Michael Yon's "Moment of Truth in Iraq"
posted by BobbyVan at 9:01 AM on January 23, 2010

I'm in the last few pages of The Great Gamble. It's about the Soviet war in Afghanistan and it went a long way for me understanding at least the roots of why this is happening now. Next, I need to read about the British occupation.
posted by cmoj at 9:11 AM on January 23, 2010

Three Cups of Tea, it doesn't initially seem like it would be relevant but it is.
posted by kylej at 9:23 AM on January 23, 2010

The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran by Hooman Majd
posted by nangua at 9:32 AM on January 23, 2010

For a female perspective on the War on Terror (TM): Band of Sisters: American Women at War in Iraq and The Girls Come Marching Home: Stories of Women Warriors Returning from the War in Iraq by Kirsten A. Holmstedt. I haven't read them, but both have recieved excellent reviews and multiple awards.
posted by Tamanna at 10:21 AM on January 23, 2010

Bob Woodward's The War Within provides the backstory of the decision-making that led to the "surge" in Iraq.
posted by roomwithaview at 1:31 PM on January 23, 2010

The Shi'is of Iraq by Yitzhak Nakash is superb; it's not about the war, but it gives you an indispensable background for understanding the Shi'i majority and the ties of Iraq and Persia/Iran.
posted by languagehat at 1:59 PM on January 23, 2010


I want to second Fiasco by "Tom Ricks."
House to House an Epic Memoir of War is an excellent memoir of a battle from a soldiers perspective.
And if you're willing to watch TV instead of read, Bill Moyers has a good documentary on the media coverage in the runup to the war.

Taliban is a good book on the origins of the Taliban, written shortly before Sept 11

National Geographic made a documentary about Massoud, the former leader of the Northern Alliance.
posted by earlsofsandwich at 6:29 PM on January 23, 2010

And I want to second most of thewalrus' superb list, especially anything by Ahmed (or Ahmad) Rashid.
posted by aqsakal at 10:29 AM on January 24, 2010

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