The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War

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The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War

Format:  Hardcover,

418 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publish Date: Jan 2013

ISBN-13: 9781451642636

ISBN-10: 1451642636

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.
Winner of the Washington Institute Silver Book Prize
"The Insurgents" is the inside story of the small group of soldier-scholars, led by General David Petraeus, who plotted to revolutionize one of the largest, oldest, and most hidebound institutions--the United States military. Their aim was to build a new Army that could fight the new kind of war in the post-Cold War age: not massive wars on vast battlefields, but "small wars" in cities and villages, against insurgents and terrorists. These would be wars not only of fighting but of "nation building," often not of necessity but of choice.
Based on secret documents, private emails, and interviews with more than one hundred key characters, including Petraeus, the tale unfolds against the backdrop of the wars against insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the main insurgency is the one mounted at home by ambitious, self-consciously intellectual officers--Petraeus, John Nagl, H. R. McMaster, and others--many of them classmates or colleagues in West Point's Social Science Department who rose through the ranks, seized with an idea of how to fight these wars better. Amid the crisis, they forged a community (some of them called it a cabal or mafia) and adapted their enemies' techniques to overhaul the culture and institutions of their own Army.
Fred Kaplan describes how these men and women maneuvered the idea through the bureaucracy and made it official policy. This is a story of power, politics, ideas, and personalities--and how they converged to reshape the twenty-first-century American military. But it is also a cautionary tale about how creative doctrine can harden into dogma, how smart strategists--today's "best and brightest"--can win the battles at home but not the wars abroad. Petraeus and his fellow insurgents made the US military more adaptive to the conflicts of the modern era, but they also created the tools--and made it more tempting--for political leaders to wade into wars that they would be wise to avoid.

Specifications

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: Jan 2013
ISBN-13: 9781451642636
ISBN-10: 1451642636
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 418
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.45
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.5 x 9.5 x 1.5

About the author

Biography of Kaplan, Fred

Fred Kaplan teaches at Queens College and the Graduate Center of CUNY. He is the editor of The Essential Gore Vidal and the author of the biographies Henry James, Dickens, and Thomas Carlyle, which was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Kaplan lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Chapter outline

What We Need Is an Officer with Three Headsp. 1
Another Type of Warfarep. 11
Eating Soup with a Knifep. 35
Revolutionsp. 44
The Insurgent at Warp. 61
The Irregularsp. 79
Where's My Counterinsurgency Plan?p. 94
The Basin Harbor Gangp. 108
The Directivep. 117
The Insurgent in the Engine Room of Changep. 126
The Workshop at Tatooinep. 153
Hearts & Mindsp. 166
Clear, Hold, and Buildp. 191
We Are Pulling in Different Directionsp. 204
The Field Manualp. 213
The Surgep. 223
Awakeningsp. 244
The Insurgent in the Pentagonp. 270
It Is Follyp. 284
Coin Versus CTp. 294
Storm Cloudsp. 319
ANew American Way of Warp. 349
Postscriptp. 367
Notesp. 369
Interviewsp. 397
Acknowledgmentsp. 399
Indexp. 401

Book description

The Insurgents is the inside story of the small group of soldier-scholars, led by General David Petraeus, who plotted to revolutionize one of the largest, oldest, and most hidebound institutions—the United States military. Their aim was to build a new Army that could fight the new kind of war in the post–Cold War age: not massive wars on vast battlefields, but “small wars” in cities and villages, against insurgents and terrorists.

These would be wars not only of fighting but of “nation building,” often not of necessity but of choice.

Based on secret documents, private emails, and interviews with more than one hundred key characters, including Petraeus, the tale unfolds against the backdrop of the wars against insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the main insurgency is the one mounted at home by ambitious, self-consciously intellectual officers—Petraeus, John Nagl, H. R. McMaster, and others—many of them classmates or colleagues in West Point’s Social Science Department who rose through the ranks, seized with an idea of how to fight these wars better. Amid the crisis, they forged a community (some of them called it a cabal or mafia) and adapted their enemies’ techniques to overhaul the culture and institutions of their own Army.

Fred Kaplan describes how these men and women maneuvered the idea through the bureaucracy and made it official policy. This is a story of power, politics, ideas, and personalities—and how they converged to reshape the twenty-first-century American military. But it is also a cautionary tale about how creative doctrine can harden into dogma, how smart strategists—today’s “best and brightest”—can win the battles at home but not the wars abroad. Petraeus and his fellow insurgents made the US military more adaptive to the conflicts of the modern era, but they also created the tools—and made it more tempting—for political leaders to wade into wars that they would be wise to avoid.

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