From the Headlines: Books on the US Involvement in Afghanistan

After twenty years, President Biden announced that American troops would be leaving Afghanistan. As the events continue to unfold in Afghanistan, these books from our list shed light on the United States’ involvement in Afghanistan and how it has influenced this current political crisis.

How We Won and Lost the War in Afghanistan by Douglas Grindle

Douglas Grindle provides a firsthand account of how the war in Afghanistan was won in a rural district south of Kandahar City and how the newly created peace slipped away when vital resources failed to materialize and the United States headed for the exit.

Building the Nation by Heather Selma Gregg

Building the Nation draws from foreign-policy reports and interviews with U.S. military officers to investigate recent U.S.-led efforts to “nation-build” in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

After Combat by Marian Eide and Michael Gibler

In this collection of interviews, veterans speak anonymously with pride about their own strengths and accomplishments, with gratitude for friendships and adventures, and also with shame, regret, and grief, while braving controversy, misunderstanding, and sanction.

Through Veterans’ Eyes by Larry Minear

Based on scores of interview—some culled from the Library of Congress Veterans History Project and others conducted by the author himself—Through Veterans’ Eyes presents a composite narrative of the experiences of U.S. service personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Enduring the Freedom by Sean M. Maloney

In Enduring the Freedom, Maloney presents a rare on-the-spot view from such important locations as Kabul, Bagram, and Kandahar.

Warrior Diplomat by Michael G. Waltz

Waltz shares his unique firsthand experiences, revealing the sights, sounds, emotions, and complexities involved in the war in Afghanistan.

The Other War by Ronald E. Neumann

Neumann’s account of how the war in Afghanistan unfolded over the next two years is rich with heretofore unexamined details of operations, tensions, and policy decisions.

Breeding Ground by Deepak Tripathi

Explaining how Afghanistan descended into a civil war from which the Taliban emerged, Tripathi explores the ways in which the country ultimately became a grotesque mirror image of the anticommunist alliance of U.S. forces and radical Islamists in the Cold War’s final phase. 

Quagmire edited by Donald Anderson

The responses cover approximately fifteen years of the United States’ conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and demonstrate the aftermath of war and the degreed ripples that extend beyond soldiers to families and friends, lovers, hometowns, even pets.

Crossing the River Kabul by Kevin McLean

Kevin McLean weaves together Baryalai Popal’s stories in this memoir, which is also a fascinating look at Afghanistan from the viewpoint of Popal and generations of his politically influential family.

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