The Wall Street Journal's national security reporter—formerly based in Kabul from 2013-2017—takes readers into the lives of U.S. Special Forces on the front lines in Afghanistan, where a new and covert war purports to keep Afghanistan from collapse. Detailing various military operations, Donati unpacks the tragic blunders that led to the bombing of an Afghan hospital, killing dozens of patients and staff.
This highly enlightening and at times disturbing book covers the last five years in that turbulent war, seamlessly blending a tight narrative of the strategic and political events of that time with an engrossing group of personal recollections of combat from Special Forces troops called upon to accomplish a nearly impossible task ... Beyond the author’s recounting of information not previously known about America’s covert combat operations of the last five years, she also shows the very human face of war ... America’s longest war is finally receiving its due from some fine books recounting the deeds of the brave troops who served under difficult conditions. This volume uncovers and narrates some uncomfortable facts not previously known to the American public in a straightforward manner, and is well worth reading [.]
Jessica Donati presents a memorable but choppy portrait of Americans fighting in Afghanistan over the last six years, which is notable because there have been few good accounts of the war there ... Donati...does an especially good job at portraying the combat in Kunduz in October 2015 ... Over all, Donati tells a confused but important story about limited warfare. The American government spends a lot of money and loses only a few soldiers, but it gains little ... for those caught up in the war on the ground, civilians and combatants alike, the risks and costs are huge.
Donati captures the chaos and arbitrariness of the war ... Her vivid, uncompromising reporting presents U.S. politicians and senior military commanders as disconnected from the reality of the war as they flounder in search of a satisfactory way out of it.