James Verini arrived in Iraq in the summer of 2016 to write about life in the Islamic State. He stayed to cover the jihadis’ last great stand, the Battle of Mosul, not knowing it would go on for nearly a year, nor that it would become, in the words of the Pentagon, "the most significant urban combat since WWII." They Will Have to Die Now takes the reader into the heart of the conflict against the most lethal insurgency of our time.
[Verini] ... has written a vivid and bare-knuckles account of the fight against ISIS. They Will Have to Die Now: Mosul and the Fall of the Caliphate will stand up with some of the best war reporting. He takes an unblinking look at the dirtiest kind of battle — urban combat — and the human wreckage it leaves in its wake ... Some of his observations may be too harsh for gentle readers ... Still, it's important for readers to understand what the world faces with such groups ... Verini's book is an important firsthand account of the human cost of war, the civilians caught up in this special kind of hell, and the difficulty of fighting a terrorist group in an urban environment. There will be other such fights. Hopefully, reporters of the caliber of James Verini will be on the front lines.
... includes intense battle scenes, discerning historical analysis and edifying anecdotes about technology’s role in modern warfare. These are important elements, but if They Will Have to Die Now: Mosul and the Fall of the Caliphate has a defining feature, it’s Verini’s vividly rendered ensemble cast. His real-life characters survived the vicious death cult. Their candidly described sorrows and predicaments give us an unusually nuanced picture of contemporary Iraq ... [Verini] is a reporter who is never in a hurry. His straightforward prose illuminates complex gray areas, reminding us that war is never as clear-cut as it seems on cable news ... he focuses on a finite period and a distinct set of people, and the results are often haunting.
... a painful, moving, and necessary read ... Verini is almost recklessly brave. He embedded himself, whenever he could, with virtually every kind of allied unit fighting ISIS, and he found himself in the middle of the action, constantly. He was present when the snipers opened up, when the car bombs came, and when the mortars fell ... [Verini] was able to capture the truth of war in Iraq (and of Iraq itself) in a way that precious few writers have. In fact, he helped me to make more sense, over a decade later, of my own deployment ... the beauty of Verini’s book is that it explains the 'how' and the 'why' better than any other single volume I’ve read ... Verini gets the little touches right ... Most important, however, he gets the complexity right. He understands the paradoxes ... Through it all, Verini helps you understand ... Verini’s book is an antidote to ignorance. It’s an indispensable account of a fight that no American should forget.