Lurie has that wonderful ability to disappear into the text. His voice is low and steady, with just enough variation to emphasize points, highlight irony and make every sentence eminently clear. You don't need a dramatic reading here-there's plenty of drama in this smoothly wrought abridgment. Ricks minutely examines each stage of the Iraq war through hundreds of interviews with senior and junior officers, and reviews of untold numbers of documents. The result is a portrait of tragedy he lays at the feet of an administration that went into Iraq to overthrow Hussein, but had no strategy to handle an occupation. Ricks exposes the failures emerging from civilian and military leadership's inability to plan beyond today. The U.S. military's disbanding of the former Iraqi army and civilian corps morphed into an insurgency when tens of thousands of angry, unemployed men were unable to feed their families. In a few areas, good leaders make friends with local religious and civilian leaders, but in most the administration's go-get-'em mentality creates more enemies. Simultaneous release with the Penguin Press hardcover (reviewed online).