Nightcap at Dawn: American Soldiers' Counterinsurgency in Iraq

J.B. Walker. Skyhorse (Norton, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (568p) ISBN 978-1-61608-617-6
This tome of the tactics, true stories, and "hallucination(s)" of fighting a counterinsurgency war in Iraq was anonymously penned by a group of American soldiers, but despite its serviceman pedigree, the book lacks the narrative structure to become more than a practical primer for a war from which the U.S. has already withdrawn. There are some compelling first-hand des criptions of grisly conflict, the psychomechanics of parsing a loquacious local businessman from a potential enemy fighter, and ideologues competing like corporate franchises, but the book sorely misses the hand of an editor. Anecdotes ranging from soldiers bribing prostitutes for information pertaining to their clientele to tales of informants on the brink are dropped flat without conclusions, and an engaging gallows humor is subsumed by a tone that is as bone-dry as a PowerPoint presentation, flow charts and all. The overview of Iraq's slippery sectarian "soup sandwich" can be fascinating, but a surfeit of general information and lack of a cohesive narrative thread will make this book appeal primarily to hardcore military historians. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/23/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 568 pages - 978-1-62087-170-6
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