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Crusade : The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War Hardcover – November 18, 1993

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 575 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin; 1st edition (November 18, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395602904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395602904
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #745,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Atkinson ( The Long Gray Line ) here writes an engrossing account of the actions and utterances of those who directed and fought in the Persian Gulf War. He also provides a thorough analysis of diplomatic and political aspects of the conflict. Rich in pertinent details, the powerful narrative leaps nimbly from Washington to Riyadh, from Baghdad to Kuwait City, and to various battle sites across the sands. Expectedly, the book's dominant personality is General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, whose operatic rages are here shown to be an integral element of his command style. Atkinson defends the much-maligned VII Corps commander, Gen. Fred Franks, against Schwarzkopf's "unfair and unwarranted" criticism. The basic tactical decisions are all here, but the author also addresses the broader issues such as the true effectiveness of the air war, what role the Vietnam War played in Desert Shield/Desert Storm ("For Norman Schwarzkopf and his lieutenants, this war lasted not six weeks but twenty years"), and passes judgment on the reality-testing of the U.S. Army AirLand Battle doctrine. Photos. 75,000 first printing; first serial to the Washington Post; History Book Club main selection; author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This interesting account of the 1991 Persian Gulf War by a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter features a number of original observations about the conduct of the war. For example, Atkinson discloses that the Bush administration allowed navy warships to fire cruise missiles covertly over Iran against Iraqi targets. Among his other disclosures are the use of napalm and fuel air explosives on Iraqi infantry positions and the suggestion by Air Force Brig. Gen. Buster Glosson to use small nuclear weapons against Iraqi targets. Atkinson is extremely critical of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf's behavior. Although Schwarzkopf is credited with being an accomplished military strategist, he is portrayed as someone who abused and publicly denigrated his subordinates and who appeared to be in a near-constant state of rage. Recommended for general readers. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/93.
- Nader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll. , Mobile, Ala.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Rick Atkinson is the bestselling author of six works of narrative military history, including The Guns at Last Light, The Day of Battle, An Army at Dawn, The Long Gray Line, In the Company of Soldiers, and Crusade. He also was the lead essayist in Where Valor Rests: Arlington National Cemetery, published by National Geographic. He was a reporter, foreign correspondent, war correspondent, and senior editor at The Washington Post for more than twenty years. His many awards include Pulitzer Prizes for journalism and history, the George Polk Award, and the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. He lives in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#65 in Books > History
#65 in Books > History

Customer Reviews

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See all 54 customer reviews
This book helped me realize what a important role we did play in this conflict.
Pat Bledsoe
This book is highly recommended as an excellent account of the First Gulf War for the general reader and for the student looking for broad coverage.
D. S. Thurlow
If you are interested in the war then this has to be the one book your read if you are interested in the combat.
John G. Hilliard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Cesar Cruz on July 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
Atkinson's account of the Gulf War has managed to outdo every participant who has written about it. He does this by exposing every significant detail of the conflict. The aspects that most fascinated me include the negotiations with Saudi Arabia and Israel, the coverage of the military campaign (in the air, land, and sea), and the allied military personalities. Atkinson covers all of these angles - and more - as well as any other journalist/author. His style and professionalism is on a level with Bob Woodward (both are both Pulitzer Prize winners).
On all counts Atkinson is fair and thorough. Probably the best example of this is his portrayal of Schwarzkopf. More critical of his methods than the man himself, Atkinson summarizes, "Even for men who had seen horrific bloodletting in Vietnam, no Asian jungle was more stressful than the endless weeks they spent in Norman Schwarzkopf's Riyadh basement."
Still, this is not a book about Schwarzkopf. Everyone and everything gets their due coverage - cruise missiles of all kinds, scuds, Colin Powell and Dick Cheney, British special forces, the Israeli Defense Minister, Iraq's Republican Guard, and others. Again, the scope is impressive.
Except for any secrets that may be declassified in the future, "Crusade" is still the most comprehensive account of Desert Storm and Desert Shield. If you think you know everything there is to know about the Gulf War, you are guaranteed to learn something new from "Crusade."
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Alex Diaz-Granados on December 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
13 years and two Administrations ago, the entire world watched as the first President Bush marshaled a global coalition to confront Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and gave him an ultimatum: leave Kuwait by Jan. 15, 1991, or we'll force you out. Three months had passed since Iraq had invaded its tiny but rich neighbor, claiming the Kuwaitis were slant-drilling into Iraqi oil fields just across the border.
In reality, as Rick Atkinson points out in Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War, Saddam was strong-arming his way out of repaying loans made to Iraq by Kuwait and other moderate Arab countries during his disastrous war with Iran. He may have also been angered by OPEC's lowering of the price of crude oil, which reduced badly-needed hard currency for his moribund economy. In a classic case of what novelist Tom Clancy calls "armed robbery writ large," Saddam followed Hitler's example of trumping up claims on a neighboring country, massing a huge army on its borders, then invading.
While Atkinson (The Thin Gray Line, An Army At Dawn) focuses on the events of the war itself, he carefully explains the almost Byzantine turns of American foreign policy toward Iraq. In the mid-1980s, Washington, worried that Iran would defeat Iraq, provided Baghdad with limited intelligence assistance and looked the other way when other countries (such as France, Brazil, and the USSR) sold Saddam sophisticated weapons. Only after the 1987 USS Stark incident, when an Iraqi Mirage "accidentally" fired an Exocet missile at a U.S. frigate in the Gulf and killed and injured several sailors, did U.S. policymakers start looking at Saddam as a potential adversary.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Shane K. Bernard on May 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
In my opinion, Atkinson surpasses Stephen Ambrose as military historian extraordinaire, and I'm an Ambrose fan! From the moment I read the first paragraph of the first page of this book, I thought, "Wow, Atkinson can write!" The work was gripping throughout, and read like a novel. No wonder Atkinson won a Pulitzer for his previous work: he has an amazing gift for conveying historical fact in captivating prose. Equally amazing is the amount of research that went into this tome: a glance at the endnotes is sufficient to know that this book must have consumed Atkinson's life for several years. Along with Ambrose's "Band of Brothers" and Antony Beevor's "Fall of Berlin 1945," I would say this is the best work of military history that I have read . . . in fact, I would rank it first with Beevor's "Berlin" book. And you don't need to be a soldier to understand the book; it's clearly devised, with explanations for the layperson, and the maps are incredible. My only wish while reading the book was for a supplement that showed, for example, what an F-111 looked like, so that I wouldn't confuse it with an F-117; but this is my only criticism, and a minor one at that. You can always look up such weaponry on the Internet. Now I can't wait to read Atkinson's "An Army at Dawn," which I have waiting on my bookshelf!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Aaron M on April 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
I ordered this book shortly after the 9/11 attack, anticipating another land battle in the Middle East. I wanted to know what to expect if our forces were moved in in any great numbers. Crusade provided exactly that information by providing me with a clear documentation of the Gulf War. Despite the differences between the two wars, I still found the book helpful. Rick Atkinson's style is a lot like Sebastian Junger's (The Perfect Storm). It's almost like reading a very long newspaper article, except that Atkinson keeps it interesting.
My only complaint is that he relies too heavily on what appears to be a list of crutch words. These should fairly pop out at you, but they do not really take away from the quality of his writing. Unless of course, you are looking for creative merit.
Creativity is not a part of the book. It is a complete record of the facts, as well as Atkinson's opinion's as they relate.
I give this book full marks.
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