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It is the dawn of the 21st century, and the United States has appropriated the entire Earth. So journalist Robert Kaplan writes in his paean to the American fighting man and woman, Imperial Grunts. The U.S. has quietly--with little public debate--forged an empire that is "ready to flood the most obscure areas of it with troops at a moment's notice," writes Kaplan, a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly magazine who has written 10 earlier books on foreign affairs and travel, including the acclaimed Balkan Ghosts. Imperial Grunts is Kaplan's account of his travels to the frontiers of the U.S. imperium. From the dustbowl of northern Yemen to the coca fields of Colombia and the insurgent hotbed of Fallujah, Kaplan takes readers to the war-torn edges of the U.S. empire and visits with front-line grunts who guard it and try to expand its reach.
"Welcome to Injun Country," is the catchphrase Kaplan hears from all the U.S. soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors we meet. In the view of American troops, they are taming an "unruly" frontier in the tradition of General George Custer. We all know what happened to Custer and, later, to the Native Americans whom the 7th Cavalry was sent out to pacify. But far from criticizing that mission or finding in the analogy any cautionary lesson, Kaplan is an enthusiastic cheerleader for what he baldly calls "American imperialism." He sees it as "humanitarian" and "righteous" and seems to never meet a Green Beret or marine he does not idolize. To Kaplan, U.S. imperialism is unquestionably selfless and heroic, trying only to bring a little taste of freedom to the huddled masses of the world. Imperial Grunts works well as a travelogue but fails to provide deeper insights--or opposing views--about the complex and fascinating places he explores. --Alex Roslin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
America is no less an imperial power than Britain and Rome in their times, claims veteran journalist Kaplan (Balkan Ghosts, etc.)—one that is backed by the same sort of enforcers. To illustrate, he travels to seven nations and describes how American troops are, if not ruling the world, working to persuade it to follow our lead. The author joins elite units (generally marines or special forces) sent to shore up friendly governments, win people's hearts, train security forces and defeat terrorism—an increasingly vague term that includes narco-guerrillas, local warlords, unruly tribes and criminal gangs. Living among working soldiers, Kaplan makes no secret of his admiration for their camaraderie, practicality and rational if politically incorrect views. All roll their eyes when our leaders proclaim that defeating terrorism requires democratic governments; according to Kaplan, they believe this is nonsense in Colombia, Kenya, Yemen and the Philippines—all democracies. Forbidden to fight in these countries, Americans are building infrastructure and gathering intelligence as they instruct local units, hoping American-trained leaders will eventually rise to positions of authority. Military buffs will prefer the chapters on Iraq and Afghanistan, where the soldiers are slugging it out. Stabilizing all these nations may take decades, these men and women say—except in Iraq, where it may take longer. (On sale Sept. 13)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
As an imperial grunt I am super impressed with this book. Instead of just going straight to Iraq and Afghanistan as may other war correspondents did, like so many moths to a light,... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Witchita
A great objective look at the face of the changing US military. Focused on the actions of small units, it takes a ground up look at how the U.S. Fights the War on Terrorism.Published 4 months ago by Darin S. Griner
Great read. Now if I can just get my copy back from my nephew.Published 9 months ago by H. R. Coley
Not since Ernie Pyle's "Brave Men" has a book so clearly revealed the lives of our fighting men at war. Read morePublished 10 months ago by c langridge
I am a military officer and gave this as a farewell gift to one of the people who work for me, very good book.Published 12 months ago by J. Mathers
I'm not a veteran, but his thesis about the American Empire was very thought provoking, so the book would be a great fodder for a book club discussion or talking heads panel.Published 18 months ago by RorySten
This Kaplan guy gets around, doesn't he? His reporting and insights are extremely useful in the life-long search to understand more about our world and the stuff that goes on in... Read morePublished on June 1, 2013 by John J. Hill
readable account of military strategies which appear important to understanding how the military has been used in recent years;no military background required to understand itPublished on May 10, 2013 by David A. Smith