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Moment of Truth in Iraq: How a New 'Greatest Generation' of American Soldiers is Turning Defeat and Disaster into Victory and Hope Hardcover – February 28, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0980076325 ISBN-10: 0980076323 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Richard Vigilante Books; 1st edition (February 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980076323
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980076325
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #864,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

From the Publisher I HAVE NEVER BEEN PROUDER TO PUBLISH A BOOK Michael Yon changed my mind about the war in Iraq, by making me understand it for the first time. From the very beginning I was against the war. I thought it would be a disaster, another Vietnam. And until I had the privilege of working on this book with Michael I was always for immediate pull-out: why should one more American die for a doomed effort? Michael--who is as close to totally non-political as anyone I know--showed me two things. First, because I judged by Vietnam, the war of my youth, I had radically underestimated what American soldiers could do. I knew they could blow away any regular opponent on any battlefield. But wage a counterinsurgency against an enemy with broad support in the population? Win the "hearts and minds," to use the Vietnam era phrase that now can be used only ironically? That was asking too much, I thought. I was 100 percent wrong. Today's American soldiers excel at counterinsurgency, because they excel at the most important thing: winning over the people by inspiring them with their own courage and compassion, discipline and determination. Reading this book is like watching the movie Apocalypse Now, but in an alternate universe in which the opposite always happens. Every time our soldiers get into an incredibly tense situation with some Iraqis who might be friends or might be enemies or murderers, some situation in which what's needed is amazing calm and courage to keep things from blowing up and ending in a blood bath, our guys pull it off! Just wait until you read the Chapter "High Noon" (my favorite), the story of the American soldiers who have to arrest a corrupt but politically popular Iraqi police chief we had put in office in the first place because he had been a real hero in fighting the terrorists. He had to be removed by Americans to show the Iraqis we really did believe in the rule of law. The whole thing could have blown up into a one-town civil war with hundreds dead on both sides. Won't tell you how it ends, but you will be amazed and very proud. The other thing Michael helped me understand is the difference between terrorists we just have to kill (often foreigners, or local criminals) and local insurgents we should have been working with all along. For almost five years I could not tell from watching the news--and certainly not from listening to the Administration--who the enemy was, what they wanted or why they were fighting. Not surprisingly it turns out that understanding the various people we were fighting--some of whom have since become great allies--was the key to winning the war, which we are now clearly doing. I am convinced that everything I once thought about the war was wrong. The truth is we are doing a great thing in Iraq, most of the Iraqi people really do want to be a united democratic nation and already consider America their greatest friend and ally. It would be a crime to turn tail now and abandon them now. I owe all that to Michael's book, which is why I believe publishing Moment of Truth in Iraq may be the best thing I have ever done for my country. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. --Richard Vigilante

From the Publisher

I HAVE NEVER BEEN PROUDER TO PUBLISH A BOOK

Michael Yon changed my mind about the war in Iraq, by making me understand it for the first time.

From the very beginning I was against the war. I thought it would be a disaster, another Vietnam. And until I had the privilege of working on this book with Michael I was always for immediate pull-out: why should one more American die for a doomed effort?

Michael--who is as close to totally non-political as anyone I know--showed me two things. First, because I judged by Vietnam, the war of my youth, I had radically underestimated what American soldiers could do. I knew they could blow away any regular opponent on any battlefield. But wage a counterinsurgency against an enemy with broad support in the population? Win the "hearts and minds," to use the Vietnam era phrase that now can be used only ironically? That was asking too much, I thought.

I was 100 percent wrong. Today's American soldiers excel at counterinsurgency, because they excel at the most important thing: winning over the people by inspiring them with their own courage and compassion, discipline and determination. Reading this book is like watching the movie Apocalypse Now, but in an alternate universe in which the opposite always happens. Every time our soldiers get into an incredibly tense situation with some Iraqis who might be friends or might be enemies or murderers, some situation in which what's needed is amazing calm and courage to keep things from blowing up and ending in a blood bath, our guys pull it off!

Just wait until you read the Chapter "High Noon" (my favorite), the story of the American soldiers who have to arrest a corrupt but politically popular Iraqi police chief we had put in office in the first place because he had been a real hero in fighting the terrorists. He had to be removed by Americans to show the Iraqis we really did believe in the rule of law. The whole thing could have blown up into a one-town civil war with hundreds dead on both sides. Won't tell you how it ends, but you will be amazed and very proud.

The other thing Michael helped me understand is the difference between terrorists we just have to kill (often foreigners, or local criminals) and local insurgents we should have been working with all along. For almost five years I could not tell from watching the news--and certainly not from listening to the Administration--who the enemy was, what they wanted or why they were fighting. Not surprisingly it turns out that understanding the various people we were fighting--some of whom have since become great allies--was the key to winning the war, which we are now clearly doing.

I am convinced that everything I once thought about the war was wrong. The truth is we are doing a great thing in Iraq, most of the Iraqi people really do want to be a united democratic nation and already consider America their greatest friend and ally. It would be a crime to turn tail now and abandon them now.

I owe all that to Michael's book, which is why I believe publishing Moment of Truth in Iraq may be the best thing I have ever done for my country.


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Thank you Michael Yon.
JLA
If you REALLY want to know what is going on in Iraq, READ THIS BOOK!
Lesli Burkhead
This is probably the most important book written on the Iraq War.
ironman96

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 115 people found the following review helpful By Craig Good on April 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Those who have been reading Michael Yon's dispatches from Iraq have been ahead of the information curve for years. Everybody who cares about the war, one way or another, should buy and read this book. Yon has the call-it-like-it-is, straightforward delivery of a soldier - which sometimes got him in hack with the military. But he's always been an independent voice and keen observer.

So here is a warts-and-all look at the tragic mistakes and near miraculous triumphs of the war in Iraq as lived by the people wearing the boots on the ground. Yon is this generation's Ernie Pyle. His book is a must read.
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133 of 153 people found the following review helpful By James Beall on April 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a long time fan of Michael Yon's work, I eagerly awaited the arrival of this book and it did not disappoint. His portrayal of our troops is detailed and allows you an intimate look at the roles they perform in Iraq. The fact that he is right alongside the troops and living with them allows him to bring you a perspective you don't get from green zone reporters & agenda setting producers and editors. Be sure to check out his website michaelyon-online.com/ for more information Michael Yon and his time as the longest serving imbedded report in Iraq. One way to describe the book is snapshots of history. Each chapter telling a story of part of the history of Iraq and how our troops are shaping that history.
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100 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Michael B. Openshaw on April 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A great piece of work by the Ernie Pyle of our time (Michael strongly contested that comparison, but it's true). This is a different kind of war and Michael brings to life the issues, the problems, the missteps and the triumphs to be found there. And through it all, he honors the service and sacrifice of the American (and British) military in the field. Through him, you will understand the 'Devil in the details'; the frustrations and the hopes of Americans and Iraqis alike. And you will have pride in the humanity shown by the vast majority of both. No one portrays it better and there is not a dull moment to be had in this book.

The contents within the book match the photgraphic excellence on the cover. If you see that picture and want to know the whys and wherefores, GET THIS BOOK!
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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful By R. G. Dyman on April 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for a more clear telling of the story of our soldiers in Iraq than you find in newspapers and broadcast news, I highly recommend this book. As a former Green Beret who has spent more time with the troops in theater than anyone else, Michael Yon provides a perspective and insight that is sorely lacking in virtually all other sources.

From his first-hand accounts, I now have a greater appreciation of the work being done by our men and women in Iraq. Men like CSM Mellinger, LTC Kurilla and Captain Cook. I also see that many Iraqis like "Tonto" and the "Kit Carson Scouts" are doing what they can to remove the AQI barbarians and establish a functioning society.

This book is not, however, without it's criticisms of mistakes that we made in the past. As so often pointed out by our media (and much to the delight and benefit of AQI) there have been errors in judgment and action which have greatly increased our cost in both blood and treasure for this war. But it is refreshing to read how members of our military have recognized the mistakes, adapted their strategies and reclaimed the moral high ground. Something that Yon makes abundantly clear is needed when fighting a counterinsurgency as we are now.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Jerry L. Shaw on April 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
An authoritative first-hand account of our Soldiers' actions in Iraq. Yon clearly lays out the story of our actions for good and bad. He evidently came in-country about the time I was leaving. He tells the story as I saw it and as my friends there now report it.

Yon doesn't mind saying who the good guys are. He names names and quotes directly.

It's riveting reading. There are far too few writers like Michael Yon. Hell, there are far too few people like Mike Yon.
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45 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Michael T Kennedy VINE VOICE on April 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Michael Yon is not a cheerleader. He has been a soldier and must be in good shape to spend month after month embedded with troops and accompanying them on patrols. I have been reading his web site and have been on his mailing list (and contributor list) almost from the first time he went to Iraq. He and Michael Totten must be read every week to know what is going on. About half of this book is repeating material from his web site. The rest, however, is riveting and his opinions on the war prior to General Petraeus taking over are harsh. He says that hapless General Sanchez could "turn wine into vinegar with a glance." He is very critical of the Fallujah invasion, both the initial aborted one and the second invasion which cleared the insurgents but destroyed much of the city. He gives many examples of exactly how the new strategy is carried out and provides a "worm's eye view" of what is going on every day. He is very reluctant to generalize about strategy except to point out how successful General Petraeus was in Mosul in 2004 as 101st Airborne Division commander. He also points out how those gains slipped away when the 101st went home. He puts the final word out to confirm my theory that disbanding the Iraqi Arm in 2003 was a disaster, as was the dismissal of all Baath Party members from the government. This, at a stroke, decapitated the bureaucracy, which like Germany in World War II required all government workers to be party members. In 1946, we ignored a lot of small time Nazis to keep the country running. The same would have been wise in Iraq. This book is not large and can be read in one sitting as I did last night. Even though a lot was repetition of what I had read on the web site (and I recommend it), it is all worth while.
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