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The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama Paperback – March 12, 2013

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Frequently Bought Together

The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama + Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq + Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003 to 2005
Price for all three: $37.79

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (March 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307388948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307388940
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Michael R. Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor's The Endgame:

“Likely to stand for decades as the definitive account of the Iraq war. . . . [A] tour de force of contemporary history. . . . The best tribute we can pay to the Iraq veterans is to remember what they did, and that is precisely the achievement of [The Endgame].”
The Wall Street Journal
“Meticulous. . . . Persuasive. . . . Should be required reading. . . . Thanks to the authors’ extraordinary research and sobriety, the accumulation of one well-documented fact after another is compelling. . . . ‘Regime change’ means not only getting rid of a bad regime but also finding a way to replace it with something better. The Endgame shows just how hard that process can be—and, by implication, how crazy it is to start a war without good plans for how to finish it”
The New York Times
“Ambitious. . . . A well-researched, highly critical look at U.S. policy in Iraq. . . . Ultimately, The Endgame invites the question whether President Obama threw his support behind the wrong war.”
Newsweek/The Daily Beast
“The devil of the story is in the details, and the authors do a superb job of providing them. . . . Likely to be considered definitive for some time to come.”
The Washington Times
“A solid chronicle of the Iraq War, emphasizing military maneuvers and Iraqi participation at all levels. . . . A deliberate, chronological construction of events. . . . A straightforward, evenhanded account of the nine-year slog that began as a ‘war of choice’ and became ‘a war of necessity.’“
Kirkus Reviews
“A fantastic book . . . highly anticipated and a must-read on this subject.”
—Joe Scarborough, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”
“Gordon is considered by many to be the best reporter on the Iraq war . . . his long-awaited book is likely to shed new light particularly on the last half-decade of U.S. involvement.”
Foreign Policy
“An epic piece of work.”
—Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC
“What Michael Gordon has written is correct.”
—Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari
“If you want to know about this painful and critical episode of American history, you have to read these books.”
—James Rosen, Fox News
“Gordon and Trainor’s most ambitious and news-breaking book to date. A peerless work of investigative journalism and historical recreation ranging from 2003 to 2012, it gives us the first comprehensive, inside account of arguably the most widely reported yet least understood war in American history.”
—Frogen Yozurt Online Magazine

About the Author

Michael R. Gordon is the chief military correspondent for The New York Times, where he has worked since 1985. He is the coauthor, with Lieutenant General Bernard E. Trainor, of The Generals' War and Cobra II. He has covered the Iraq and Afghan wars, the Kosovo conflict, the Russian war in Chechnya, the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and the American invasion of Panama.
Bernard E. Trainor, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general, was a military correspondent for The New York Times from 1986 to 1990. He was director of the National Security Program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government from 1990 to 1996 and was a military analyst for NBC during the Iraq War.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
Thanks to the Authors, it was very enlightening and I really enjoyed the time we spent together.
This book is great for historians who are seeking an exhaustive and factual detail of events, compiled from a number of sources, without a great deal of analysis.
W. Cody Anderson
Gordon and Trainor's book is the best study - to date - of the military and political aspects of the war in Iraq.
Frank G.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Mark bennett on October 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This a book covering the Iraq war and in particular the wind-down of the war. Its mostly from a military perspective. The authors are very serious writers and have a good track record in terms of past works on the war.

The problem with the book is that the authors lose their objectivity and distance. Rather than covering the war, they become cheerleaders for "the surge" and the individuals (like Petraeus and company) associated with the strategy. The book is in three parts: Why the war was bad before the surge, how great the surge was and how things got worse after the surge. The research is good. The writing is generally good. But the book bends over backwards to warp events to promote its designated heroes. That brings it down.

I think the book overvalues the idea of "counterinsurgency" and often fails to consider other aspects of the situation. How much does one really credit counterinsurgency and how much does one credit the simple fact that a "surge" puts more boots on the ground. Was the so-called Sunni Awakening due to American troops acting tough and how much was it due to political changes within Iraq as regards the Sunni. By its nature, a military study like this tends to neglect wider issues and effects. But when the authors crossed the line from looking at counterinsurgency to promoting that strategy and its leaders, they probably needed to widen their focus.

The book is not particularly kind to either the Bush or Obama Administrations. At some level, it doesn't tend to see their strategies (around the surge) as being all that different. The authors also buy into the questionable idea that AQ operating in Iraq was a serious issue. There is AQ and there is the Zarqawi organization "AQ in Iraq". They are different things.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Pablo Calahorra Gonzale on November 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
General Trainor and Mr Gordon form a rather succesful team of military history writers. For those of the readers who are not acquainted with its previous work, this is their third title, the other two being "The Generals'war" about "Desert Storm" (aka "Saddam Hussein against the world") and "Cobra II" which covers the 2003 Irak War.In every case, they offer a documented, critical and thoroughly entertaining view of each of the military operations portrayed. Despite the current literary trend of writing "trilogies", it seems it was not the intention of the authors of acting in such a way, however the end result is just a magisterial trilogy which covers the years 1990 to 2012 in this troubled spot of the world. This installment keeps the superb level attained in the other books, despite the fact of dealing with a longer span of time and a far more complex situation than any of the other titles did. In order to give an overview of Irak between 2003-2012, the writers have resorted to build the book with a lineal but straightforward structure, with three periods: 2003-2006,2006-2008 and 2008-2012.The narrative flows seamlessly, making difficult to put down the book, and as usual they weave vignettes within a larger frame of things, and putting the miriad of characters into its context. Being a military history buff, in my humble opinion, Trainor and Gordon's efforts belong to the best american tradition, and as such comparable to the best of the "Green books" series, making a stark contrast to the botched continuation of the official US Army history of the operation.Read more ›
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Charles A. Krohn on October 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is the most interesting work of its type written recently, and unlikely to be surpassed for its immediacy, revelations and superb analysis of how the disaster in Iraq unfolded from the perspective of all the participants.

I didn't understand where this book was headed until I got into the middle, wondering why I was reading so much about separate and isolated events, sequentially revealed, still wondering how the parts related to whole. Only as I got deeper into the book was I able to focus on the greater war, finally relating violent engagements to one another, compared and contrasted to decisions in the Green Zone, the Pentagon, State and the White House? I had a strong incentive to keep reading, because the individual episodes are so artfully crafted and documented by author in their prime.

The book displays how the the ambitions of all players, friend and foe, worked to advance their individual and corporate agendas, often in conflict. This requires a detailed explanation of failure and success, as seen from the perspective of American most of all but also of Iraqis with their complex differences. No question about it: the Iraqis are a complex and historic people, with ties to religious, ethnic and political institutions. We tied ourselves to some who were disappointments. No, many were disappointments, and we should have known better, had we greater understanding to their loyalties.

We were tricked into going to war in Iraq, and misled by many.

Some Americans had clearer vision than others, but almost all were flawed. The worst was to prove we could remake the mideast a better place by force of arms and shrewd politics.

There were certainly heroics on the battlefield. It's hard to draw the same conclusion at higher echelons.
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