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The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan Paperback – November 27, 2012
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“Hastings has written the funniest book I have read on the war and the US presence in Afghanistan--and it’s not easy being funny about Afghanistan or the US Army. The last time someone tried it was in the 1980s, when P.J. O’Rourke wrote hilarious pieces—also for Rolling Stone—about the Mujahideen in Peshawar and later the Taliban…. Hastings’s sense of humor is sly, cynical, and disrespectful, but it is honest....Hastings is an American kind of dissident. ” —Ahmed Rashid, The New York Review of Books
“Superb…One of the most eye-opening accounts…from one of the bravest and most intrepid journalists.” -Salon.com
“It demands to be read…this is a book of great consequence, not a pop-culture puff piece, which some of its deriders claim it is. The Operators seems destined to join the pantheon of the best of GWOT literature, not just for its rock-and-roll details, but for its piercing chronicles of a world gone mad.” -The Daily Beast
“Brings a fresh eye and a brutally authentic voice to America's decade-old misadventure in Afghanistan.”-Los Angeles Times
About the Author
More About the Author
Michael Hastings was a contributing editor to Rolling Stone and a correspondent at large for BuzzFeed. Before that he worked for Newsweek, where he rose to prominence covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was the recipient of the 2010 George Polk Award for his Rolling Stone magazine story "The Runaway General." Hastings was the author of critically praised three books: I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story, Panic 2012: The Sublime and Terrifying Inside Story of Obama's Last Campaign and the New York Times bestseller The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan, which was optioned for film by Brad Pitt's Plan B Productions. In 2010, he was named one of Huffington Post's Game Changers of the year. In 2009, his story Obama's War, published in GQ, was selected for the Best American Political Writing 2009 anthology. Hastings died in 2013, and was posthumously honored with the Norman Mailer Award for Emerging Journalist. His novel The Last Magazine (Blue Rider Press) will be released on June 17, 2014.
Top Customer Reviews
In one, Hastings recaps and expands on his embedded assignment alongside Gen. Stanley McChrystal's team as they traveled Europe and Afghanistan. A variety of inappropriate conversations later reported in Rolling Stone ended up leading to McC's dismissal as Afghanistan war commander. In the second, he presents an after-the-fact roundup of reporting on the Afghanistan situation, and other events in DC.
The book will be reviewed by any number of audiences with preconceived opinions.
There is a set of people who view what Hastings wrote as an attack on the military, which it isn't. Or, that he betrayed his source's confidence, which he didn't - they had to have known he was recording and writing notes. That's what a reporter does, after all, didn't they know it? Or they thought the same relationship that always works would work again - you hang out, you have some late night conversations, you trade stories and you bond...and when the writing's being done, then the reporter should know what to leave in, what to leave out. It always worked before, so why didn't it work now? I'm sure Duncan Boothby, McC's PAO, wondered that when he was resigning.
It didn't work, because Hastings is not Bob Woodward - he's not protecting access by protecting the bridge against enemies from either side. He burned the bridge with everyone, including him, on it. That's what the most honest reporter does - tells the story that he/she sees, and worries about the truth first and last...and relationships nowhere. The reportees aren't called friends, after all - they're called 'sources.'
Hastings shows this in a section where he presents a blistering critique of war reporters in general.Read more ›
The Operators is a book-length version of the Rolling Stone article, covering the first few years of the Obama administration's efforts in Afghanistan. And those looking for a hero in the story are going to have a hard time finding one. Even Hastings, the narrator and ostensible protagonist, isn't particularly likable.
The war Hastings describes is one dominated by political infighting, with various factions hidden away inside their own insulated bubbles, incapable of recognizing the truth, or refusing to admit the truth when it conflicts with ideology. The Obama administration comes off as weak and ineffective, the Afghan government as corrupt and impossibly incompetent, and the American military as an isolated culture more concerned by its own inner workings and politics than whether or not it can achieve actual "success" in a country as thoroughly broken as Afghanistan (or even what "success" might mean).Read more ›
I am sure there are some here who will give a bad review without reading the book. But this is a story that needs to see the light of day if for no other reason than to remind us of the proper role of the press in a democracy.
Well documented and well written. A breath of fresh air unless you prefer celebrity biographies.
OTOH, those who want to know the truth want more real journalists like Hastings. That is why his book deserves 5 stars. There are way too few of his kind remaining in the US, which explains why our country is going down the drain. Without sunlight shed on the powerful, this Republic will collapse.
Guys like Hastings are the true patriots.
The Operators tries to capitalize on that, expanding the profile to book length. Even if you never read the Rolling Stone piece, but read the news reports of the firestorm that it caused, you probably are already familiar with most of what would be of interest in the book. Much of the rest is rehash or filler coupled with a little insight.
If you're surprised by Hastings's revelations that the war in Afghanistan has little or nothing to do with 9/11 or alQueda, that no one seems to know why we are there or what to do there, that politicians and the military lie to the public and each other, that corruption is rife in Afghanistan, and that journalists often exchange ego strokes with politicians and the military, well, where have you been?
Told in a conversational style that sometimes borders on the comically egotistical (Was I really dealing with a spy or was she a high-end prostitute?), the book is a very easy read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a crazy mess. Not the book, but the characters in it. Stranger than fiction - it's a cliche that fits. Read morePublished 4 months ago by avgJones
A disturbing must read book about the Bush wars. Author ended up dead in one car accident in CaliforniaPublished 5 months ago by Mauibook
a good read; his untimely death adds drama to that whole time period, but it motivated me to learn more about him and watch interviews he'd done (Your Tube is great isn't it) and... Read morePublished 6 months ago by tv
Definitely not what I expected but it is definitely insightful and great fun to read. A military version of 'Almost Famous'.Published 6 months ago by Craig Middleton
The book provides and "inside" perspective to the "life and times of General McChrystal (former). Read morePublished 7 months ago by 05/11A
Out of control military adventurism to sell and maintain a war doomed from the start.Published 7 months ago by Jack
It's clear Mr. Hastings never served in the military. The "terrifying" part is not that this happened but that its still SOP.Published 7 months ago by Tomb Guard #39
Beyond the subtitle: a crude, unbelieveable, wild and terrifying encounter with reality.Published 7 months ago by Victor Moreira