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The Surge: A Military History Hardcover – October 25, 2008


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Frequently Bought Together

The Surge: A Military History + Surge: My Journey with General David Petraeus and the Remaking of the Iraq War (Yale Library of Military History)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (October 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594032491
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594032493
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,368,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

KIMBERLY KAGAN is the president of the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, D.C.. She is a military historian who has taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Yale University, Georgetown University, and American University. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ray Yang on September 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a military history of the "surge" in Iraq.

It is extensively researched and rich with detail. At times it slips into a dry chronicle of events and places emphasis on exposition over interpretation. There is also a strong (and successful) effort to organize the information so that it presents a bigger picture, which came at the expense of more human anecdotes. This is clearly a work by a historian, not a journalist, and so it may be of more interest to the professional rather than general reader. The information is quite current as of publication, and one senses that the publication schedule may have emphasized timeliness over more careful analysis and organization.

The author brings a special perspective to the events detailed, as a professional historian, a teacher and colleague to many of those who fought in it, an adviser to those who planned it, and as one of its more visible advocates on the American political scene. Many of the conclusions to be drawn from it are startling and at variance with the comfortable cliches of our domestic debates. The discussion on the role of Iran, and the role of Moqtada al-Sadr's Jaish-al-Mahdi, was particularly illuminating on certain aspects which have been underreported in other venues.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Wee Bey on April 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kagan's book provides a very detailed overview of the coalition's military operations in Iraq during 2007. Like many other popular, and also very solid accounts of the surge (Ricks, Robinson, Kilcullen, et al), she addresses the shortcomings of the pre-surge strategy and the failures of operations like Together Forward II. However, unlike these accounts, she dedicates less time emphasizing the role of population-centric COIN in shaping the outcome, instead focusing more on the role of kinetic operations like Phantom Thunder. Additionally, she spends significantly less time focusing on the role of Petraeus, and instead points to the critical role Odierno played.

While overall Kagan does provide a detailed account of the surge, it's important to note a few caveats. First, her husband, Fred Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute, was one of the surge's architects. Therefore, Kim Kagan is hardly an objective or dispassionate analyst. Second, although extensively footnoted, a large proportion of her citations come from military press briefings. In other words, the organization tasked with implementing the surge is also the organization she relies on for much of her data.
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Format: Hardcover
I really wanted to like Dr. Kagan's the Surge: a Military History, but found it vastly disappointing. First, instead of synthesizing information into a narrative which would help a reader, academic or not, understand the American "Surge," Kagan's monograph reads like a laundry list of military engagements, with little or no string drawing them together. Kagan says she can see an operational art of counter-insurgency develop during the American campaign, but even if she can, she certainly cannot communicate it. Second, this work was rife with irritating grammatical errors, including horrific punctuation. Third, despite hundreds of footnotes, it seemed drawn from the after-action reports and experiences of a very select few officers (the Diyala Chapter might as well be written by Col. Sutherland, as she literally pastes three pages of his AAR wholesale into the book), instead of casting a wider net and gaining a breadth of experience in a single area. Finally, Dr. Kagan's work uses vastly too much military terminology, without any definition, description, or example to frame it. What does "Campaign Design" actually mean? I can come up with a contextual definition, but expect there is a specific definition available, although not provided to the reader. Ultimately, Kagan's history of America's defining military operations in Iraq falls completely flat. This book lacked good editing, and was clearly pushed to press.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The research from Kimberly Kagan is very precise. She wrote a book with a lot of information about the Surge. If u want to know about the Surge u have to read that book.
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