Investment in Blood (Hardcover)

The True Cost of Britain’s Afghan War

By Frank Ledwidge

Yale University Press, 9780300190625, 288pp.

Publication Date: August 13, 2013

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (7/1/2014)

List Price: 45.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


In this follow-up to his much-praised book Losing Small Wars: British Military Failure in Iraq and Afghanistan, Frank Ledwidge argues that Britain has paid a heavy cost – both financially and in human terms – for its involvement in the Afghanistan war. Ledwidge calculates the high price paid by British soldiers and their families, taxpayers in the United Kingdom, and, most importantly, Afghan citizens, highlighting the thousands of deaths and injuries, the enormous amount of money spent bolstering a corrupt Afghan government, and the long-term damage done to the British military’s international reputation.


In this hard-hitting exposé, based on interviews, rigorous on-the-ground research, and official information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Ledwidge demonstrates the folly of Britain’s extended participation in an unwinnable war. Arguing that the only true beneficiaries of the conflict are development consultants, international arms dealers, and Afghan drug kingpins, he provides a powerful, eye-opening, and often heartbreaking account of military adventurism gone horribly wrong.

About the Author

Frank Ledwidge served as a naval intelligence officer in the Balkan wars and Iraq, and as a civilian justice advisor in Afghanistan.

Praise For Investment in Blood: The True Cost of Britain’s Afghan War

"Investment in Blood is a damning account of the conflict. For those who criticised the operation as a political mistake and strategic disaster, it will reaffirm their greatest fears. For those who have indeed invested blood, sweat and tears, it will prove a deeply depressing read."Terri Judd, The Independent.

— Terri Judd

“Incredibly well researched, it is a short but depressing read, particularly so after a recap of Mackay & Tathams ‘Behavioural conflicts’, many of the lessons and points will be immediately apparent to anyone who has served in the country, even in the relative safety of Bastion or Kabul.”

“As I stated at the outset a relatively short read, but superbly well researched and lacking the ‘shock and awe’ of statistics that other authors may have chosen to use. Definitely recommended reading, particularly for those seeking a single concise book that captures the essence of the Afghanistan conflict from a UK perspective.”—Army Rumour Service

— Army Rumour Service

“Frank Ledwidge has written a thoughtful book about the British experience in Iraq and Afghanistan – Losing Small Wars: British Military Failure in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, after months of research and in-depth interviews with participants, he has written a sober follow-up, Investment in Blood: The True Cost of Britain’s Afghan War.” —Keith Simpson, Total Politics

— Keith Simpson

"This book is a masterpiece in miniature."—Sherard Cowper-Coles, New Statesman

— Sherard Cowper-Coles