Why We Lost (Hardcover)

A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars

By Daniel Bolger

Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544370487, 544pp.

Publication Date: November 11, 2014

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (11/3/2015)
MP3 CD (11/3/2015)

List Price: 28.00*
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A high-ranking general’s gripping insider account of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how it all went wrong.

Over a thirty-five-year career, Daniel Bolger rose through the army infantry to become a three-star general, commanding in both theaters of the U.S. campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. He participated in meetings with top-level military and civilian players, where strategy was made and managed. At the same time, he regularly carried a rifle alongside rank-and-file soldiers in combat actions, unusual for a general. Now, as a witness to all levels of military command, Bolger offers a unique assessment of these wars, from 9/11 to the final withdrawal from the region. Writing with hard-won experience and unflinching honesty, Bolger makes the firm case that in Iraq and in Afghanistan, we lost — but we didn’t have to. Intelligence was garbled. Key decision makers were blinded by spreadsheets or theories. And, at the root of our failure, we never really understood our enemy. Why We Lost is a timely, forceful, and compulsively readable account of these wars from a fresh and authoritative perspective.

About the Author

DANIEL P. BOLGER completed thirty-five years in the U.S. Army, retiring as a lieutenant general in 2013. He graduated from The Citadel and earned his master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Chicago. He commanded the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team in Iraq in 2005–06, 1st Cavalry Division in Baghdad in 2009–10, and NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan in 2011–13. His military awards include five Bronze Star medals (one for valor) and the Combat Action Badge.

Praise For Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars

“Bolger’s honesty is refreshing…Recounting combat actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, those stories testify to the bravery, resourcefulness and resolve of the American soldiers.”
—Andrew J. Bacevich, New York Times Book Review   

Wall Street Journal


"I am glad to see someone of [Bolger's] caliber tackling this subject." 
—Tom Ricks, ForeignPolicy.com, author of Fiasco: The American Military Adventure In Iraq

“With vigorous, no-nonsense prose and an impressive clarity of vision, this general does not mince blame in this chronicle of failure.”
Kirkus, starred review 

Coverage from NPR