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Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground (Must Read Book)
Fresh Fiction ^

Posted on 09/21/2005 9:09:56 AM PDT by Valin

Imperial Grunts Robert Kaplan

“Imperial Grunts is vintage Robert Kaplan, combining a deep appreciation of history and wonderfully vivid writing with an infectious wanderlust.”

Military on the Ground Random House September 2005 448 pages ISBN: 1400061326 Hardcover $27.95

In this landmark book, Robert D. Kaplan, veteran correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and author of Balkan Ghosts, shows how American imperialism and the Global War on Terrorism are implemented on the ground, mission by mission, in the most exotic landscapes around the world.

Given unprecedented access, Kaplan takes us from the jungles of the southern Philippines to the glacial dust bowls of Mongolia, from the forts of Afghanistan to the forests of South America–not to mention Iraq–to show us Army Special Forces, Marines, and other uniformed Americans carrying out the many facets of U.S. foreign policy: negotiating with tribal factions, storming terrorist redoubts, performing humanitarian missions and training foreign soldiers.

In Imperial Grunts, Kaplan provides an unforgettable insider’s account not only of our current involvement in world affairs, but also of where America, including the culture of its officers and enlisted men, is headed. This is the rare book that has the potential to change the way readers view the men and women of the military, war, and the global reach of American imperialism today.

As Kaplan writes, the only way to understand America’s military is “on foot, or in a Humvee, with the troops themselves, for even as elites in New York and Washington debated imperialism in grand, historical terms, individual marines, soldiers, airmen, and sailors–all the cultural repositories of America’s unique experience with freedom– were interpreting policy on their own, on the ground, in dozens upon dozens of countries every week, oblivious to such faraway discussions. . . . It was their stories I wanted to tell: from the ground up, at the point of contact.”

Never before has America’s overarching military strategy been parsed so incisively and evocatively. Kaplan introduces us to lone American servicemen whose presence in obscure countries is largely unknown, and concludes with a heart-stopping portrait of marines in the first battle in Fallujah. Extraordinary in its scope, beautifully written, Imperial Grunts, the first of two volumes, combines first- rate reporting with the sensitivity and insights of an acclaimed writer steeped in history, literature, and philosophy, to deliver a masterly account of America’s global role in the twenty-first century.

• Imperial Grunts paints a vivid picture of how defense policy is implemented at the grassroots level.

• Kaplan travels throughout the world where U.S. forces are located. This is not just a book about Iraq or Afghanistan.

• Rather than debate imperialism, Kaplan relies on a keen understanding of history, philosophy, and in-the-field reporting to show how it actually works on the ground.

• Imperial Grunts escapes Washington and shows us what it’s like to live with the grunts day to day.

TOPICS: Books/Literature
There is a small problem with this book...putting it down. So be forewarned.
1 posted on 09/21/2005 9:09:57 AM PDT by Valin
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To: Valin

2 posted on 09/21/2005 9:13:08 AM PDT by Constantine XIII
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To: Valin

3 posted on 09/21/2005 9:13:36 AM PDT by Constantine XIII
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To: Valin
I'm not sure I want to buy a book that characterizes our fighting forces as "imperial grunts."

America is not an imperialist nation and I resent the insult from Kaplan.

4 posted on 09/21/2005 9:13:41 AM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave troops and their Commander-in-Chief)
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To: Valin
In the late 90s I was a First Army instructor at Ft. Benning for the Theater Specific Individual Replacement Training (T-SIRT) for soldiers deploying to Bosnia. I used Balkan Ghosts for much of my source material; it was an excellent read, as I expect this new book to be.
5 posted on 09/21/2005 9:16:48 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum.)
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To: Valin

America's War on Terror is not some imperialistic exercise. We're not an imperial power...that's left wing drivel. I don't think I'll be buying this book.

6 posted on 09/21/2005 9:19:24 AM PDT by pgkdan
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To: wideawake

Trust me. This is a very good book. If you want tgo find out what's going on, "on the ground" and in places that never make the news.

7 posted on 09/21/2005 9:21:59 AM PDT by Valin (The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right.)
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To: pgkdan

You're not going to find a whole lot of "left wing drivel" in this book. what you will find is stories of brave men doing what they can to protect this nation and spread freedom.

8 posted on 09/21/2005 9:24:53 AM PDT by Valin (The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right.)
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To: Valin

Kaplan is a great writer, regardless of his "imperial" perceptions.

9 posted on 09/21/2005 9:27:58 AM PDT by Travis McGee (--- ---)
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To: Valin
The Man Who Would be Khan

Another nugget from Kaplan. Great read about a Col. Tom Wilhelm and how he's attempting to build a modern army in Mongolia, among other things.

10 posted on 09/21/2005 9:56:29 AM PDT by Tallguy
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To: Valin
I don't care how good the book is. I will not spend money on a book whose title implies that we have an Imperial Military policy.

Better luck next time.

11 posted on 09/21/2005 9:59:30 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy
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To: Tallguy

I just finished reading the chapter on Col. Wilhelm & Mongolia tonight. Really good.

12 posted on 09/21/2005 8:16:21 PM PDT by Valin (The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right.)
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To: Valin; wideawake; pgkdan; ClearCase_guy

I finished Chapter One today. I now know a heck of a lot more about Yemen than I did before. I have a feeling I will be able to say the same about a lot of places where our military has a presence by the time I finish the book. I bought the book because I heard Kaplan on several decidedly non-leftist talk shows and was intrigued. The "Imperial" in the title just stoked my curiosity. Anyone who believes that our government has a responsibility to act against foreign threats to our security - including with military force when necessary - should not have a problem with Kaplan's definition of "imperialism."

13 posted on 10/30/2005 7:10:34 PM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
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