Skip to comments.Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground (Must Read Book)
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 Americanot to mention Iraqto 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 insiders 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 Americas 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 sailorsall the cultural repositories of Americas 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 Americas 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 Americas 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 its like to live with the grunts day to day.
America is not an imperialist nation and I resent the insult from Kaplan.
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.
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.
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.
Kaplan is a great writer, regardless of his "imperial" perceptions.
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.
Better luck next time.
I just finished reading the chapter on Col. Wilhelm & Mongolia tonight. Really good.
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."
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