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The Gamble: General Petraeus and the…

The Gamble: General Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq (original 2009; edition 2010)

by Thomas E. Ricks (Author)

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"The Gamble," the story of Gen. David Petraeus and the American military, reveals that many high-level officials were opposed to the 2003 invasion.
Title:The Gamble: General Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq
Authors:Thomas E. Ricks (Author)
Info:Penguin Books (2010), Edition: Reprint, 416 pages
Collections:Read, Your library

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The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 by Thomas E. Ricks (2009)



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Interesting to read a book that was timely when written but it is three years later. Some of what Ricks thought would happen actually has happened but he partially missed on the new President. His evaluation of Mr Bush is typical and without substance -- not surprising.
Ricks clearly has great admiration for Generals Petraeus and Odiierno, and especially for various staff members. And yet, even after 10 chapters, he cannot say that The Surge did any good. Three years later, we do have a more peaceable country but which has lately turned the wrong way. It is hard to say what purpose this book serves. ( )
  DeaconBernie | Aug 8, 2011 |
I would be the first to admit my prejudices were against enjoying this book. I thought that with his other Pulitzer Prize effort it really should have easy to document a fiasco. However, I was pleasantly surprised that this is an even handed account of the gamble portion of the surge that turned out to have been successful. Petraeus does not appear until later in the work yet the General is largely credited fairly with turning the American effort in Iraq around. It is in fact one of the most dramatic and incredible re-castings of military strategy in history yet it is little appreciated just how momentous and impressive the re-thinking of a flawed effort was. Ricks has done an admirable job here in demonstrating how the principals turned the situation around.
  gmicksmith | Apr 1, 2010 |
i never intended to listen to this when i saw what it was about but i took it on a holiday as a spare. and since i never intended to spend so much time in the car(12 hours!) i ended up listening to it. so i was very prejudiced. but tada it was ok. i learned a lot. ( )
  mahallett | Aug 9, 2009 |
This is an excellent look at the US Army's reinvention of its counter-insurgency strategy and tactics after being on the brink of defeat in Iraq. It is a journalistic recent history which means that the main historical narrative is peppered with interviews and biographical or geographic sketches.

The author has excellent access to the principals and a lot of the documents and the result is a politically neutral look at a large organisation re-inventing its approach and radically rethinking what it is prepared to do and say to achieve some form of victory in the face of defeat.

Although the central figure in the narrative is David Petraeus the portrait is balanced and the contributions, influence and leadership of others is given due weight.

It's an interesting read to understand contemporary politics and the thinking behind recent military strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan. ( )
  rrees | Jul 29, 2009 |
For those not familiar with strategic and operational decision making, this book will enlighten. I appreciated it for its portrayal of the important players that were not necessarily in the headlines. Major General David Fastabend's important contributions to the surge strategy were especially insightful. ( )
  millerzl | Jul 5, 2009 |
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Surprise and initiative...are infinitely more important and effective in strategy than in tactics. --Carl von Clausewitz, ON WAR
For my wife, with love and gratitude.
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The first misbegotten phase of the American war in Iraq effectively came to an end on Saturday, November 19, 2005.
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"The Gamble," the story of Gen. David Petraeus and the American military, reveals that many high-level officials were opposed to the 2003 invasion.

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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