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The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War Hardcover – August 31, 2021

4.7 out of 5 stars 908 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews


"Fast-paced and vivid... chock-full of telling quotes"
The New York Times Book Review

“Craig Whitlock has forged a searing indictment of the deceit, blunders and hubris of senior military and civilian officials, with the same tragic echoes of the Vietnam conflict. The American dead, wounded and their families deserved wiser and more honorable leaders.” 
— Tom Bowman, NPR Pentagon correspondent

"The excellent new book... Bombshell revelations... [and] damning evidence of things we already intuited.” 
The Washington Post

“At once page-turning and rigorous, The Afghanistan Papers makes a lasting and revelatory contribution to the record of America's tragic management of our longest war. In transparent and nuanced detail, Whitlock chronicles how American leaders and commanders undermined their country's promises to the Afghans who counted on them and to the U.S. troops who made the ultimate sacrifice after 9/11.”
— Steve Coll, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ghost Wars and Directorate S

The Afghanistan Papers is a gripping account of why the war in Afghanistan lasted so long. The missed opportunities, the outright mistakes and more than anything the first-hand accounts from senior commanders who only years later acknowledged they simply did not tell the American people what they knew about how the war was going.” 
— Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon correspondent

"Whitlock is unsparing in his assessment of presidents Bush, Obama and Trump, as well as U.S. military leaders, saying all failed to level with the American public....Whitlock's book is based on hundreds of ‘lessons learned’ interviews conducted privately by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. ...The candid interviews are revealing.” 

"A hallmark achievement of primary source reporting....The Afghanistan Papers reminds readers of the power of reportage built on documented evidence with names attached."
The Daily Beast

“Craig Whitlock's new book The Afghanistan Papers is essential reading on this topic."
— Newt Gingrich, Newsweek

“A damning account of America’s longest war that reveals what top generals and government officials really knew about the cost and futility of the mission. Whitlock puts the pieces together in a way nobody has before, bringing us the most comprehensive, inside story of this conflict ever told.”
— Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan

The Afghanistan Papers is an autopsy of America’s folly into central Asia. It chronicles years of recklessness and bad decision-making that the nation is still grappling with today. This book is one part indictment of mission creep and American hubris, and one part warning to future leaders.” 
— Kevin Maurer, co-author of The New York Times bestsellers No Easy Day and American Radical

“Like the Pentagon Papers of the Vietnam War, The Afghanistan Papers expose decades of deceit and the persistence of an American brand of imperialism. Examined by the sharp eye of Craig Whitlock, this history provides ample evidence that citizens should finally reject the baseless claim that U.S. military power is a unique force for good in the world.” 
 Christian G. Appy, author of American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity 

"An unputdownable account of imperial hubris, blundering and deception." — The Spectator

"A damning, gut-punch account of a misguided — and misrepresented — military debacle."
Washington Independent Review of Books

“Impressively documented... By this authoritative account, the Afghanistan War has been a colossal failure that should have been ended years ago.” 
 Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Searing... Rigorously detailed... this is a heartbreaking look at how America’s leaders 'chose to bury their mistakes and let the war drift.'” 
— Publishers Weekly

"An important, timely account."
— Booklist (starred review)

About the Author

Craig Whitlock is an investigative reporter for The Washington Post. He has covered the global war on terrorism for the Post since 2001 as a foreign correspondent, Pentagon reporter, and national security specialist. In 2019, his coverage of the war in Afghanistan won the George Polk Award for Military Reporting, the Scripps Howard Award for Investigative Reporting, the Investigative Reporters and Editors Freedom of Information Award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for international reporting. He has reported from more than sixty countries and is a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The Washington Post has built an unparalleled reputation in its coverage of American politics and related topics. The paper’s circulation, prominence, and influence continue to grow.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster (August 31, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1982159006
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1982159009
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.24 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 908 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
908 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on August 31, 2021
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Reviewed in the United States on August 31, 2021
95 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on September 7, 2021
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Top reviews from other countries

Liam Foley
5.0 out of 5 stars Hubris and greed, the foundation of American humiliation.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2021
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3 people found this helpful
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Rajiv Chopra
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Laid Out. Intriguing. Good to Read
Reviewed in India on September 12, 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars No second thought, must read this book on declassified papers of US
Reviewed in India on October 2, 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars No second thought, must read this book on declassified papers of US
Reviewed in India on October 2, 2021
Many declassified papers and interviews to clean up the muddied water created in last 20 years of US in Afghanistan. An Eye opener.
Very well researched book. Kudos to the author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gli errori raccontati dai partecipanti politici e militari
Reviewed in Italy on September 7, 2021
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Cliente Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars ok
Reviewed in Spain on November 26, 2021
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