For readers of War by Sebastian Junger, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch, and The Forever War by Dexter Filkins: The Dogs Are Eating Them Now is a raw, uncensored account of the war in Afghanistan from a brilliant young reporter who for several years was the only Western journalist brave enough to live full-time in the dangerous southern region.
The Dogs are Eating Them Now is a highly personal narrative of our war in Afghanistan and how it went dangerously wrong. Written by a respected and fearless former foreign correspondent who has won multiple awards for his journalism (including an Emmy for the video series "Talking with the Taliban") this is a gripping account of modern warfare that takes you into back alleys, cockpits and prisons--telling stories that would have endangered his life had he published this book while still working as a journalist.
From the corruption of law enforcement agents and the tribal nature of the local power structure to the economics of the drug trade and the frequent blunders of foreign troops, this is the no-holds-barred story from a leading expert on the insurgency. Smith draws on his unmatched compassion and a rare ability to cut through the noise and see the broader truths to give us a bold and candid look at the Taliban's continued influence--and at the mistakes, catastrophes and ultimate failure of the West's best intentions.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In a Kabul hotel room, a young, idealistic journalist snapped a photo of himself in a flak jacket and proudly decided that he looked “like a real war correspondent.” Over the next six years, Graeme Smith’s self-professed naïveté faded as he came face-to-face with endless corruption and cruelty while reporting for The Globe and Mail in Afghanistan. Filled with vivid anecdotes and a snowballing sense of dread and hopelessness, The Dogs Are Eating Them Now—a finalist for the 2013 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction—is hard-hitting and enlightening. Smith takes the reader behind the headlines, offering an unflinching, even-handed snapshot of the avarice, violence, and opportunism shattering the troubled nation.
Smith, a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group and former Globe and Mail reporter, sojourns in the strife-torn city of Kandahar to offer gripping and disheartening testimonies to the hell of war and the resilience of foreign correspondents. In 2005, one year before the American-led "surge," the impressionable Smith arrived in Afghanistan's war-ravaged south, smitten by the romance of war reporting. His na vet is quickly shattered by the complexities of the clan-riven country, which is tethered to its ancient culture and hostile to the American-led mission to eradicate the Taliban. It's a timely story of the perils of reporting from a region deeply inhospitable to Westerners. Kidnapping is an ever-present threat, and Smith adopts a dizzying menu of defenses after his office is raided by unknown gunmen. These obstacles make his stories about prisoner abuse, the Canadian role in the surge, and meetings with Taliban fighters all the more remarkable. Yet it's the stir created by Smith's reporting on the opium trade's "toxic triangle" of drug dealers, Afghan government officials, and the Taliban that finally forces him out of the country. "Troop surges didn't work; the mission was a debacle," Smith writes, but he champions further investment in the region. Photos.