PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
WINNER OF THE RIDENHOUR PRIZE
Anand Gopal's No Good Men Among the Living stunningly lays bare the workings of America's longest war and the truth behind its prolonged agony.
"Essential reading for anyone concerned about how America got Afghanistan so wrong. A devastating, well-honed prosecution detailing how our government bungled the initial salvo in the so-called war on terror, ignored attempts by top Taliban leaders to surrender, trusted the wrong people, and backed a feckless and corrupt Afghan regime . . . It is ultimately the most compelling account I've read of how Afghans themselves see the war." --The New York Times Book Review
In a breathtaking chronicle, acclaimed journalist Anand Gopal traces the lives of three Afghans caught in America's war on terror. He follows a Taliban commander, who rises from scrawny teenager to leading insurgent; a U.S.-backed warlord, who uses the American military to gain wealth and power; and a village housewife trapped between the two sides, who discovers the devastating cost of neutrality. Through their dramatic stories emerges a stunning tale of how the United States had triumph in sight in Afghanistan—and then brought the Taliban back from the dead.
A haunting ethnography of Afghanistan after the American invasion, journalist Gopal's nonfiction debut tells the stories of three individuals to create a picture of the situation in Afghanistan. Gopal spent hundreds of hours interviewing a Taliban commander, a member of the U.S.-backed Afghan government, and a village housewife. He presents a stirring critique of American forces who commanded overwhelming firepower, but lacked the situational knowledge to achieve their objectives. Men with the ear of American commanders often took advantage of their credulity to destroy their enemies, making little effort to determine their affiliations. Gopal writes of one hapless bus driver, who spent nearly five years in Guantanamo and was prohibited from presenting evidence that he was not a member of the Taliban, because there was "no accusation against " that suggested this affiliation. Heela, the housewife, has the most remarkable story of the three: in closing pages of the book she becomes a senator, unaware until winning that she was even in the running. Gopal reveals the fragility of the tenuous connection between intention and destiny in a war-torn land.