I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be a great read. The book follows the events of the strategic review of Afghanistan before Obama reached the decision of deploying additional 30,000 troops that would be withdrawn in July 2011. I like how the book gives an insight into the decision making process in Obama’s white house, the tension between the WH and the Pentagon, the dynamic of the different people participating in the process, and the balance that Obama tried to strike between making progress in Afghanistan and ending the war to focus on domestic issues. You can see why the WH embraced the book, Obama comes off as a thoughtful leader who is engaged with the issue, familiar with the details (does his homework), open to different opinions, and doesn’t want to micro-manage. On the other hand, the Pentagon comes off as not boxing the President in, but rather failing to deliver the options he requested. However, there few things I didn’t really like including:
The storyline is not really of a story. It follows events rather than characters. So, there are a lot of gaps that left confuse sometimes.
There isn’t much background on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Places are not illustrated with maps or anything. Regardless, I really enjoyed the book.