Q&A: Scott Anderson and Jack Fairweather

Monday, November 17 @ 7PM

Jack Fairweather, in conversation with
Scott Anderson.

THE GOOD WAR: Why We Couldn’t Win the War or the Peace in Afghanistan
From an award-winning Middle East correspondent and war reporter, the definitive history of the war in Afghanistan

In its earliest days, the American-led war in Afghanistan appeared to be a triumph — a "good war" in comparison to the debacle in Iraq. It has since turned into one of the longest and most costly wars in U.S. history. The story of how this good war went so bad may well turn out to be a defining tragedy of the 21st century — yet as acclaimed war correspondent Jack Fairweather ex-plains, it should also give us reason to hope.  

In The Good War, Fairweather provides the first full narrative history of the war in Afghanistan, from the 2001 invasion to the 2014 withdrawal. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and months of reporting in Afghanistan, Fairweather traces the course of the conflict from its inception after 9/11 to the drawdown in 2014. In the process, he explores the righteous intentions and astound-ing hubris that caused the American strategy in Afghanistan to flounder, refuting the long-held notion that the war could have been won more troop and cash. Fairweather argues that only by accepting the limitations in Afghanistan — from the presence of the Taliban to the ubiquity of the opium trade to the country's unsuitability for rapid Western-style development — can Amer-ica help to restore peace in this shattered land.

A timely lesson in the perils of nation-building and a sobering reminder of the limits of Ameri-can power, The Good War leads readers from the White House situation room to American mili-tary outposts, from warlords' palaces to insurgents' dens, to explain how the U.S. and its allies might have salvaged the Afghan campaign — and how we must rethink other "good" wars in the future

“Fairweather’s richly-narrated history of the conflict is a soft-spoken but scathing indictment of military tactics and lack of preparation.” —Publishers Weekly

“A thorough, elegant reassessment of America's 'irresistible illusion.'” —Kirkus Reviews

“A remarkable account of the longest shooting war in American history. The Good War is the kind of book one would not ordinarily expect to see for decades, encyclopedic in sweep and yet rich with colorful detail. Jack Fairweather writes with respect but often damning insight. He seems to have digested everything written about the war, and to have talked with every player, open and clandestine. This timely, absorbing narrative captures the essence of an infuriating place, illustrating once again a seemingly unlearnable lesson: There are strict limits to what can be accomplished by force.” —Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War

“It has been America’s longest war, yet there is no real history of the conflict in Afghanistan. Now this war has finally found its chronicler. Jack Fairweather has reported deeply from the White House Situation Room to the deserts of Kandahar to tell a riveting story with an outsized cast of characters. It's a sweeping work of history written with great verve.” —Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbotta-bad
A former foreign correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and the Washington Post, Jack Fairweather won the British Press Award for his reporting on the Iraq invasion and is the author of A War of Choice. Fairweather is currently a Middle East editor and correspondent for Bloomberg News, and he lives in Istanbul with his wife and two daughters.

Scott Anderson is a war correspondent and novelist who has covered foreign conflicts on five continents over the past two decades. A contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine, his work has also appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, Harper’s, Outside, Men’s Journal and many other publications. Along with his journalism, he is the author of four non-fiction books, including The Man Who Tried to Save the World and, with his brother and fellow journalist Jon Lee Anderson, Inside The League and War Zones.

His first novel, Triage, was translated into eight languages, and his second novel, Moonlight Hotel was recently published by Doubleday.

A film inspired by his misadventures in Bosnia, in which he and several journalist friends were mistaken for a CIA hit squad, was made into The Hunting Party starring Richard Gere and Terrence Howard.

Scott is currently co-writing a screenplay with director Scott Elliott, under contract for Kennedy/Marshall Productions, based on his article, “Bringing It All Home,” (New York Times Magazine, May 29, 2006) about a Pennsylvania National Guard unit returning home from a tour in Iraq. He has also been contracted to write three screenplays based on his books or articles. 
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