The Hardest Place: The American Military Adrift in Afghanistan’s Pech Valley

Random. Mar. 2021. 672p. ISBN 9780812995060. $35. HIST
The ongoing war in Afghanistan, which began in October 2001, has lasted longer than any other war in U.S. history. Journalist Morgan, who has reported on the U.S. military for the New York Times, Politico, and the Washington Post, has created a superbly researched and smoothly written account of America’s decadelong involvement in the remote Pech valley. Beginning with the arrival of U.S. troops in Kunar Province in 2002, Morgan proceeds to give a year-by-year accounting of what happened on the ground, and what daily life was like for U.S. soldiers, Taliban forces, and Afghan civilians. His stellar reporting explains how numerous rotations of American troops spent time seeking at first to find Osama Bin-Laden, and then, later, trying to establish a base of operations that could be used to improve the area’s infrastructure and stability. Morgan’s narrative, buttressed by countless interviews and over 100 pages of endnotes, describes the endlessly frustrating military experience of an American command, too often unclear as to their mission or their enemy.
VERDICT . Although this is a lengthy book, it reads easily and, within its accessible pages, readers can gain a better understanding of an ongoing, yet often forgotten war. An essential, thoroughly reported work.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing