Michael R. Gordon is the chief military correspondent for The New York Times, where he has worked since 1985. He is the coauthor, with Lieutenant General Bernard E. Trainor, of The Generals' War. He has covered the Iraq War, the American intervention in Afghanistan, the Kosovo conflict, the Russian war in Chechnya, the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and the American invasion of Panama. He lives in the Washington, D.C., area. Bernard E. Trainor, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general, was a military correspondent for The New York Times from 1986 to 1990. He was director of the National Security Program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government from 1990 to 1996. Currently a military analyst for NBC, Trainor lives in Potomac Falls, Virginia.
Gordon, chief military corespondent for the New York Times, and NBC military analyst Trainor, retired from the Marine Corps, reportedly got special access for this behind-the-scenes account of preparing for war. With a 12-city tour. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
On one level, narrator Wasson's mostly neutral delivery is apt. The authors' dispassionate prose imparts their impeccably researched story of the 2003 Iraq invasion-from concept to insurgency. Sourced at the highest levels, Cobra II captures the fog of war and war planning. But Wasson's read too often feels routine, as if recounting a local board meeting. Because he renders the numerous players and backdrops with equal tones, differentiating between them can be a challenge. This style of narration creates an anti-tension when juxtaposed with the book's revelations that an invasion plan was being formed not long after September 11, despite administration denials. Strictly supervising the plan was defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who was intent on transforming the military into a lighter, leaner force. False assumptions, faulty intelligence, willful ignorance, personal politics and a lack of foresight all fed into the invasion strategy and subsequent messy outcome. During the audiobook's second half, which documents the march to Baghdad and enemy engagements, Wasson's energy picks up and he paints some impressive scenes of war. But in the end, a more vibrant read would have better complemented the significance of this penetrating work. Gordon reads the introduction and epilogue. Simultaneous release with the Pantheon hardcover. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"A work of prodigious research, Cobra II will likely become the benchmark by which other histories of the Iraq invasion are measured."--The New York Times "Magisterial . . . With mountains of fresh detail on the war's planning and progress with judicious analysis, Cobra II . . . will be hard to improve upon." --The Economist"Stands as the best account of the war to date offers an instructive lesson on the consequences of inadequate strategic planning."--The Washington Post Book World"Excellent Cobra II is everything that the Bush administration's plan for the war was not. It is meticulously organized, shuns bluff and bombast for lapidary statements, and is largely impervious to attack."--The New York Times Book Review"Remarkable a classic military history of the blow-by-blow fighting to Baghdad. Cobra II makes an irrefutable case for where the laurels lay for the victors and where the blame lies for the defeats."--The Portland Oregonian