Baghdad at Sunrise


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A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq

Peter R. Mansoor

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A gripping personal account of success and failure in Iraq during the crucial first year after the fall of the Ba’athist regime

This compelling book presents an unparalleled record of what happened after U.S. forces seized Baghdad in the spring of 2003. Army Colonel Peter R. Mansoor, the on-the-ground commander of the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division—the “Ready First Combat Team”—describes his brigade’s first year in Iraq, from the sweltering, chaotic summer after the Ba’athists’ defeat to the transfer of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government a year later. Uniquely positioned to observe, record, and assess the events of that fateful year, Mansoor now explains what went right and wrong as the U.S. military confronted an insurgency of unexpected strength and tenacity.

Drawing not only on his own daily combat journal but also on observations by embedded reporters, news reports, combat logs, archived e-mails, and many other sources, Mansoor offers a contemporary record of the valor, motivations, and resolve of the 1st Brigade and its attachments during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Yet this book has a deeper significance than a personal memoir or unit history. Baghdad at Sunrise provides a detailed, nuanced analysis of U.S. counterinsurgency operations in Iraq, and along with it critically important lessons for America’s military and political leaders of the twenty-first century.

Peter R. Mansoor is the General Raymond Mason Chair of Military History, Ohio State University. A recently retired U.S. Army colonel, he served as executive officer to Commanding General David H. Petraeus, Multi-National Force–Iraq (2007–8); as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Strategy Group that proposed the surge strategy in Iraq (2006); as founding director of the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center (2006); and as Commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, in Baghdad (2003–4). He lives in Columbus, OH.

Baghdad at Sunrise is a masterful account of command in counterinsurgency operations. Colonel Peter Mansoor's superb description of his brigade's experiences during our first year in Iraq is a must read for soldiers, scholars, and policymakers alike—and all would do well to examine the lessons he draws from his experiences.”—David H. Petraeus, General, US Army

“This book will be read by students at military academies and war colleges for years to come. It also speaks to general readers interested in Iraq, in the voices of our soldiers, and in understanding the problems we faced and those we created, without the hyperbole and politicization of most first-person accounts of the early years of this conflict.”—Frederick W. Kagan, American Enterprise Institute

"This is the best personal memoir of the Iraq War that I have seen."—Conrad Crane, lead author of the Army/Marine Corps Field Manual 3-24, Counterinsurgency 

“A moving, insightful, and unique account of a combat brigade's experience in Iraq crafted by a gifted soldier-historian—a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how the U.S. military is coping with counterinsurgency warfare in the 21st century.”—H. R. McMaster, author of Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam

"The Iraq war has produced many good books by sergeants and lieutenants, but few notable memoirs by senior officers. Finally, in Baghdad at Sunrise, Colonel Mansoor gives us an account of a year's combat in the Iraqi capital as seen by a brigade commander. What's more, he brings the eye of a trained historian to the task. He is candid about both the successes and the failures of the U.S. military. Read it."—Thomas E. Ricks, military correspondent, The Washington Post, and author of Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq

“Colonel Mansoor has provided us with an exceptional memoir from mid-level of the tragic course of post-conflict operations in Iraq.  It represents an account by a first-rate soldier and perceptive historian that is a must read for anyone interested in what really happened.”—Williamson Murray, author of A War To Be Won: Fighting the Second World War

"This is a unique contribution to the burgeoning literature on the Iraq war, analyzing the day-to-day performance of a U.S. brigade in Baghdad during 2004-2005. Mansoor uses a broad spectrum of sources to address the military, political and cultural aspects of an operation undertaken with almost no relevant preparation. . . . The critique is balanced, perceptive and merciless. . . . He presents an eloquent critique of the armed forces' post-Vietnam neglect of counterinsurgency and makes a strong case for integrating military forces with civilian experts who can aid reconstruction in counterinsurgency operations."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"In reportage that crackles with the gunfire of street fighting, then segues into candid reflections on America's military doctrines and policies, Mansoor draws readers directly into the tension of the Iraqi conflict. . . . A sober and balanced perspective."—Booklist (starred review)

Listed in "Hot independent press and university press titles for the fall," Publishers Weekly

"Mansoor won a prestigious military-history award for his book The GI Offensive in Europe. Baghdad at Sunrise seems all but certain to net him another."—Douglas Porch, Bookforum

"Peter Mansoor's extraordinarily valuable Baghdad at Sunrise . . . is destined to be studied in war colleges for generations. . . . Baghdad at Sunrise is a far better guide to counterinsurgency warfare than the official manual published by the Army and Marines. . . . This book has more intellectual integrity and utility."—Ralph Peters, New York Post

"The poetically titled Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq takes discussion of foreign policy down to the nitty-gritty of operational reality. Doubly an expert, Colonel Peter Mansoor has previously authored a book on the American infantry in World War II, but in this book the military historian turns on himself."—Benjamin Lytal, New York Sun (Fall Books Preview)

"Baghdad at Sunrise is both good literature and good history. . . . [Mansoor's] style is crisp, clear, and understated. . . . He tells his story from his viewpoint without judging others in the absence of unimpeachable evidence, and even then, lets the reader draw his own conclusions."—COL Gregory Fontenot, Military Review

"This is an exceptional memoir that decades from now will still be ranked as an insightful but especially candid history of the war. . . . It will appeal to general readers looking for intimate details and honest assessments on a daily basis from a commander's lens. It is highly recommended for prospective military leaders as part of their preparation for higher command. Simply stated, it is an impressive account that all prospective brigade, regimental and battalion commanders should read."—Frank Hoffman, Small Wars Journal

"Any Iraq combat memoir blurbed as a 'must read' by General David Petraeus deserves serious attention. . . . A valuable addition to the literature of the war. Mansoor's great strength as an author is his insight into the nature of insurgent warfare in Iraq and the tactics required to defeat it—subjects on which he brings impressive credentials to bear. . . . Mansoor offers concrete suggestions for defeating future insurgencies."—Jacob Laksin, City Journal

"A stirring account. . . . Baghdad at Sunrise candidly portrays [Mansoor's] divisions failures as well as its successes."—Colonel Gordon W. Keiser, Proceedings

"Excellent. . . . The great strength of Mansoor's detailed account of his year in Iraq is his careful critique of what went wrong. . . . By combining a scholar's perspective and a military commander's boots-on-the-ground experience, Mansoor renders an account of the first year of the Iraqi insurgency that is at once compelling and instructive."—Tom Miller,

"Col. Mansoor displays the knowledge of a soldier alongside the narrative gifts of a true historian, weaving dramatic events together, capturing the thoughts and emotions of street-level fighters, and describing Iraqi society as it tries to emerge from the maelstrom of war."—Mark Moyar, Wall Street Journal

"Mansoor's unflinching new account . . . is nearly unique, because his position was rare among military memoirists. . . . He tells the story of that fateful first year in Iraq from the point of view of one who saw decisions being made at the highest echelons, yet led soldiers in executing those orders day by day."—Bill Murphy, Washington Post

"This is a moving, clear, lucid and extremely valuable account of midlevel operations in Iraq in the early, crucial stages of the insurgency, with many valuable lessons. . . . As a memoir, Col. Mansoor's book is honest, moving and exceptionally readable. It is worth purchasing for its 'Reflections' chapter at the end alone, which is filled with eminent good sense about how to really fight counterinsurgency campaigns. . . . Col. Mansoor has produced a first-class memoir and analysis that richly deserves the high praise it already has received."—Martin Sieff, Washington Times

"The last twelve pages alone—'reflections'—are worth the priceof the book. . . . Much rides on whether U.S. officials understand the lessons that Mansoor so eloquently lays bare."—Michael Rubin, Middle East Quarterly

Winner of the 2009 Ohioana Book Award in the nonfiction category, sponsored by the Ohioana Library.
ISBN: 9780300158472
Publication Date: September 29, 2009
416 pages, 5 11/16 x 8 15/16
25 b/w photos in insert; 4 maps in text

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