"A well-told story and a must-read for those who want to understand the obstacles to success in Afghanistan."—Publishers Weekly
"In this personal account, analyst Douglas Grindle writes on spending two years in southern Afghanistan working for the United States Agency for International Development. . . . Grindle's book embodies Afghans' perspective to highlight the US's failure in adequately providing and directing aid, and its failure to empower local officials to build and maintain permanent institutions. Drawing from experiences on the ground, Grindle's book is illustrative of the realities of Afghanistan and the state the US has left it in."—Anijishnu Das, Middle East Journal
“The best book yet to explain what the civilians in Afghanistan at the district level actually were doing and trying to do. Highly readable: it contains much from which we could learn if we have the will to do so.”—Ambassador Ronald E. Neumann, author of The Other War: Winning and Losing in Afghanistan
“Douglas Grindle has gone more than the extra mile. Crisscrossing the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, we sometimes met in the most unlikely places, ranging from Mosul to our last encounter in a Stone Age village in the Afghan hinterlands. Grindle truly has been there, done that, and writes from rare experience.”—Michael Yon, former Green Beret, war correspondent, and author of Moment of Truth in Iraq and Danger Close
“Doug Grindle’s insightful understanding of the Afghan people and their trials and tribulation make this account a must-read. There is much to learn from those who would dare to enter this world. This lively account of the war in the villages is highly recommended and will not disappoint.”—Sam Striker, author of The Humanity of Warfare: Social Science Capabilities and the Evolution of Armed Conflict
“This is the story of a man who couldn’t look away. Douglas Grindle first traveled to Afghanistan as a reporter to cover the war; then he returned as an aid worker to help build the peace. For years he lived under its spell, enthralled by its mysteries, vigilant of its dangers, but ultimately uncertain if he was able to do any good. Much like the United States and its allies.”—Kevin Sites, associate professor of practice at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong, and author of Swimming with Warlords: A Dozen-Year Journey across the Afghan War?