Fighting for Afghanistan

A Rogue Historian at War
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Published:September 15, 2011
By Sean M. Maloney (Author)

Fighting For Afghanistan is the third book in the Rogue Historian trilogy, taking Maloney’s story into the conflict in 2006, when the Taliban-led insurgency threatened to overwhelm the U.S.-led coalition in southern Afghanistan. This shift to near-conventional warfare, as opposed to the small-scale guerilla attacks and urban terrorism in Kandahar, caught everybody by surprise and forced a small, under-equipped Canadian battle group, supported by a Canadian-led multinational brigade consisting of American, British, Dutch, forces, into a desperate series of battles to protect the city and to prevent the collapse of British forces in neighboring Helmand province. The author arrived on the ground just as the situation spun out of control and he was able to capture, at all levels from infantry company to battle group to brigade headquarters, exactly what happened. This book explains the difficulties in balancing security and development, the challenges of operating in an austere, alien environment, and the human cost of counterinsurgency warfare in Afghanistan. Fighting For Afghanistan takes the reader through all of the moving parts and planning and then depicts how it played out on the field of battle. During the course of the action, the author became the first Canadian military historian to go into combat since the Korean War. The battles around Kandahar City in 2006 were the turning point in the Afghanistan war and this book is the first to explain events in detail from all three levels. This is the only account that shows the scope of the fighting in the south in this time period. Because of his close proximity to the action, the author was nearly killed on several occasions that summer during the fighting and he brings the intensity of this experience to his writing.

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Product Details
  • Hardback : 352 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (September 15, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 1591145090
  • ISBN-13: 9781591145097
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 0
  • "Fighting for Afghanistan is well written, well researched, and relevant for military audiences. For those who have served in Afghanistan, it will be particularly interesting.” — Air & Space Power Journal
  • “Dr. Sean Maloney’s Fighting for Afghanistan has captured a sense of the emotions that take place in warfare with a tactical “ground eye” view of the actions of Canadian forces in southern Afghanistan in 2006. An associate professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, the author has a keen eye for detail as a historian but still provides his personal outlook and range of emotions during a particularly difficult time in the Afghanistan war. Obviously he was granted extraordinary access to both the planning and execution of operations, gaining the perspectives of both senior leaders and soldiers on the ground…. Fighting for Afghanistan is well written, well researched, and relevant for military audiences. For those who have served in Afghanistan, it will be particularly interesting.” — Air Force Research Institute
  • “This book is an easy to read, enjoyable, well written and engaging piece....This reviewer confesses to not having read Mahoney’s first two installments of the trilogy, to this end, it can be said that Fighting for Afghanistan is a book which can be read as a stand-alone piece in itself, as well as being a gateway piece which compels the reader to find the predecessors and read up on Mahoney’s previous visits to the war zone. His 'rogue history' provides a compendium of anecdotes, lessons and commentary that would be beneficial for staff colleges and training institutions of armed forces around the world, even if to only provide a footnote in the study of modern warfare.”
    Headmark, the quarterly journal of the Australian Naval Institute, published out of the Australian Capital Territory
  • "Fighting for Afghanistan is written in an informal but highly readable style, and is interspersed with considerable humour. Maloney openly acknowledges that his story is highly personal and not ‘traditional narrative’. His esteem for his Canadian military colleagues is clearly evident throughout. He closes his acknowledgments by stating that ‘Fighting for Afghanistan is the best I can do to put you into the fight, so you can see our people in action in one of the toughest combat environments in the world’. Maloney’s book is just one of an ever growing number that contribute to providing different perspectives on the present war in Afghanistan. The fact that this particular perspective is provided by a ‘rogue historian’, from a nation that ‘punched above its weight’, makes it all the more valuable. — Australian Defence Force Journal
  • “This book is a masterful blend of embedded reporting, military history, and incisive analysis of the challenges of waging counter-insurgency (COIN) warfare in a 21st century coalition. Maloney effortlessly blends history, analysis, cogent observation, and first-person reporting to show just how difficult a time the Canadians had and what they were able to accomplish with the resources at hand. This book also serves as a scene-setter to understand why the U.S. had to send the majority of troops into these two provinces as the focus of the Afghanistan surge of 2010. The sourcing of additional material was good and the list of provided acronyms was crucial to avoid getting bogged down in an excess of jargon throughout the text. This is the final book of Maloney's trilogy on his embeds in Afghanistan and is the capstone to a well-written series of primary accounts of our NATO allies’ involvement in what will soon become America's longest war.” — Journal of Military History
  • “Overall, I found the book interesting and provocative. The writing is crisp and moves quickly. I strongly recommend the book to military historians, military practitioners, and the general public. In the end, it provides an excellent snapshot of COIN in the Afghan theatre of operation during Spring/Summer 2006.”

    Revue Militaire Canadienne / Canadian Military Journal, Spring 2012
  • “A book by a specialist that will be best appreciated by other specialists, but Maloney also provides general readers with a bird's-eye view of how the war in Afghanistan has been fought.”

    Kirkus Reviews
  • "Why NATO is all acronyms and no fight. A devastating portrait of combat directed by bureaucrats.”

    BING WEST, bestselling author of The Village, The Strongest Tribe, and The Wrong War
  • “Dr. Sean Maloney has written a compelling and engaging account, combining first-person combat experience with the insights of a military historian and an Afghan veteran. Maloney provides an in-depth account that goes to the heart of what really happened in the most intense fighting of the current Afghanistan conflict.”

    DAVID ISBY, author of Afghanistan: Graveyard of Empires
  • “Sean Maloney has produced another tour de force! His Fighting for Afghanistan shows the problems and pitfalls of coalition warfare using the philosophy of ‘fix the problem, not the blame.’ This is a first-rate, first-person, down-in-the-weeds account of coalition efforts in Afghanistan’s southland in 2006. Maloney writes contemporary history that reads well. His insight and concern for soldiers and humanity are evident behind his factual, often acerbic, but always enjoyable writing style. Encore, encore!”

    —LES GRAU, author and editor of The Soviet-Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost
  • “This is a superb micro-history of one part of a multiphase war—written not from 10,000 feet but from ground level—by a combat-trained historian who looks people, conflicts, personalities, and suffering in the eye . . . and spares the reader no vital fact or observation.”

    SENATOR HUGH SEGAL (Conservative, Ontario), former chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, twice chair of the Special Senate Committee on Anti Terrorism, and a Senior Fellow at the Queen's University School of Policy Studies

Sean M. Maloney is the Historical Advisor to the Chief of the Land Staff and is an Associate Professor of History at Royal Military College of Canada. He served in Germany as the historian for 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade, Canada’s Cold War NATO commitment in Europe. He is the author of nine books, including the controversial Canada and UN Peacekeeping: Cold War by Other Means and Learning to Love the Bomb: Canadian Nuclear Weapons and the Cold War. Dr. Maloney also has extensive research experience in the Balkans, Middle East, and particularly in Afghanistan where he has observed counterinsurgency operations in the field since 2003. He lives in Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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