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American Cipher

Bowe Bergdahl and the U.S. Tragedy in Afghanistan
Spieldauer: 12 Std. und 46 Min.
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The explosive narrative of the life, captivity, and trial of Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier who was abducted by the Taliban and whose story has served as a symbol for America's foundering war in Afghanistan.

"A riveting journalistic account of Bowe Bergdahl's disastrous - and weirdly poignant - choice to walk off his military base in Afghanistan.... A spectacularly good book about an incredibly painful and important topic." (Sebastian Junger, author of Tribe and War)

Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl left his platoon's base in Eastern Afghanistan in the early hours of June 30, 2009. Since that day, easy answers to the many questions surrounding his case - why did he leave his post? What kinds of efforts were made to recover him from the Taliban? And why, facing a court martial, did he plead guilty to the serious charges against him? - have proved elusive.

Taut in its pacing but sweeping in its scope, American Cipher is the riveting and deeply sourced account of the nearly decade-old Bergdahl quagmire - which, as journalists Matt Farwell and Michael Ames persuasively argue, is as illuminating an episode as we have as we seek the larger truths of how the US lost its way in Afghanistan. 

The audiobook tells the parallel stories of a young man's halting coming of age and a nation stalled in an unwinnable war, revealing the fallout that ensued when the two collided: a fumbling recovery effort that suppressed intelligence on Bergdahl's true location and bungled multiple opportunities to bring him back sooner; a homecoming that served to deepen the nation's already-vast political fissure; a trial that cast judgment on not only the defendant, but most everyone involved. The audiobook's beating heart is Bergdahl himself - an idealistic, misguided soldier onto whom a nation projected the political and emotional complications of service.  

Based on years of exclusive reporting drawing on dozens of sources throughout the military, government, and Bergdahl's family, friends, and fellow soldiers, American Cipher is at once a meticulous investigation of government dysfunction and political posturing, a blistering commentary on America's presence in Afghanistan, and a heartbreaking story of a naive young man who thought he could fix the world and wound up the tool of forces far beyond his understanding.

©2019 Matt Farwell and Michael Ames (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Kritikerstimmen

“Farwell and Ames convincingly rebut popular misconceptions about the then-23-year-old Private Bowe Bergdahl’s desertion of his post in Afghanistan in 2009.... The authors humanize their subject with a detailed look at his life before Afghanistan.... The engrossing narrative intertwines Bergdahl’s odyssey with an effective critique of U.S. policy in Afghanistan under both Republican and Democratic administrations. Readers looking for a nontechnical history of America’s longest war and a nuanced look at Bergdahl’s story will find that here.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Farwell and Ames recount the complete Bergdahl saga and much of the sorry tale of America’s Afghanistan involvement. They move effortlessly between Bergdahl’s life...and the larger picture of the war and the American political divisions over it.... Farwell and Ames make a great case for the continuum of history, depicting Afghanistan as a graveyard of empires in which the U.S. is the latest victim of a military quagmire and showing how one soldier’s actions can polarize an entire nation. American Cipher sets the record straight on a tragic subject and will strongly appeal to a wide audience.” (Booklist

“After his capture by Islamic terrorists, during five years of imprisonment at undisclosed locations across the border of Pakistan, every moment in Bowe Bergdahl’s existence became fodder for controversy at an international level. The authors present compelling, convincing evidence that addresses each specific controversial element.... An unsettling and riveting book filled with the mysteries of human nature.” (Kirkus

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