Blood, Metal and Dust: How Victory Turned into Defeat in Afghanistan and Iraq (Hardcover)

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Written by the author of the official British military analysis of the Iraq campaigns, Blood, Metal and Dust is the first authoritative military history of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to tell the detailed story of what happened on the ground.

From the high-ranking officer who wrote the still-classified British military analysis of the war in Iraq comes the authoritative history of two conflicts which have overshadowed the beginning of the 21st century. Inextricably linked to the ongoing “War on Terror,” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dominated more than a decade of international politics, and their influence is felt to this day.

Blood, Metal and Dust is the first military history to offer a comprehensive overview of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, providing in-depth accounts of the operations undertaken by both US and UK forces. Brigadier Ben Barry explores the wars which shaped the modern Middle East, providing a detailed narrative of operations as they unfolded. With unparalleled access to official military accounts and extensive contacts in both the UK and the US militaries, Brigadier Barry is uniquely placed to tell the story of these controversial conflicts, and offers a rounded account of the international campaigns which irrevocably changed the global geopolitical landscape.

About the Author


The International Institute for Strategic Studies is an influential independent international think tank. As Senior Fellow for Land Warfare, Ben Barry has written extensively for IISS publications including Survival, its journal, and Strategic Survey, its annual assessment of world affairs. He is one of the authors of the annual Military Balance, an authoritative assessment of global military affairs. He was the author of 'Combat and Capability: Military Trends since 9/11', published in the 2012 Military Balance. This flagship essay was a concise analysis of the decade of military conflict war from 2001 to 2011.
He left the British Army in October 2010. He wrote A Cold War: Frontline Operations in Bosnia describing his battalion's operational tour under both UN and NATO flags in the mid-1990s. The book was shortlisted for the British Army Book of the Year 2009. His final appointment was leading the British Army's analysis of the lessons of the Iraq campaign, which informs Blood, Metal and Dust.

Praise For…


“At one level Blood, Metal and Dust is a clear, dispassionate and succinct military history of the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it is much more important than that. As the US and UK turn their backs too quickly on both wars, they are in danger of disregarding the lessons and so failing to profit from their experiences. This book puts that right. Ben Barry is forthright in his criticisms and depressingly correct in his conclusions. Blood, Metal and Dust is essential reading.” —Sir Hew Strachan FBA FRSE, Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews and former Chichele Professor of the History of War at All Souls College, Oxford.

“With a soldier's eye for telling operational details, Ben Barry offers an authoritative, compelling and inevitably bleak account of the American and British campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.” —Sir Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies, King's College London

Blood, Metal and Dust is a seminal work that exploits newly available archival material to produce a riveting account of the allies' wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Armed with a keen scholarly eye and long military experience, Ben Barry dissects key decision points and pitched battles ranging from Tora Bora, Operation Medusa and Wanat in Afghanistan to the US Marines' Anbar campaign, Operation Viking Hammer in Kurdistan, and the Sadr City battle of 2008. His unsparing judgments should inform future war planning, making this book required reading for the policymaker and the practitioner alike.” —Linda Robinson, Senior International/Defense Researcher, RAND Corporation and author of 'Tell Me How This Ends'

"The telling of this particular audit of war is accomplished with precision and with dispassionate honesty. This book is required reading." - Mark Barnes, War History Online


"This is without doubt the best military history of the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan I have read to date." - Wavell Room

"Reminiscent of the many great narrative histories of Allied military operations during World War II, this book is absolutely a must read on these wars." - New York Journal of Books

Product Details
ISBN: 9781472831019
ISBN-10: 1472831012
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publication Date: November 24th, 2020
Pages: 528
Language: English