Michael R. GordonSep 21, 2022
Degrade and Destroy
The Inside Story of the War Against the Islamic State, from Barack Obama to Donald Trump
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2022
In Degrade and Destroy: The Inside Story of the War Against the Islamic State, from Barack Obama to Donald Trump (FSG, 2022), Wall Street Journal national security correspondent Michael R. Gordon reveals the strategy debates, diplomatic gambits, and military operations that shaped the struggle against the Islamic State. With extraordinary access to top U.S. officials and military commanders and to the forces on the battlefield, Gordon offers a riveting narrative that ferrets out some of the war's most guarded secrets.
Degrade and Destroy takes us inside National Security Council meetings at which Obama and his top aides grapple with early setbacks and discuss whether the war can be won. It also offers the most detailed account to date of how President Donald Trump waged war--delegating greater authority to the Pentagon but jeopardizing the outcome with a rush for the exit. Drawing on his reporting in Iraq and Syria, Gordon documents the closed-door deliberations of U.S. generals with their Iraqi and Syrian counterparts and describes some of the toughest urban battles since World War II. As Americans debate the future of using force abroad, Gordon's book offers vital insights into how our wars today are fought against militant foes, and the enduring lessons we can draw from them.
Michael R. Gordon is the national security correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and former chief military correspondent for The New York Times.
Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network (Twitter: @caleb_zakarin).