The Operators by Michael Hastings
The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan

74%

11 Critic Reviews

Hasting's first-class, engrossing reportage reveals unsettling yet human flaws behind one of recent history's most lionized military figures...
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

From the author of The Last Magazine, a shocking behind-the-scenes portrait of our military commanders, their high-stake maneuvers, and the politcal firestorm that shook the United States.

In the shadow of the hunt for Bin Laden and the United States’ involvement in the Middle East, General Stanley McChrystal, the commanding general of international and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, was living large. His loyal staff liked to call him a “rock star.” During a spring 2010 trip, journalist Michael Hastings looked on as McChrystal and his staff let off steam, partying and openly bashing the Obama administration. When Hastings’s article appeared in Rolling Stone, it set off a political firestorm: McChrystal was unceremoniously fired.

In The Operators, Hastings picks up where his Rolling Stone coup ended. From patrol missions in the Afghan hinterlands to senior military advisors’ late-night bull sessions to hotel bars where spies and expensive hookers participate in nation-building, Hastings presents a shocking behind-the-scenes portrait of what he fears is an unwinnable war.  Written in prose that is at once eye-opening and other times uncannily conversational, readers of No Easy Day will take to Hastings’ unyielding first-hand account of the Afghan War and its cast of players.   
 

About Michael Hastings

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Michael Hastings was born in Burlington, Vermont on January 28, 1980. He graduated from New York University in 2002. At the age of 25, Newsweek assigned him to cover the war in Iraq. While there, he lost his girlfriend, Andi Parhamovich, who died in an ambush by Sunni extremists. Shortly after returning home, he turned his Iraq experiences and Parhamovich's death into a draft of the book, I Lost My Love in Baghdad. He later became a reporter for Rolling Stone and the website BuzzFeed. During his career, he wrote an expose of American drone attacks, interviewed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and looked at the Army's use of "psychological operations" to influence sitting senators. His 2010 Rolling Stone profile of General Stanley McChrystal, The Runaway General, exposed the general and his staff's disdain for their superiors, ranging from National Security Advisor James L. Jones to Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama. He won the George Polk Award for magazine reporting and later wrote a book about McChrystal and his time in the war zone entitled The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan. He also reported on the presidential campaigns of 2008 and 2012. He died in a car crash on June 18, 2013 at the age of 33.
 
Published January 5, 2012 by Plume. 424 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, War, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jan 29 2012
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Critic reviews for The Operators
All: 11 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Excellent
on Jan 15 2012

An exciting and enlightening exposé of the war in Afghanistan, the dangers of concentrated power and the public’s need to know.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Feb 06 2012

Hasting's first-class, engrossing reportage reveals unsettling yet human flaws behind one of recent history's most lionized military figures...

Read Full Review of The Operators: The Wild and T... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

WSJ online

Below average
on Jan 05 2012

In contrast to many of the other correspondents covering Afghanistan, Mr. Hastings has not invested the effort required to comprehend the war's complexities.

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Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by MARK BRUNSWICK on Feb 18 2012

Obviously aware of the concerns over his reporting, Hastings offers an explanation, claiming the McChrystal crowd knew exactly what they would get from him: a portrait of a rock star general with a healthy disregard for authority...Whether Hastings can build a career as the outsider looking in will remain to be seen.

Read Full Review of The Operators: The Wild and T... | See more reviews from Star Tribune

LA Times

Below average
on Jan 10 2012

Hastings' prose tends to hyperbole and profanity. He mocks or derides top diplomats...and others with a biting mix of gossip, blind quotes and snarky asides.

Read Full Review of The Operators: The Wild and T... | See more reviews from LA Times

The Daily Beast

Good
on Jan 17 2012

Hastings is to be commended for the transparency of his own views in this book—he pursues facts and understanding, but doesn’t feign neutrality.

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Cleveland.com

Good
on Dec 21 2012

...a profane, manic, messy, bloody and deeply cynical account of General Stanley McChrystal's year...as commander of the war in Afghanistan.

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Foreign Affairs

Good

The book addresses important issues about how reporters should relate to the military and the wars it fights...

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Red Room

Above average
on Feb 03 2012

Much of "The Operators" is more gossipy juice connected to the Rolling Stone piece.

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Military.com

Good
on Feb 03 2012

Whether or not they wear the uniform, Americans should figure out for themselves why we are still in Afghanistan. "The Operators" presents a slew of reasons for getting out.

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Red Dirt Reporter

Good
on Mar 27 2012

The Operators demonstrates that...even the top brass is not immune from the pitfalls that bedevil those who fight pointless wars.

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Reader Rating for The Operators
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