Informed by over three hundred hours of frontline footage with British, American and Afghan troops, critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ben Anderson (Holidays in the Axis of Evil, HBO, Panorama and Dispatches) provides a gripping account of the Afghanistan war in Helmand province. The only journalist to have witnessed every Afghan military campaign under Obama, Anderson charts the progress of the President’s counter-insurgency strategy, the so-called ‘Good War’, and details how it has descended into a quagmire, with ever-increasing levels of violence.
This book reveals the disturbing chasm between official rhetoric and the situation on the ground. Embedded with UK and US troops for five years, Anderson witnessed first-hand IED explosions, day long gun fights, lethal sniper battles, UK and US casualties, civilian deaths and Taliban fighters who melt into the local population. The definitive book on the struggle for Helmand, No Worse Enemy is a bold and frightening insight into our longest war of modern times.
“Ben Anderson is the bravest journalist I know. Anyone interested in what life is really like on the front line in Afghanistan should read this book.”
“Ben Andersons’s reporting plunges the reader into the reality of the war in Afghanistan in all its horror. His courage, even perhaps at times foolhardiness, led him to go on patrols with British and American forces, risking his life as they risked theirs. The stories he brings back are as vivid an account of the war and its almost insurmountable difficulties as any I have read. Anyone who wants to know what the front line is like and the dangers our troops face every day should read this book. It is a tour de force.”
David Dimbleby, the BBC
“An admirable piece of reportage about the war in Afghanistan. On the one hand, No Worse Enemy is an embedded reporter’s narrative of life on the frontline. Anderson tells the story of that war admirably well, in clear, clean prose that is refreshingly devoid of gung-ho hyperventilation. Not content to merely chronicle the lives of the soldiers, he keeps an acute eye cast towards the Afghans he encounters in an effort to determine what it all means to them. The result is an unusually independent-minded, unflinchingly honest, and ultimately bleak portrayal of a doomed war effort. Anderson deserves great credit for his achievement, made possible, evidently, by abundant reservoirs of sincerity, compassion and personal courage.”
Jon Lee Anderson, the New Yorker
“Ground truth about the Afghan war, from a brave and exceptionally honest reporter, who spent time with US Marine grunts and British Grenadier Guardsmen, and tells us what he saw and heard and felt. Essential reading for anyone who wants to know what is really going on in Helmand”.
Sir Sherard Cowper Coles, former British Ambassador and Special Representative to Afghanistan and author Cables from Kabul
“Similar to Michael Herr’s high-octane Vietnam War classic, Dispatches, Anderson delivers a gritty, brutal, realistic account of British and American troops on the Afghan frontlines in a bitter counterpoint to all the policy concessions and peace chatter.”
“No Worse Enemy is more than just a brilliantly observed account of war in Afghanistan by an extraordinarily brave reporter. It’s also a hugely revealing portrait of the lives of soldiers at the very sharpest end of the conflict, full of the near-surreal contradictions, absurdities, passions and tragedies of an ill-fated campaign.”
Jason Elliot, author An Unexpected Light
“The most vivid combat footage from Afghanistan has been brought to us by Ben Anderson. He now brings all the honesty and savage immediacy of that film-work to the page. If you thought it was bad in Helmand you were wrong. In this excoriating book Anderson shows that it is much worse than that. As well as being by far the best book from the frontlines so far, it is the first which shows the real down and dirty story behind the headlines and upbeat assessments. A superbly written, considered piece of war reportage, it will stand comparison with the very best of the last half-century. Unlike any book so far, this one asks us to see the British and American soldiers through the eyes of the bewildered and all-too often bereaved eyes of Afghans. Of all the many accounts from the frontlines of Afghanistan this the one that will last. Anderson’s No Worse Enemy will do for Afghanistan what Michael Herr’s Dispatches did for Vietnam.”
Frank Ledwidge, bestselling author of Losing Small Wars: British Military Failure in Iraq and Afghanistan
“Each day seems to bring a new book on Afghanistan. In contrast to the usual pattern, Ben Anderson has written an account of his time in Helmand that is both extremely readable and useful in that he presents lots of the detail that usually gets lost. No Worse Enemy has the added benefit of the author having spent his time in the country on the ground, on patrol, taking risks and always patiently listening to what was going on around him. If you want to understand how the war in Helmand is really being fought, buy this book.”
Alex Strick van Linschoten, author or An Enemy We Created, My Life With The Taliban, Poetry of the Taliban
“A tactile, gripping first-hand account of the heroic yet tragic efforts of allied troops to drive the Taliban out of remote villages. Due to Anderson’s objectivity and empathy, the reader shares the frustration and bewilderment of both the villagers and the allied troops. A powerful read.”
Bing West, former US Assistant Secretary of Defense and prize-winning author of No True Glory (published 1st March 2012)
“Compelling and brilliant… Ben Anderson presents the reader with an extraordinary account of the tragedies in the Afghanistan war. This is a first hand look behind the headlines at the reality of the difficult challenges British and American Infantry face in modern, bloody counterinsurgency warfare operations.”
Regulo Zapata, Green Beret Special Forces (Ret) and author of Desperate Lands: The War on Terror Through the Eyes of a Special Forces Soldier
“No Worse Enemy provides the very rare first hand account of the realities of the war in Afghanistan, a gripping narrative derived not from just one or two trips to large forward operating bases, but from multiple embeds with a variety of different units in the most austere reaches of Afghanistan’s restive Helmand Province. The book provides candid and honest insight into what is really happening on the ground, an invaluable perspective for both military practitioners as well as those who have never set foot on a battlefield, but who want to know the real story. A great addition to the books out there on Afghanistan.”
Ed Darack, author of Victory Point: Operations Red Wings and Whalers – the Marine Corps’ Battle for Freedom in Afghanistan