A valuable insider’s look at the many-layered ramifications of the American-Iraqi tragedy of errors.

WARRIOR KING

THE TRIUMPH AND BETRAYAL OF AN AMERICAN COMMANDER IN IRAQ

A battalion commander who challenged army leadership and was punished for it scathingly indicts America’s miscalculations in Iraq.

West Point graduate and career soldier Sassaman was deployed in 2003 as battalion commander of the Fourth Infantry Division’s 1-8 Infantry in Iraq. From day one, he ran afoul of his superior officer, Colonel Fred Rudesheim, whose “filtered, innocuous, and risk-averse orders,” the author believed, contributed to the preventable killing of his men. Although a stickler for order, Sassaman calls himself a type-A personality who encouraged in his command the judicious “crossing of boundaries” in cases of life and death. Boastful of the success demonstrated by his battalion, he admits he had become “something of a warrior king in Iraq,” paving the way to career suicide by continually challenging the orders of his superior. Then, on the night of January 3, 2004, two of his men detained two Iraqi males in northern Samarra shortly after curfew and forced them to jump in the Tigris River. “A high school prank,” declares the author, who was in command but not present at the time; he repeats the soldiers’ assurances that they saw both men walking away from the river and points out that no body was found. Nonetheless, an investigation was conducted and Sassaman held accountable for the alleged drowning of one of the Iraqis. He got a “letter of reprimand under Article 15 proceeding,” which meant that he could be promoted to colonel but no higher. He might have been able to live with that, but an April 5 article in the Washington Post, with extensive quotes from Rudesheim, brought the incident to public attention, and Sassaman retired the following summer. “I thought we could win the war,” he writes. “But there is no war right now. It’s law enforcement, and we’re losing ten, fifteen soldiers a week to law enforcement.”

A valuable insider’s look at the many-layered ramifications of the American-Iraqi tragedy of errors.

Pub Date: May 27, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-37712-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2008

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sturdy companion to Michael Lieder and Jake Page’s Wild Justice (1997)—highly recommended for readers interested in Native...

COYOTE WARRIOR

ONE MAN, THREE TRIBES, AND THE TRIAL THAT FORGED A NATION

A solid case study in an emerging trend: American Indian lawyers’ use of the courts to extract rights and dollars hidden away in long-forgotten treaties.

When William Clark saw the fall run of salmon on the Columbia River, writes freelance journalist VanDevelder, he exclaimed that he could cross from bank to bank on their backs without ever touching water. In 1991, only a single salmon made the journey to an Idaho lake; it was “stuffed, shellacked, and mounted on a pine board and hung in the governor’s office in the Idaho statehouse in Boise.” Its fate aptly describes a subtext of VanDevelder’s narrative, for there was a time when Social Darwinists in the American government hoped that the Indians, dispossessed of their land and stripped of their traditions, would simply fade away. In 1945, that thinking seemed a factor in the US Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to create a vast diversion dam across the Missouri River in North Dakota, one that would flood lands claimed by the Arikara, Hidatsa, and Mandan peoples, who had helped Lewis and Clark during the winter of 1804–5 and regretted it ever since. The dam was built, despite the protestations of Indian delegations to the US Congress, displacing thousands of Indians—including the family of Raymond Cross, who would grow up to attend Yale Law and who would take a vigorous interest in redressing the wrongs visited on his people. So he has done, battling the likes of Justices Rehnquist and Scalia, whom Cross characterizes as “an ideological tag team and throwback to another century.” Despite setbacks, writes VanDevelder, Cross and other Indian attorneys have been hitting hard, reasserting Indian rights and throwing unschooled judges into confusion as “Federal courts are now routinely asked to sort through the myriad of conflicting conditions to divine what tribal leaders understood at the time [a given] treaty was made.”

A sturdy companion to Michael Lieder and Jake Page’s Wild Justice (1997)—highly recommended for readers interested in Native American issues.

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2004

ISBN: 0-316-89689-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2004

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A careful, informed analysis of the origins, progress and disposition of the complex, high-stakes legal disputes that find...

THE ROBERTS COURT

THE STRUGGLE FOR THE CONSTITUTION

In her first book, the National Law Journal’s longtime chief Washington correspondent examines the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, seven years after the appointment of the youngest chief justice since John Marshall.

Along with her credentials as a lawyer, Coyle brings 25 years of reporting on the high court to this careful unpacking of select, enormously consequential, 5-4 decisions, supplying useful and colorful context about the litigants, lawyers, politics and legal precedent. She’s especially good on the maneuvering of various special interest groups to identify, frame and shepherd particular cases through the legal system, all with a hopeful eye toward eventual Supreme Court review. These ingredients come together most successfully in her smooth discussion of the right to bear arms at issue in Heller, the most important Second Amendment case ever, her handling of two cases emerging from the racial diversity plans of school boards in Louisville and Seattle, and her treatment of the widely controversial Citizens United, where free speech and campaign finance law collided. Perhaps the court’s recent momentous ruling on the Affordable Health Care Act accounts for the deficiencies of this least-satisfying chapter. There’s a richer story to tell, and Coyle doesn’t appear to have all the goods. Otherwise, this is the best popular account so far of the Roberts-led court, about the varied background and clashing philosophies of the justices, the careful crafting of arguments to secure five votes, the court’s continually shifting center of gravity and the peculiar burden that rests with the chief justice. Coyle clearly disapproves of the court’s conservative bent, but she gives all sides a fair, respectful hearing and demonstrates her own reverence for the institution.

A careful, informed analysis of the origins, progress and disposition of the complex, high-stakes legal disputes that find their way to the court.

Pub Date: May 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4516-2751-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more