Extended Audio Sample

Download Imperial Grunts: On the Ground with the American Military, from Mongolia to the Philippines to Iraq and Beyond... Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Imperial Grunts: On the Ground with the American Military, from Mongolia to the Philippines to Iraq and Beyond... Audiobook, by Robert D. Kaplan Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (633 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert D. Kaplan Narrator: John H. Mayer Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2005 ISBN: 9781415928592
Regular Price: $22.50 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $18.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

In this landmark book, Robert D. Kaplan, veteran correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and author of Balkan Ghosts, shows how American imperialism and the Global War on Terrorism are implemented on the ground, mission by mission, in the most exotic landscapes around the world.

Given unprecedented access, Kaplan takes us from the jungles of the southern Philippines to the glacial dust bowls of Mongolia, from the forts of Afghanistan to the forests of South America–not to mention Iraq–to show us Army Special Forces, Marines, and other uniformed Americans carrying out the many facets of U.S. foreign policy: negotiating with tribal factions, storming terrorist redoubts, performing humanitarian missions and training foreign soldiers.

In Imperial Grunts, Kaplan provides an unforgettable insider’s account not only of our current involvement in world affairs, but also of where America, including the culture of its officers and enlisted men, is headed. This is the rare book that has the potential to change the way readers view the men and women of the military, war, and the global reach of American imperialism today.

As Kaplan writes, the only way to understand America’s military is “on foot, or in a Humvee, with the troops themselves, for even as elites in New York and Washington debated imperialism in grand, historical terms, individual marines, soldiers, airmen, and sailors–all the cultural repositories of America’s unique experience with freedom–were interpreting policy on their own, on the ground, in dozens upon dozens of countries every week, oblivious to such faraway discussions. . . . It was their stories I wanted to tell: from the ground up, at the point of contact.”

Never before has America’s overarching military strategy been parsed so incisively and evocatively. Kaplan introduces us to lone American servicemen whose presence in obscure countries is largely unknown, and concludes with a heart-stopping portrait of marines in the first battle in Fallujah. Extraordinary in its scope, beautifully written, Imperial Grunts, the first of two volumes, combines first-rate reporting with the sensitivity and insights of an acclaimed writer steeped in history, literature, and philosophy, to deliver a masterly account of America’s global role in the twenty-first century.

• Imperial Grunts paints a vivid picture of how defense policy is implemented at the grassroots level.

• Kaplan travels throughout the world where U.S. forces are located. This is not just a book about Iraq or Afghanistan.

• Rather than debate imperialism, Kaplan relies on a keen understanding of history, philosophy, and in-the-field reporting to show how it actually works on the ground.

• Imperial Grunts escapes Washington and shows us what it’s like to live with the grunts day to day.

Praise for Imperial Grunts

“One of the most important books of the last several years. Robert Kaplan uses his prodigious energy and matchless reporting skills to takes us on to the front lines with the new warrior-diplomats who use weapons, imagination, and personal passion to protect and advance the interests of the United States. This is a generation every American should come to know.”
Tom Brokaw

“Robert Kaplan has brilliantly captured the story of today’s U.S. military operating in far-flung places on strange missions. Imperial Grunts is the most insightful and superbly written account of soldiering in the New World Disorder to date. It is a must read for all Americans.”
General Anthony C. Zinni, United States Marine Corps (Ret.)

“Kaplan infuses us with a sense of hope about the future. Through astonishing observations, truths, and stories, Imperial Grunts introduces a brand-new way of thinking about the enduring virtue of the American spirit.”
George Crile, author of Charlie Wilson’s War

“No recent book so well or so vividly portrays the challenges of the modern United States military. With an impressive grasp of the complexities of military missions worldwide, Robert Kaplan exposes the reader to the world of the modern soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine. A must read for both civilian and military leaders.”
General Barry R. McCaffrey, United States Army (Ret.), Bradley Distinguished Professor of International Security Studies, United States Military Academy

“Imperial Grunts is vintage Robert Kaplan, combining a deep appreciation of history and wonderfully vivid writing with an infectious wanderlust.”
Max Boot, Senior Fellow, National Security Studies, the Council on Foreign Relations, author of The Savage Wars of Peace


“Splendid! This is the finest work in print about today’s American fighting men and the challenges they face around the globe. Kaplan’s courage in researching this book under combat conditions is complemented by his integrity and great literary skill. Imperial Grunts simply could not be better.”
Ralph Peters, author of Beyond Baghdad Download and start listening now!

awsu

Quotes & Awards

  • One of the most important books of the last several years. Robert Kaplan uses his prodigious energy and matchless reporting skills to takes us on to the front lines with the new warrior-diplomats who use weapons, imagination, and personal passion to protect and advance the interests of the United States. This is a generation every American should come to know.”
  • Tom Brokaw
  • No recent book so well or so vividly portrays the challenges of the modern United States military. With an impressive grasp of the complexities of military missions worldwide, Robert Kaplan exposes the reader to the world of the modern soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine. A must read for both civilian and military leaders.”
  • General Barry R. McCaffrey, United States Army (Ret.), Bradley Distinguished Professor of International Security Studies, United States Military Academy
  • Robert Kaplan has brilliantly captured the story of today’s U.S. military operating in far-flung places on strange missions. Imperial Grunts is the most insightful and superbly written account of soldiering in the New World Disorder to date. It is a must read for all Americans.”
  • General Anthony C. Zinni, United States Marine Corps (Ret.)
  • Kaplan infuses us with a sense of hope about the future. Through astonishing observations, truths, and stories, Imperial Grunts introduces a brand-new way of thinking about the enduring virtue of the American spirit.”
  • George Crile, author of Charlie Wilson’s War
  • Imperial Grunts is vintage Robert Kaplan, combining a deep appreciation of history and wonderfully vivid writing with an infectious wanderlust.”
  • Max Boot, Senior Fellow, National Security Studies, the Council on Foreign Relations, author of The Savage Wars of Peace
  • Splendid! This is the finest work in print about today’s American fighting men and the challenges they face around the globe. Kaplan’s courage in researching this book under combat conditions is complemented by his integrity and great literary skill. Imperial Grunts simply could not be better.”
  • Ralph Peters, author of Beyond Baghdad

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew | 2/16/2014

    " I've read some less than favorable reviews of this book, mostly by those types who find the idea of American imperialism an unsavory concept. But the fact of the matter is the American empire is a reality and has been going strong for half a century. Rather than waste time equivocating over what does or does not equate to imperialsim, Kaplan dives right in visiting forward operating bases (FOBs) where Army Special Forces, FAOs, and Marines are projecting American soft power. Instead of occupying large bases around the world, the military's more forward-thinking strategists are favoring a small footprint strategy. There are now units in places like Columbia, the Philippines, Mongolia and Djibouti training local soldiers, leaving a favorable impression through efficient humanitarian projects, and collecting favors that can be called upon in the future should America need them. All of this was an aspect of American foreign policy that I was completely ignorant of and Kaplan deserves a lot of credit for bringing it to light and doing the footwork to really tell the stories of these impressive soldiers. He also spends the requisite time in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the problems he witnesses there are precisely because these new strategies aren't being applied on the military's two most important fronts. But most of all, Kaplan highlights just how brave and professional these imperial soldiers are and it gave me a new found respect for our country's military. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Bird | 2/7/2014

    " This seems like a good title until you realize that this must be Tom Clancy writing under a pseudonym. No overarching story, just a bunch of muscled well intentioned cookie cutter American good guys. Argh, what a disservice to actually understanding military men and women. Threw the book out my window half-way into it. What a poltroon. Reagan won the Cold War? Ass hat. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 2/7/2014

    " Read Kaplan's sequel, too, both ground level, first person stories of Americans with boots in 170+ nations, special forces who called buddies to get Kaplan his next access. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tina | 1/28/2014

    " I was very interested in listening to this book to learn more about how the military operates on the ground. It was very well done, but I stopped listening to it about a quarter of the way in because it was so detailed I got bogged down, and the specifics of what happened in the different countries (why our military was there) were hard for me to listen to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter Carver | 1/16/2014

    " good insights into current american military situation "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Griff | 12/26/2013

    " First-rate reporting on America's military in various venues around the world "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Danny Houghton | 12/20/2013

    " My favorite author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lance | 12/6/2013

    " Great no nonsense look at the US military on the ground around the world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alan | 12/3/2013

    " Very interesting account of how noncoms and junior officers are key in today's strategy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew Lubin | 4/9/2013

    " Will review the book when I'm done, but the difference in mindset and training between deployed Marines and Army is staggering. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aaron Torres | 3/9/2013

    " Amazing, many revelations and insights in this book on what is actually taking place with American foreign policy and why. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sy De Witt | 3/8/2013

    " I read most of the book, but for some reason I could not connect with it....I finally gave up on it and donated it to the local library.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Holly | 7/4/2012

    " Really well written - this MH book was written by an actual writer who has spent time in almost every corner of the world. Excellent. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nick | 4/2/2012

    " So far Mr. Kaplan has gone into great detail of his travels with US forces around the world. It's refreshing to hear about American soldiers and Marines overseas in South America and asia, especially when the focus is now only on the Middle East. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Johnathon | 12/2/2011

    " Great insight into past, present, and future conflicts and how unconventional warfare may be the only path to success. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tucansam | 3/11/2011

    " it was a good breakdown of some of the not so known operations that are in effect in the world. over all an eye opener that gave me better insight into the US Military Operations. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carsten | 1/15/2011

    " while the content is really interesting (at least so far) and i have to say i learn a ton reading this book, i think kaplan is way too wordy and could have conveyed the same content in half the size. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 danny | 10/4/2010

    " Very well written primer on America's "imperialistic" (hey, it's not all bad...) pretensions. Great history on the US armed forces in the Philipines and mordern-day glimpses of actions in Afganistan, Iraq, Mongolia, and others. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cwhittall | 9/11/2010

    " Some chapters are more interesting than others, but overall, I highly recommend this tour of Americal military operations worldwide, including the places we all hear about daily, and dozens of countries your average American has no idea we have a military presence in. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Miguel | 5/20/2010

    " Análisis preciso de como los cuerpos militares de USA ejecutan su política exterior en todas sus facetas desde la guerra hasta la ayuda solitaria de los soldados americanos en gran parte desconocida. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cwhittall | 3/7/2010

    " Some chapters are more interesting than others, but overall, I highly recommend this tour of Americal military operations worldwide, including the places we all hear about daily, and dozens of countries your average American has no idea we have a military presence in. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Griff | 11/3/2009

    " First-rate reporting on America's military in various venues around the world "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill | 7/22/2009

    " Great travelogue (I found myself thinking I was reading Paul Theroux) and insight on brave soldiers and marines on the ground. Excellent read - went fast. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carsten | 2/2/2009

    " while the content is really interesting (at least so far) and i have to say i learn a ton reading this book, i think kaplan is way too wordy and could have conveyed the same content in half the size. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew | 12/29/2008

    " Will review the book when I'm done, but the difference in mindset and training between deployed Marines and Army is staggering. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Johnathon | 12/17/2008

    " Great insight into past, present, and future conflicts and how unconventional warfare may be the only path to success. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Robert D. Kaplan

Robert David Kaplan is an American journalist, currently a National Correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly. His writings have also been featured in numerous other newspapers and publications, and his more controversial essays about the nature of US power have spurred debate in academia, the media, and the highest levels of government. A frequent theme in his work is the reemergence of cultural and historical tensions temporarily suspended during the Cold War.

About the Narrator

John H. Mayer is a writer, actor, and audiobook narrator. In 1973, he cowrote Radio Rocket Boy, an award-winning short film. He also has narrated dozens of audiobooks, including American Lion and The Wolf Tree, among many others.