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Extended Audio Sample No Good Men among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes, by Anand Gopal Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Anand Gopal Narrator: Assaf Cohen Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In a breathtaking chronicle, acclaimed journalist Anand Gopal traces in vivid detail the lives of three Afghans caught in America’s war on terror. He follows a Taliban commander, who rises from scrawny teenager to leading insurgent; a US-backed warlord, who uses the American military to gain personal wealth and power; and a village housewife trapped between the two sides, who discovers the devastating cost of neutrality. 

Through their dramatic stories, Gopal shows that the Afghan war, so often regarded as a hopeless quagmire, could in fact have gone very differently. Top Taliban leaders actually tried to surrender within months of the US invasion, renouncing all political activity and submitting to the new government. Effectively, the Taliban ceased to exist—yet the Americans were unwilling to accept such a turnaround. Instead, driven by false intelligence from their allies and an unyielding mandate to fight terrorism, American forces continued to press the conflict, resurrecting the insurgency that persists to this day. 

With its intimate accounts of life in war-torn Afghanistan, Gopal’s thoroughly original reporting lays bare the workings of America’s longest war and the truth behind its prolonged agony. A heartbreaking story of mistakes and misdeeds, No Good Men Among the Living challenges our usual perceptions of the Afghan conflict, its victims, and its supposed winners.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Gopal’s book is essential reading for anyone concerned about how America got Afghanistan so wrong. It is a devastating, well-honed prosecution detailing how our government bungled the initial salvo in the so-called war on terror, ignored attempts by top Taliban leaders to surrender, trusted the wrong people and backed a feckless and corrupt Afghan regime…It is ultimately the most compelling account I’ve read of how Afghans themselves see the war.”

    New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice 

  • “A brilliant analysis of our military’s dysfunction and a startlingly clear account of the consequences.”

    Mother Jones

  • “Brilliantly written…Gopal’s method of going deep into the lives of several Talibs, warlords, and ordinary Afghans…demonstrates how different the Americans’ ‘mistakes’ feel when the dead, injured, and traumatized people have been amply humanized.”


  • “With a plethora of policy-oriented works on Afghanistan having appeared in recent years, Anand Gopal wisely chooses to tell the war’s story from the personal perspective of three characters…Gopal displays a keen understanding of the levers of power in Afghan society and their sometimes devastating effect on individuals trying to make their way in the world.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Refreshingly complex and thought-provoking. . . Often reading like an adventure novel…Gopal offers a unique perspective, an essential examination of policy, and a rock-solid narrative that ensures this will be one of the few books people still read years from now when they want to understand America’s war in Afghanistan.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “[Gopal] presents a stirring critique of American forces who commanded overwhelming firepower, but lacked the situational knowledge to achieve their objectives…Gopal reveals the fragility of the tenuous connection between intention and destiny in a war-torn land.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Original and stimulating…Policymakers and informed readers will benefit immensely from this illuminating book.”

    Library Journal

  • “This is one of the first important books about America’s longest war…Assaf Cohen is an accomplished narrator…Cohen’s pacing is excellent. His diction is clear, and his pronunciation of Afghan place names practiced. While Cohen’s all-purpose Pashto accent gets old—he uses it for almost all interview excerpts—he captures the anguish of Gopal’s interview subjects as they describe having to make impossible choices.”


  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • Finalist for the National Book Award
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About the Author

Anand Gopal has served as an Afghanistan correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and the Christian Science Monitor, and has reported on the Middle East and South Asia for Harper’s, the Nation, the New Republic, Foreign Policy, and other publications. Gopal is a fellow at the New America Foundation.