- By Alicia P.Q. WittmeyerAlicia P.Q. Wittmeyer is the Europe editor at Foreign Policy. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and Forbes, among other places. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and master’s degrees from Peking University and the London School of Economics. The P.Q. stands for Ping-Quon.
Every day this week, Foreign Policy is featuring an interview with one of the finalists for the Lionel Gelber Prize, a literary award for the year’s best non-fiction book in English on foreign affairs, jointly sponsored by FP and the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. Today’s finalist is journalist Jack Fairweather, whose book, The Good War: Why We Couldn’t Win the War or the Peace in Afghanistan, is a sweeping early history of how the Afghan War, which began as a focused effort to track down those behind 9/11, became a sprawling, bloody mess.
The jury citation for Fairweather’s book is below:
In The Good War: Why We Couldn’t Win the War or the Peace in Afghanistan, Jack Fairweather documents with relentless detail the dysfunction of the Afghan campaign since 2001. The role of ignorance and waste in the pursuit of vague and naïve goals is arresting in this account of the conflict. Every player is a victim in a haphazard drama of inconclusive failure.
And listen to the interview, conducted by Rob Steiner, a former Wall Street Journal correspondent and director of fellowships in international journalism at the Munk School, here: