In This Review

Eagle Down: The Last Special Forces Fighting the Forever War
Eagle Down: The Last Special Forces Fighting the Forever War
By Jessica Donati
320 pp, PublicAffairs, 2021

Almost two decades after the 9/11 attacks, U.S. Special Forces are still fighting in Afghanistan and trying to keep the Taliban at bay. This long war consists of numerous small engagements, barely noticed back home unless the casualties are unusually heavy or the government in Kabul loses control of some vital city. Covering the fighting since 2015, Donati captures the chaos and arbitrariness of the war: soldiers die as they enter a supposedly friendly Afghan base, are maimed stepping on mines, try to keep wounded colleagues alive as they wait for an evacuation helicopter to arrive, and inadvertently call in an airstrike on a hospital, killing doctors and patients. Donati speaks with military wives who recall the moment they heard about the death of their partner and with veterans trying to make their way in civilian life. Her vivid, uncompromising reporting presents U.S. politicians and senior military commanders as disconnected from the reality of the war as they flounder in search of a satisfactory way out of it.