Book Prize Recipient, 2015

Anand Gopal, author of No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes, is the winner of the 2015 Ridenhour Book Prize.

The Ridenhour Book Prize is awarded annually to honor an outstanding work of social significance from the prior publishing year and recognizes investigative and reportorial distinction.

A finalist for the National Book Award, the critically-acclaimed No Good Men Among the Living challenges the narrative about America’s longest war and usual perceptions of the Afghan conflict with intimate accounts of life in war-torn Afghanistan. As one of the few Westerners to extensively interview all sides in the conflict, Gopal demonstrates why the United States’ emphasis on counterterrorism at the expense of nation-building and reconciliation inadvertently led to the Taliban’s resurgence after 2001. The paperback edition of No Good Men Among the Living is set to be released May 5, 2015.

In reflecting upon its decision, the Ridenhour book awards committee said, “Even a decade and a half after we dispatched weapons, soldiers, and treasure to Afghanistan, most of us still don’t have a real sense for what has happened there and the extent of the impact our intervention has had. And we never will until we come to see the conflict and its aftermath through the eyes of the Afghan people. Anand Gopal’s achievement in No Good Men Among the Living is to accomplish just that. Through a blend of intrepid reporting and clear-eyed—even beautiful prose—we see and can begin to truly understand the violence and tragedy of our longest war.”

Anand Gopal is a journalist who 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. He is an INCITE fellow at Columbia University, and a former Bernard L. Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation.

“Ron Ridenhour’s courageous letter exposing the My Lai massacre helped teach a generation of Americans that the grim reality of wars is often a far cry from the lofty ideals nations espouse in fighting them,” said Gopal. “In Afghanistan, he would have found a similar story: what appeared, from a distance, to be a war against terrorism was in fact a messy battle against local communities, in which scores of villagers were wrongfully imprisoned, tortured, and killed. His work helped pave the way for those of us seeking to understand and convey the truth of today’s wars to the American public, and that’s why I’m so truly honored to accept the Ridenhour Book Prize for No Good Men Among the Living.”

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