“He was America’s Lawrence of Arabia.”
A Soldier's Dream: Captain Travis Patriquin and the Awakening of Iraqby William Doyle
For six months in 2006, a charismatic young U.S. Army captain and Arab linguist named Travis Patriquin unleashed a diplomatic and cultural charm offensive upon the Sunni Arab sheiks of Anbar province, the heart of darkness of the Iraqi insurgency. He galvanized American support for the “Sunni Awakening,” the tribal revolt against Al Qaeda that spread through the province and eventually across Iraq, a turning point that led to dramatically lower levels of violence in the country.
The Awakening may not have succeeded without Patriquin, who was so beloved by Iraqis that they adopted him into their tribes and loved him as a brother. This is the true story of a man who loved Iraq, and a soldier who helped engineer the turning point of the Iraq War.
It is the story of America’s T.E. Lawrence—Travis Patriquin.
“He was America’s Lawrence of Arabia.”
"A truly inspirational story about an American soldier who epitomized our country's values." — The Huffington Post
“Compelling… carefully reported and briskly written … a tale of how even in modern warfare, with all its cultural intricacies and geopolitical considerations, two men can play a decisive role through dint of personality, adept maneuvering and, yes, a fair amount of individual ambition.” — Los Angeles Times
"A truly inspirational story about an American soldier who epitomized our country's values."
“Compelling… carefully reported and briskly written … a tale of how even in modern warfare, with all its cultural intricacies and geopolitical considerations, two men can play a decisive role through dint of personality, adept maneuvering and, yes, a fair amount of individual ambition.”
The inspiring story of one soldier in Iraq in 2006 determined to make peace with warring tribal factions.
Doyle energetically spotlights the daring, risky work of Cpt. Travis Patriquin, a U.S. Army commander from Missouri trained in Special Forces whose gift with foreign languages and genuine interest in Arab culture allowed him to win over Iraqi tribes in their mutual struggles against al-Qaeda. Posted in 2006 to Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's Anbar province (and "de facto capital of the al-Qaeda caliphate in Iraq"), Patriquin was at the deadly epicenter of violence against the resented U.S. coalition forces, in the form of IEDs, grenades, snipers, etc., which killed Americans daily. Al-Qaeda had terrorized the local sheiks by kidnappings, intimidation of family members and torture, and used bribes of young fighters to set bombs for the U.S. troops. Patriquin and his commander, Col. Sean MacFarland, believed that the key in turning the tide was to befriend the local tribal bosses and try to build a loyal police force. One important leader proved to be Sheik Sattar abu Risha, "the Tony Soprano of western Iraq," suspected smuggler and bandit, whom Patriquin advocated backing, despite the Army's suspicions about him. Courting him with hours of "man-kissing" and tea drinking, Patriquin convinced him of the value of building a police recruiting effort, and the word spread from sheik to sheik: "It was time to switch sides and join the Iraqi police." American forces sweetened the deal by offering security and cash rewards. This groundswell among the Iraqis is termed the Awakening, and Patriquin and his Arab-friendly skills were instrumental in bringing it about. With his death by IED in December 2006, the U.S. Army lost its own Lawrence of Arabia.
Impressive feats from an important soldier, but the book has the ring of an official military account.
- Penguin Publishing Group
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- 18 Years
Meet the Author
William Doyle is the award-winning author of Inside the Oval Office: The White House Tapes from FDR to Clinton and An American Insurrection: James Meredith and the Battle of Oxford, Mississippi, 1962. He also served as director of original programming and executive producer for HBO, and won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Documentary for his A&E special based on Inside the Oval Office.
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