“Combining eyewitness accounts of political frustrations, the dangers of the ‘irrepressible and deadly creativity’ of insurgents, and sympathetic portraits of the locals, Ardolino’s is an outstanding account of the winding down of a resoundingly unpopular war.”—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review

“Bill Ardolino takes up the crucial role played by Fallujah against al Qaeda where others left off after the first and second battles to subdue the ‘City of Mosques.’ His vivid account fills a gap in our understanding of the counterinsurgency strategy that turned the tide against al Qaeda terrorists. In this engrossing book, Ardolino demonstrates that personalities mattered, not just abstract principles of war. His volume is essential reading for students of COIN and the Iraq War.” —THOMAS H. HENRIKSEN, Senior Fellow, Hoover
Institution and the U.S. Joint Special Operations University

“Bill Ardolino masterfully crafts a narrative that illustrates the challenges faced by U.S. Marines during one of the most dangerous battles in the Iraq War. Fallujah Awakens captures their struggle to be both warriors, and sometimes social workers, while combating a cagey and elusive enemy. Their strategy in Fallujah—both its successes and failures—will be studied by military leaders and war history enthusiasts for generations to come.” —CARMEN GENTILE, conflict
correspondent for USA Today

“A powerful account of courageous decisions and bold actions made by Americans and Iraqis alike in Anbar’s darkest city at the most uncertain and critical time in the entire campaign. His writing took me back to the nervous emotions experienced even only while driving through the city’s infamous ‘cloverleaf’ en route to engage al Qaeda in the deeper province. The author takes you on patrol throughout the most dangerous peninsula and artfully weaves in Iraq’s tribal complexities, cultural nuances, and our own political theater in a way that I have never before encountered. This should be required reading for anyone tasked with fighting, or studying, a war of counterinsurgency—or any reader interested in a tale of war hard fought, told incredibly well.” —CAPT. ALEXANDER S. MARTIN, USMCR, USNA
Class of 2004, is an infantry officer who has served as a platoon commander in infantry, recon and force recon units; Founder and CEO of Arbroath Capital


allujah, the cradle of an insurgency that plunged Iraq into years of chaos and bloodshed, conjures up images of the brutal house-to-house fighting that occurred during the 2004 U.S. invasion of the iconic city. The violence peaked again two years later when American Marines and Iraqi government forces struggled with a reinvigorated insurgency and the prospect of premature withdrawal by U.S. forces. One of the few books to recount events from both American and Iraqi perspectives, Fallujah Awakens tells the story of the remarkable turn around that began to take place in 2006–2007. Journalist Bill Ardolino explains how local tribal leaders and U.S. Marines forged a surprising alliance that helped secure the famous battleground. Based on more than 120 interviews with Iraqis and Americans, he explores how a company of Reservists, led by a medical equipment sales manager from Michigan, succeeded where previous efforts had stalled. Circumstance combined with smart leadership enabled Marines to build relationships with members of a Sunni tribe—once written off as dangerous and intractable—who pushed al Qaeda and other insurgents from their notoriously rebellious area. Accidental killings, intertribal rivalries, insurgents, and intrigue all conspired to undo the tenuous alliance forged on Fallujah’s peninsula. But the partnership was cemented after a Marine commander’s risky decision to welcome nearly 100 injured civilians onto a secure American facility after a ruthless chemical attack by al Qaeda. Ardolino’s exhaustive documentation will prove valuable to military students, analysts, and historians and will help policy makers better understand what is and is not possible in counterinsurgency. Photographs and maps further enhance the reader’s understanding of the struggle for Fallujah, from tribal dynamics to the geography of firefights.
BILL ARDOLINO is an associate editor of The Long War Journal. He was embedded with the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army, the Iraqi Army, and the Iraqi police in Fallujah, Habbaniyah, and Baghdad in 2006, 2007, and 2008, and later with U.S. and Afghan forces in Kabul, Helmand, Nimroz, Khost, and Kandahar provinces in Afghanistan. His reports, columns, and photographs have received wide media exposure and have been cited in a number of academic publications. He lives in Washington, D.C. All of the author’s proceeds from the first edition of Fallujah Awakens will be donated to the Semper Fi Fund to benefit injured service members. For more information, go to


FALLUJAH AWAKENS: Marines, Sheikhs, and the Battle Against Al Qaeda
By Bill Ardolino Publication date: 15 May 2013 320 pages, 22 b/w photos, 1 drawing & 4 maps. Hardcover list price: $36.95 │ £29.50 │ ISBN: 978-1-61251-128-3 eBook edition also available. History • Iraq War
AT BOOKSTORES, ONLINE, OR DIRECT: Customer Service U.S. Naval Institute 291 Wood Road Annapolis, MD 21402 800-233-8764/410-268-6110 MEDIA INQUIRES & REVIEW COPIES, CONTACT: Judy Heise, Publicist NAVAL INSTITUTE PRESS 291 Wood Road Annapolis, MD 21402 410-295-1028 / Fax: 410-295-1084 IN ENGLAND AND EUROPE, CONTACT: EUROSPAN GROUP 3 Henrietta Street London WC2E 8LU United Kingdom Tele: 1767 604972

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