Sunday, January 10, 2016

Trigger Warning: Much Self-Promotion Ahead

I give fair warning to those who read my blog, follow me on twitter, are facebook friends or happen to live in the Greater Ottawa Metroplex: I ramp up the new book promotion machine at the end of this week.  Adapting in the Dust: Lessons Learned from Canada's War in Afghanistan will be flying off the presses as of Friday!  The hard copy of the book is apparently winging its way to me right now, hopefully to arrive tomorrow!

I have created a page or two to promote the book, I have created a playlist of songs that go with the book, and I have organized a book tour that kicks off in Kingston, my Canadian home away from home, on February 9th, followed by dates in Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Ottawa, and Vancouver).  I hope to also give book talks in Toronto and Montreal (and am open to talks elsewhere).

Anyhow, this book is a bit different from my previous stuff.  While the NATO book was aimed to be more readable and more policy oriented than my previously previous stuff and more than the usual academic stuff, it was still an effort to develop and then test a theory.  And a page-turning reading it was (paperback due out in March, which has already deflated the e-book prices!).  But this book is not aimed at theory building nor at addressing the existing literature in the field of Canadian Foreign/Defence Policy.

Nay, the aim of this book is to speak to Canadians about what we can learn from the most intense effort abroad in recent Canadian history.  The premise/contention is that we can learn more about the character of individuals, institutions and even a country when it is placed under great pressure than in ordinary times.  So, the book evaluates how did various parts of the Canadian political system handle the conflict, how they adapted, and whether those adaptations were just good for their careers or institutions or good for the war effort. 

The book starts with some comparisons to the rest of NATO as the first myth to be busted in the book is that Canada was alone or unique.  Much of what happened to Canada and was done by Canada happened to and was done by pretty much everyone else who showed up in the Afghanistan mission.  I do address the Kandahar mission since the choice of Kanadahar has been mythologized.  

After that, I consider the Prime Ministers (Martin and Harper), the parliament and the parties, the effort to develop a "whole of government approach," the Canadian Armed Forces, and then the media and the public.  I conclude by drawing some lessons that the previous government was afraid to discuss publicly--the lessons learned document is buried.  I do wonder if the new government will let me and the rest of Canada see it. 

Anyhow, the book is aimed for wider audiences and even addresses the biggest question of all: was it worth it?  The self-promotion machine is fueled, oiled and armed.  I hope to see you at some stop along the way.  Happy New (Book) Year to you all!

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