Praise for Selling War

"Maybe the best book ever written about ‘information war,’ strategies, and tactics. An insider’s revealing behind-the-scenes story of the media and the military in Iraq. From the White House to West Point to West Main Street, this is a book to ponder about the military and the press in a free society at war."—Dan Rather, former anchor of CBS Evening News and managing editor and anchor of Dan Rather Reports

"Steve Alvarez has written a brutally honest book about the 'screwed-up' U.S. communications campaign he was part of in Iraq after the 2003 invasion. Alvarez offers an unflinching look at what went wrong in the communications side of the war. This is the kind of frank, no-holds-barred assessment that the military needs as it digests 'lessons learned' from the painful decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan."—David Ignatius, columnist for the Washington Post and author of The Director

"Alvarez’s thorough critique of military public relations isn’t a partisan reading of the Iraq War. He shines a damning light on deficiencies wherever he finds them. Selling War effects a sobering lesson on the human cost of miscommunication and misinformation. It should be required reading for military personnel and civilian policymakers."—Scott Neuffer, Foreword Reviews

"Alvarez captures the chaos, bureaucracy, and confusion of those responsible for communicating on behalf of the military, as the nation was unwillingly dragged into an extended insurgency campaign for which it was little prepared. 'Selling War' is a cautionary lesson for those who fail to grasp the vital importance of messaging in the competing narratives of modern conflict." —Adam Tiffen, Truman National Security Project's Defense Council via Task & Purpose

"Selling War is a fascinating and insightful study of the causes that led to US military’s failure in Iraq and what caused the subsequent chaos in the Middle East. Alvarez shows that war in the modern era has become a commodity which has to be marketed. Like any other commodity, it must be sold to the right audience. Alvarez’s scholarship is matchless. His is, without doubt, the best book on the subject."—Kristine Q. Baker, The Washington Book Review

"A pull-no-punches critique that spares few in the defense establishment."—Kirkus Reviews

"A former Army chief public affairs officer learns from David Petraeus that the Iraq War 'was one of perception and ideology, not territory or real estate,' and his book tries to show why the military must change 'the way it conducts its communications business,' why PAOs 'need to be assertive on the battlefield,' and why the Defense Information School must rethink its 'preparing corporate-style communicators.' He makes his case constructively and self-critically, and he comes across as a friend of journalists and of the public’s right to know. The memoir and after-action review is worth reading by anyone trying to communicate, especially the Army, whose PAO staff' 'will continue to get leftovers from other career fields' unless the service changes standards. 'Rank does not equal knowledge,' he believes, 'or experience in public affairs.'”—J. Ford Huffman, Military Times Book Reviewer

Selected Works

An insider's look at the U.S. information war.

Quick Links