Thomas E. Ricks, the author of Fiasco and The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008, is a fellow at the Center for a New American Security and author of Foreign Policy magazine’s Best Defense blog. He was a reporter at the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post for a total of 26 years. His new book is The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today

In an exclusive excerpt from The Gamble, Thomas E. Ricks’s sequel to his No. 1 bestseller Fiasco, the author returns to Iraq in the bloody days before the 2007 surge.

The bestselling author of Fiasco vowed he was done writing about America’s unending war. But in The Gamble, he discovered a new tale: How a small group of people bucked the US military establishment—and did surprisingly well.