Matt Farwell (Author) Matt Farwell is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Men's Journal, Playboy, and other publications. He was an Army infantryman for five years, including sixteen months in Afghanistan. He lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Michael Ames (Author) Michael Ames is a regular contributor to Newsweek and Harper's. His work has also appeared in the Atlantic, Slate, the Daily Beast, and the Believer. He lived and worked for nine years in Idaho as a newspaper reporter and magazine editor, and now lives in Brooklyn.
After his capture by Islamic terrorists, during five years of imprisonment at undisclosed locations across the border of Pakistan, every moment in Bowe Bergdahl's existence became fodder for controversy at an international level. The authors present compelling, convincing evidence that addresses each specific controversial element ... An unsettling and riveting book filled with the mysteries of human nature * Kirkus * Matt Farwell and Michael Ames brilliantly reconstruct Bowe Bergdahl's journey and provide a damning portrait of America's role in Afghanistan, revealing the larger truth of why the U.S. has failed and why the war means unending tragedy for the Afghan people. American Cipher is haunting and moving, a deeply human study of an inhuman conflict. It is one of the most important books I've read about the Afghan war -- Anand Gopal * author of No Good Men Among the Living * Bowe Bergdahl's story should be required reading for all Americans, illuminating as it does so many aspects of an ill-conceived conflict. American Cipher shines a cold, clear light not just on an unending war, but also on the society that pays for it in countless ways. A fascinating book -- Andrew Cockburn * author of Kill Chain * This excellent book is a cautionary tale about what happens when a confused and misguided young soldier is sent off to fight for an equally confused and misguided foreign policy -- Karl Marlantes * author of Matterhorn * Matt Farwell and Michael Ames have written a vitally important book. As an account of Bowe Bergdahl's captivity and eventual release, American Cipher is compelling. Yet it's the backstory that really matters: The crippling dysfunction that permeates the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan, beginning in the combat zone and extending all the way back to Washington -- Andrew Bacevich * author of Twilight of the American Century * Compelling ... In American Cipher the specific facts of Bergdahl's case are elevated to the allegorical, and this is where Farwell and Ames's storytelling really shines ... Farwell and Ames convincingly show that so many of the reasons we've been fighting in Afghanistan for 18 years - bureaucratic inertia, partisan dysfunction, domestic indifference - are the same reasons that, even when Bergdahl's captors eagerly hoped to broker his release, it took so long to recover him -- Elliot Ackerman * Washington Post * A riveting journalistic account of Bowe Bergdahl's disastrous - and weirdly poignant - choice to walk off his military base in Afghanistan ... A spectacularly good book about an incredibly painful and important topic -- Sebastian Junger * author of Tribe and War *