NYT coverage sheds new light on abuse in Afghanistan

When an explosive U.S. military report on the topic of sexuality in southern Afghanistan was leaked into mainstream American media, it generated a firestorm of attention and reaction. While some of the findings regarding Afghan sexual practices were simply of cultural interest, other findings were of grave humanitarian concern, such as the cyclical abuse of young boys, perpetuated over countless generations.

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A recent New York Times report brought this issue back to the fore, and Author AnnaMaria Cardinalli, CROSSING THE WIRE: One Woman’s Journey into the Hidden Dangers of the Afghan War, will be talking to  Stand Up with Pete Dominick on SiriusXM Satellite Radio channel; 121, 12p EST, Tuesday September 29.
Because the topic became sensationalized, the author of the report, Dr. AnnaMaria Cardinalli, was discouraged to see her findings somewhat distorted in a public light. In this book, she takes the opportunity to provide the context of her research, which is as unique and revealing as the report itself.

Instead of a further academic account, this book is the author’s journal—in fact “journey”—a personal invitation into the life and rare experience of a woman working on the farthest front of the War on Terror. As a member of one of the Pentagon’s “Human Terrain Teams,” in the Pashtun south of Afghanistan, this read is not only interesting for its findings on Afghan sexuality but for its intimate window into the fascinating and almost surreal difficulty of our military’s job in that country and beyond, and the surprisingly indispensable place of a woman’s hand in the world of war.

Through the author’s eyes, we ultimately experience the ways in which the issue of Afghan sexuality has profound impact on concerns from women’s rights to Afghanistan’s economic development and security to the recruitment and development of the terrorist threat to the Western world—a threat, she argues, we will not be free of without attention to this cycle of violence.

It is also fascinating in these pages to see how cultural sexism is not simply the province of semi-medieval Central Asians, but is also present in our own politico-military culture, as the author describes firsthand. This book goes far beneath the headlines of our seemingly endless war in Afghanistan to inform us of the exact situation among the opposition we’ve faced, in more important ways than one. It is must-reading for every citizen concerned with ours—or the Afghans’—progress henceforth in that region.

AnnaMaria Cardinalli has had an unusually varied career in both the performing arts and service to her country. A classical/flamenco guitarist and operatic singer, she became an international recording artist while still a teenager. A car accident having set back her musical career, she was accepted into the doctoral program in Theology at Notre Dame, and at age 24 became the youngest person awarded a Ph.D. from the university. After September 11, 2001, she responded to a call from the FBI for individuals with advanced degrees and cultural/religious expertise, which led to service in Iraq under the auspices of Joint Special Forces Command. In 2009 she became a member of the U.S. Army’s first Human Terrain Team in Afghanistan, a unit designed to seek cultural understanding and civilian cooperation with U.S. forces. Today AnnaMaria Cardinalli, Ph.D., runs a private security firm in Santa Fe, NM, while continuing to enjoy opportunities to pursue her first love, of music.

An Epic Conflict Revisited

I9781612003474  In time for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, we now have—thanks to Swedish historian Bergström—perhaps the most thorough, expert examination of the topic ever written. Illustrated throughout with maps and rare photos, plus a color section closely depicting the aircraft, this work lays out the battle as seldom seen before.

The battle was a turning in point in military history, and arguably in the fate of the world. By late summer 1940 Nazi Germany had conquered all its opponents on the continent, including the British Army itself, which was forced to scramble back aboard small boats to its shores. With a Non-Aggression Pact with the Soviet Union in hand, Hitler had only one remaining object that season—the British Isles themselves. However, before he could invade, his Luftwaffe needed to wipe the Royal Air Force from the skies. Thus took place history’s first strategic military campaign conducted in the air alone.

This book contains a large number of dramatic eyewitness accounts, even as it reveals new facts that will alter perception of the battle in the public’s eyes. For example, the twin-engined Messerschmitt Bf 110 was actually a good day fighter, and it performed at least as well in this role as the Bf 109 during the battle. The Luftwaffe’s commander, Hermann Göring, performed far better than has previously been his image. The British night bombers played a more decisive role than previously thought; meantime this book disproves that the German 109 pilots were in any way superior to their Hurricane or Spitfire counterparts.

The author has made a detailed search into the loss records for both sides, and provides statistics that will raise more than one eyebrow. The “revisionist” version, according to which the courage and skill of the RAF airmen is “exaggerated” is scrutinized and completely shattered. There is no doubt that it was the unparalleled efforts of “The Few” that won the battle. The Germans, on the other hand, did not show the same stamina as they had on the continent. The following summer they would show it again when they went in to Russia. In the skies over Britain this work verifies where credit was due.

Also By This Author

The Ardennes, 1944-1945 Hitler’s Winter Offensive

In December 1944, just as World War II appeared to be winding down, Hitler shocked the world with a powerful German counteroffensive that cracked the center of the American front.

The Battle of Halen


On 12 August 1915 the Germans had a significant memorial for the one-year anniversary of the Battle of Halen.  This cavalry action brought forth a ceremony that was held in Halen Belgium and attended by 40 relatives from Germany. The Generalgouverneur of Belgium, Generaloberst Freiherr von Bissing and the Militärgouverneur of the Province of Limburg, Generalmajor Keim were present. The Groβherzog of Mecklenburg sent a delegate to honor his fallen Mecklenburg men. Every grave was decorated with an iron cross-with the name of the fallen-and with flowers.  After the ceremony, Exzellenz von Bissing-in person- paid his condolences to the relatives and the cemeteries were visited. A special train brought the participants of the ceremony from Halen to Hasselt and then back to Germany.

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During the ceremony General Keim gave a speech. The content of the speech and other details can be found in a 17-page booklet (Das Gefecht bei Haelen) that was prepared for the event and contained a number of pictures. This was in the middle of the war. The impact of this battle was so significant on the operational outcome of the Schlieffen Plan, that they actually stopped what they were doing a year later to conduct the memorial. This not only affected the operation but also the flower of German chivalry.

Yet this battle was not well known in the English language until Fonthill Media published the first English-language work earlier this year. Happening 11 days prior to the Battle of Mons, the results of this battle seriously affected the reconnaissance that followed on looking for the BEF. Not that far from Mons and with a battlefield heavily preserved, a visit to the museum and the battlefield would be richly rewarded especially when paired with the maps and story inside The Last Great Cavalry Charge.

You can pre-order The Last Great Cavalry Charge from Casemate Publishers here.

$32.95, hardback

Expected release: September 2015.

Casemate at IPMS National Convention

2015Nats_1140x400Banner_final5This week, Casemate is at the 2015 IPMS National Convention at the Hyatt Regency Columbus Hotel in Columbus, Ohio!

This years’ conference has been filled with great seminars, contests, tours, and more. We’ve really enjoyed viewing all of the submissions that the modeleres have presented.

The show ends tomorrow, so if you’re in the area or currently attending, make sure to visit us at our booth in the Franklin Room.

Hope to see you there!

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FIGHTS ON THE LITTLE HORN awarded by Little Big Horn Associates

carroll awardIt was with great pride that we learned our “Fights on the Little Horn: 50 Years of Research into Custer’s Last Stand” had earned the John M. Carroll Award from the Little Big Horn Association as their best book of 2014. The LBHA had its annual conference last week in Virginia, with tours of cavalry battlefields and every other kind of nice time. Given that Gordon Harper, the author of “Fights on the Little Horn,” is deceased, and his daughter Tori is far away in the west, and Harper’s co-author, Gordon Richards, currently lives on the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel, we were at a significant loss how to accept the award. The editor of this company, as I can attest, along with our promo director, dearly wanted to attend, but circumstances intervened. But as we can see, the LBHA took care of matters for us. The Carroll Award Chairman, Jeff Broome, along with his son Kile, was able to accept the beautiful plaques for us at the gala dinner that culminated the week’s events. Not only that, they have a member of the Assoc. going to the Custer Battlefield in Montana soon to present the plaque in person to Mr. Harper’s daughter, Tori. Also another member going to England in order to present his to Mr. Harper’s closest colleague, Gordon Richard. The honor of the award has been welcomed here at Casemate, while in addition one can hardly say enough about the people in the LBHA. We especially wish to give a shout-out to Don Schwarck, who has kept us apprised of the events. Our thanks to one and all for recognizing Mr. Harper’s book. As a core of learning, expertise and enthusiasm, the LBHA captures our imagination, and at their next annual meeting we should all be sure to attend.9781612002149 9999999999929

Author Lt. Col. Mike E. Silverman interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition

Lt. Col. Mike E. Silverman, author of Casemate’s AWAKENING VICTORY, was interviewed this weekend for NPR’S Weekend Edition. 


Here is the link and full story

An Iraqi soldier takes position in Iraq’s Anbar province. The U.S. will send 450 military advisers to Iraq to help in the fight against ISIS, but they will have a another challenge to gain the trust of Sunni leaders, as they did in 2007.

Haidar Hamdani/AFP/Getty Images

Five years after the U.S. ended its combat mission in Iraq, the Obama administration is ramping up the U.S. presence there. The White House announced last week that it will send 450 military advisers to Anbar province to support Iraqi forces fighting the so-called Islamic State.

It’s a complicated choice for President Obama, who in 2007 as a senator, raised concerns about sending more forces to stabilize Iraq.

But things went well in Anbar that year because Sunni sheikhs, fed up with al-Qaida, started fighting alongside the U.S. It was called the Sunni Awakening, and U.S. military officials say it was a big part of what turned the war around.

Now the U.S. is sending troops to Anbar again to try to wrest control from an enemy force — this time from ISIS.

This week on For the Record: A Second Chance for a Sunni Awakening.

We hear from three Americans who helped build the alliance between the Sunni tribal leaders and the U.S. government during the height of the Iraq War.

Kael Weston, State Department political adviser to the Marines in Iraq

Kael Weston, State Department political adviser to the Marines in Iraq.

Kael Weston, State Department political adviser to the Marines in Iraq.

Kael Weston

Kael Weston remembers what it was like back in 2006, when the violence in cities like Fallujah and Ramadi was really bad.

“The tribal sheikhs would walk in and say, ‘You know, we have tribal members who are tired like you of fighting, and maybe there’s a way we can work together against Al-Qaeda,’ ” Weston says.

Retired Lt. Col. Mike E. Silverman

Most of the U.S. troops in Anbar were Marines. Mike Silverman was with one of the only Army units that served there. He began working with the sheikhs in 2007.

“Almost every day, I sat either in a sheikh’s meeting hall, or an Iraqi police station, or with an an Iraqi army unit, and talked about partnership,” Silverman says. “I represented the entire strength of the United States government to those people when I met with them.”

Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte

In 2007, John Negroponte was deputy secretary of state. While Silverman and Weston worked on the ground to build trust among the sheikhs, Negroponte would fly in from Washington to show that the government was taking this partnership seriously.

Then-Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte at a news conference in Baghdad in 2007.

Ceerwan Aziz/AP

Ultimately, the Sunni leaders came to an agreement with US officials. They would direct their tribal armies to fight with the U.S. against al-Qaida, but in return they wanted political influence in the new central government in Baghdad, and they wanted guns, artillery and cash.

“Yes,” says Weston, “it was transactional. Yes, there were short-term deals that were cut left and right, up and down in Euphrates River Valley. But at the same time, we started to understand each other better.”

With the help of the Sunni tribes, the U.S. was able to push the al-Qaida-backed groups out of Anbar. But Silverman remembers that by 2011, the Sunnis were still locked out of the Shiite-run central government, they weren’t getting the resources they needed and accused the U.S. of breaking its promises.

“I had sheikhs and police officers and Iraqi security force leaders call me and beg me for help,” he says. “They said to me, ‘Hey, Silverman, you made promises to us.’ Try as I could, I contacted the people that I knew, but unfortunately at that point our government was not willing to live up to the promises that we made.”

Fast-forward to today, and U.S. troops are going back to Anbar province with 450 military advisors, who will train the Iraqi national forces working to push back ISIS, or ISIL, as U.S. officials call the group. Many Sunni tribal fighters are still undecided about whether they will join.

Negroponte believes another Sunni awakening is possible.

“I think success is possible,” he says. “In fact, I think that it’s imperative that we be successful. I think it would be a terrible tragedy to leave Iraq to the mercies of ISIL.”

But Silverman and Weston say the chances of a second awakening are slim.

Retired Lt. Col. Mike Silverman.

Retired Lt. Col. Mike Silverman.

Mike Silverman

“I’m not sure that that strategy is going to be a winner,” Silverman says. “In some ways ISIS has become so much more brutal than al-Qaida in Iraq that it’s going to be that much harder to get people to stand up against it. It is a terrifying proposition.”

Says Weston, “I have a Marine friend, [Maj. Gen.] Larry Nicholson, who coined I think a very important phrase, which is, ‘You can’t surge trust.’ I think some of the challenges we have now is that we’re surging weapons and drones and anti-tank missiles, but what we are doing about regaining some of that trust that took years and years and years and a lot of American lives to build?”

My Three Takeaways

First, the U.S. officials and military officers we spoke with told us about the promises that were made and broken as part of the Sunni Awakening, especially the U.S. promise to get the Sunnis more say in the central government in Baghdad.

The U.S. also promised Sunni leaders money. Those promises were largely kept. According to the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction report in 2011, the U.S. spent more than $300 million on the Sunni Awakening, paying Sunni leaders for their loyalty in order to secure the future of Anbar and ultimately of Iraq as a whole — a future that is most certainly in question now.

Second, the work that the military did in building a relationship with the Sunni leaders in Anbar was impressive. At a Marine Corps base in Anbar in the summer of 2007, I remember meeting an officer whose sole job was to map out the complicated network of family relationships that knit the Sunni tribes together. He spoke several of the local dialects and was steeped in the history of this part of Iraq.

At the same time, Marine Corps generals were traveling long distances several times a week to meet face-to-face with Sunni leaders in hopes of winning their trust and loyalty. Weston says that turning Anbar away from ISIS today may require a similar effort, which would require sending far more troops to Anbar than are there now — an even tougher call for a president who came into office pledging to end the war in Iraq and bring all U.S. troops home.

Third, it’s never easy to get U.S. troops in Iraq or Afghanistan to weigh in on the value or purpose of what they’re doing. For one thing, it’s not their job to judge policy decisions, so they just don’t want to wade into those kinds of conversations. But secondly — and this is just my opinion — I think it can make their job more difficult down the road, because sometimes the victories are reversed. That’s what we’re seeing in Iraq, and in particular, Anbar province. Many U.S. troops who fought vicious battles in Anbar in 2005 and 2006 told themselves they were fighting to secure a stable future for Iraq, and that in turn would create a more stable world.

The ISIS flag now flies over government buildings in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar. Those U.S. troops who fought and died in Anbar a decade ago did so because that’s what they were told to do. But if those troops convinced themselves that they were fighting for a lasting peace in that part of the world — today they are sorely disappointed.

Author Robert Curtis, United States Exchance Pilot , visits 846 NAVAL AIR SQUADRON



Two time Casemate author (SURPRISED AT BEING ALIVE and TYPHOON TRUCE) and RETIRED United States Army Major, Robert Curtis, returned to RNAS Yeovilton to visit 846 Naval Air Squadron where he served as a US exchange pilot from 1983 to 1985.

After a meeting with the Commanding Officer of 846 NAS, Lt Col Derek Stafford, a tour of the new building and the opportunity to take a look around the Merlin Mk3 aircraft, Robert also enjoyed a tour of 847 NAS and the new Wildcat AH1.

Robert said,

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time with 846 Squadron and loved flying the Sea King, it will be sad to see her retired. The new aircraft operated by CHF are a marked change, most definitely aircraft for the computer generation!”

While serving with 846 NAS, Robert had combat assault training in Egypt, the Netherlands, numerous locations throughout the United Kingdom and extreme cold weather training in Norway.

With over 5000 hours – “mishap free” as he says in his recently released book ‘Surprised at Being Alive’ – on a wide range of aircraft including the Sea King Mk4, Robert served with the US Army, the US Army National Guard, the US Marine Corps and the Royal Navy. Robert also has 980 hours of combat flight time in Vietnam as the Aircraft Commander of a CH-47C.

Robert’s book tells of his thrilling helicopter exploits with four Armed Services, including the Royal Navy, bringing together stories and memoirs from over 5000 flying hours and from many different countries, the book brings to life the dangers and thrills of life as a helicopter pilot.

After presenting a copy of his book to 846 NAS, Robert said.

“It has been great to visit 846 and 847 Naval Air Squadron to see the new Merlin and Wildcat aircraft, and to hear the enthusiasm of the pilots for these aircraft is wonderful.”

 RF Curtis-LtCol Derek Stafford-6.71

  1. CH1500320047 – Robert Curtis and Lt Col Derek Stafford
  2. CH1500320059 – Lt Ollie Trowman, Mariellen Curtis, Robert Curtis and Lt Col Derek Stafford


RF Curtis visits 846 Squadron

RF Curtis visits 846 Squadron

Casemate’s Fall 2015 Catalog

catalog cover

We’re excited to announce that our Fall 2015 catalog is now available!

Download our new catalog by clicking on the image above. This is our largest catalog yet and we are pleased to present to you the great selection from our distribution publishers and our own line that will be available this year.

There’s definitely some great titles that deserve a spot on your summer reading list!

Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting


This week, Casemate is at the Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Organization of American Historians (OAH) is the largest professional society dedicated to the teaching and study of American history. The mission of the organization is to promote excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history, and to encourage wide discussion of historical questions and the equitable treatment of all practitioners of history.

We’ll be exhibiting at the event until April 19th at America’s Center & Renaissance Grand Hotel. If you’re in the area, read more about registering for the event here, and visit us at stand 509!

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Society of Military History 2015 Annual Meeting


Casemate is currently attending the Society of Military History’s 2015 Annual Meeting in Montgomery, AL.

The Society of Military History is dedicated to stimulating and advancing and study of military history. Running until April 12th, Casemate will be exhibiting it’s wide range of titles to scholars, soldiers, and attendees with an interest in military history.

Check out some photos from the event below:

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