Praise for


They Will Have to Die Now is the story of what happened after most Americans stopped paying attention to Iraq. It’s a small miracle that a writer as good as James Verini witnessed the Battle of Mosul. His book is erudite, humane, bleakly funny, and unbearably sad. It will take its place among the very best war writing of the past two decades.”


author of Our Man and The Assassins’ Gate
“Verini’s firsthand account of the Battle of Mosul is a thing of terrible beauty.”


They Will Have to Die Now is a vivid, captivating, compelling, and graphic account of the major battle against the Islamic State in Iraq, the Battle for Mosul—site of the Biblical Nineveh and capital of the province where I was privileged to serve in the first year of the war in Iraq. James Verini conveys brilliantly the often tragic ancient and modern history of Iraq, and he captures superbly the brutal reality of one of the most intense urban battles since World War II. In so doing, he describes the terrible hardships experienced by the Moslawis and both the worst and the best of mankind in war, contrasting the barbaric actions of the jihadists with the desires of those who tried to rescue and to rebuild—but who nonetheless had to inflict enormous damage on the city they sought to liberate.”


(US Army, Ret.), former Commander of the Surge in Iraq,
US Central Command, and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan,
and former director of the CIA
“James Verini’s book stands comparison with the pathbreaking works of modern war journalism that meld into great literature. One has to go back to the Vietnam War and Michel Herr’s Dispatches to find such a vivid, poignant, and historically grounded narrative of an appalling war; a war caused no little by the misdeeds, missteps, and malevolence of the myriad powers and forces that have tried to dominate the Middle East.”


former minister of finance, defense, and trade of Iraq
“What happens in the long fight to take a city? Who flees and who stays behind? What survives and what many kinds of damage are done? With the eye of a novelist and a historian’s sweep, James Verini tells a moving, gripping, complexly layered story of Mosul, from the private calamities of its present to the buried dynasties of its past.”


author of Strangers Drowning
“This is a stunning book, brave in its reporting and beautiful in its writing. It is funny and sad and seared into me, and I can’t recommend it highly enough, not just to people interested in the truth of a war but to anyone in search of the truth of humanity.”


author of The Good Soldiers
“This is such an important and deeply nuanced book. Verini paints absolutely convincing portraits of the Iraqi soldiers trying to take their broken country back, and in humanizing them, he joins the ranks of Liebling and Pyle and Gellhorn—American journalists able to embed so selflessly with soldiers, to listen first and theorize rarely, to tell a story as it happened. He does us and the Iraqis trying to rebuild, after decades of catastrophic war, a service.”


author of The Parade and What is the What
“Tough, smart, and vivid, this is a book that renders war and battle with the deft hand of a fine writer. It will haunt you, engage you, and stay with you.”


author of The Orchid Thief
“James Verini has written an urgent, scalding, hallucinatory work of war reportage, in the tradition of Michael Herr and Philip Gourevitch. His account of the Battle of Mosul, based on nearly a year of close-up, grunt’s-eye-view, on-the-ground reporting captures the horror, the nobility, and the sheer grinding absurdity of twenty-first-century warfare, in which one catastrophic conflict only begets the next, and soldiers coordinate advances on smartphones, using WhatsApp. Imbued with a deep appreciation for the Iraqi people and their history and laced with the acid humor of the battlefield, They Will Have to Die Now is a signicant achievement.”


author of Say Nothing
“Verini has written the definitive account of one of the most pivotal and bitter military campaigns of the modern era: the battle to retake the city of Mosul from ISIS. This isn’t typical military history, though, but rather an intimate and deeply compassionate eyewitness account of what happens to ordinary people who find themselves living on the world’s cruelest battlefield, the compromises they must make to stay alive. By turns poignant and harrowing, shocking and inspiring, this is war reporting at its very best.”


author of Lawrence in Arabia
“James Verini plunges you into the heart of the climactic battle of the Iraq War and won’t let you leave. He seems to be everywhere, gets to know everyone, vividly chronicles everything he sees and hears—and never once calls attention to himself. The weapons may be new—drones and iPads and executions on YouTube—but the blood and confusion and betrayal are as old as war itself. They Will Have To Die Now is an astonishment.”


coauthor of Ken Burns’s The Civil War, The War, and The Vietnam War
“A deadly accurate, richly illuminating, profoundly saddening work.”


former Chief of Staff, US Air Force