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American Cipher: Bowe Bergdahl and the U.S. Tragedy in Afghanistan publishes March 12, 2019.

Advance praise has been rolling in:

“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 The Perfect Storm, Tribe, and War.

“An unsettling and riveting book filled with the mysteries of human nature.”—Kirkus

“Bowe Bergdahl’s story should be required reading for all Americans, illuminating as it does so many aspects of an ill-conceived conflict.”—Andrew Cockburn, author of Kill Chain 

“American Cipher sets the record straight on a tragic subject and will strongly appeal to a wide audience.”Booklist, starred review

American Cipher is based on a combined 15 years reporting between myself and former U.S. Army infantryman Matt Farwell. We present the full and definitive account of Bergdahl’s life, his bizarre decision to leave his combat post, and the five-year international ordeal that followed. American Cipher is available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local bookseller.

Prior to reporting on the Bergdahl case, I covered politics, environmental issues and, on one occasion, corduroy, for publications including Harper’s Magazine,, and The Daily BeastFor Harper's, I reported on Ron Paul's libertarian youth movement, as well as the conservatives who led the push for criminal justice reform.

Personally, I believe in paper maps and unplanned road trips. Safe travels and thanks for reading,

-- michael