The introduction presents Triumph Without Victory as nothing less than "perhaps a new form of historiography." If journalism serves as the first draft of history, U.S. News aspires here to write its second draft. It's an audacious goal but not an unreasonable one; and, in fact Triumph Without Victory turns out to provide the best overview of the war to date. The innovation lies mainly in two matters: deploying the resources of a major newsmagazine to report on a single sustained story; and giving one person, Brian Duffey, the freedom to write in his own authorial voice. This combination works: it brings together the benefits of many talented reporters under a single integrative hand. Another admirable touch: unlike so many hyped journalistic books, this one is sober in tone (note the word "unreported" in the subtitle, and not the usual "secret") and careful in its presentation of facts.
Triumph Without Victory reveals much new information about the war: that the U.S. government designed and deployed special bombs to go after Saddam Husayn's bunkers; that the National Security Agency managed to place a computer virus into the Iraqi air-defense system; and that the number or Iraqi soldiers killed in action may have been as small as 8,000. The only serious defect is one of omission: the study concentrates so intensively on the American angle, the other actors-Iraqis, Kuwaitis, Saudis, Europeans-fade into near insignificance. Still, this genre has a future.