Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl left his platoon's base in eastern Afghanistan in the early hours of June 30, 2009. Since that day, easy answers to the many questions surrounding his case: Why did he leave his post? What kinds of efforts were made to recover him from the Taliban? And why, facing a court martial, did he plead guilty to the serious charges against him? -- have proved elusive.
"American Cipher" is an account of the nearly decade-old Bergdahl tragedy, which, as journalist Michael Ames argues, is as illuminating an episode as we have as we seek the larger truths of how the United States lost its way in Afghanistan.
The book was researched with more than 20 hours of interviews with Bob and Jani Bergdahl, Bowe’s parents, who have not spoken to any media outlets since the political firestorm that followed their son’s recovery.
Prior to reporting on the Bergdahl case, Ames covered politics, and environmental issues for publications including Harper’s Magazine, Newsweek, The New Yorker.com, and The Daily Beast.