Robert D. Kaplan is a veteran journalist and author, with a number of impressive books to his credit. Well traveled in the unsettled marches of the world, he is the author of Balkan Ghosts, The Coming Anarchy and The Ends of the Earth. In the last three years, he has again traveled to the World’s trouble spots – this time in the company of US soldiers and marines. Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground (Random House, New York, 2005) is the best piece of reporting on how America’s troops function as the new Legionnaires out on the edges of the civilized world. Kaplan, always an astute and clinical observer, was awestruck by the men he watched. It was also clear that Kaplan had been doing his homework, judging from the many references to historical works like Colonel Callwell’s 1896 masterpiece Small Wars.