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Blackhorse Riders: A Desperate Last Stand, an Extraordinary Rescue Mission, and the Vietnam Battle America Forgot

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  166 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Winner of the 2013 Silver Medal in History from the Military Writer's Society of America

Finalist, 2013 Colby Award

Winner of the 2012 USA Best Book Award for Military History

Philip Keith's Blackhorse Riders is the incredible true story of a brave military unit in Vietnam that risked everything to rescue an outnumbered troop under heavy fire—and the thirty-nine-year odyssey
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by St. Martin's Press
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Best Literature About the Vietnam War
84th out of 209 books — 367 voters
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Best Books on Vietnam
54th out of 150 books — 110 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 415)
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Mike (the Paladin)
Jun 22, 2015 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I won't say too much about this book. I recommend that it be read by anyone who has an interest in the history of this period. I especially recommend it to anyone who's picture of Vietnam and Nam vets is formed by some of the movies that came out of that period.

This is sadly a little known battle that somehow "fell into the cracks of history". many of the people who participated in this battle were somehow "lost" and only received their decorations after the battle was "rediscovered" and they we
Paul Pessolano
Jan 27, 2012 Paul Pessolano rated it it was amazing
“Black-Horse Riders” by Philip Keith, published by St. Martin’s Press.

Category – Military/Vietnam

This is an unbelievable story that should be read by everyone regardless of their feelings about the Vietnam War or any military action. This is a story of courage, bravery, and sacrifice that transcends any book I have read concerning a military action, both fiction and non-fiction. In fact, the book is so well written the reader will sometimes lose track that this actually happened.

An infantry unit
Fredrick Danysh
Jun 24, 2015 Fredrick Danysh rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, vietnam
The story of of soldiers in Vietnam fighting on the border near Cambodia. When an American patrol stumbles on a larger Viet Cong bunker complex, they engage in a fight for their survival. Running short of ammunition and taking heavy casualties, their only hope is a mixed infantry and air calvary unit five kilometers way. This is an excellent tale of the true life struggles of American fighting men in vivid detail. It took forty years for recognition of their valor and sacrifice to be properly re ...more
Dec 29, 2014 Piker7977 rated it liked it
The events that take place and the soldiers described in this book are highly commendable and are great Americans. This story is of the pinnacle of bravery and sacrifice. These actions described give me a deep respect of the individuals involved in the Vietnam War. Even though their experiences and senses are described in these pages, I don't believe I could ever fully grasp what these brave souls went through.

The afterword and epilogue are worth reading.
Oct 05, 2015 Tsquires rated it really liked it
Philip Keith’s “Black-Horse Riders” is a stunning account of bravery in the Vietnam war. The book tells the story of a heroic rescue operation in Vietnam. The accounts of the brave soldiers that took part in that operation is one of heroism and horror. Each section of the book is able to keep even the most stoic reader on the edge of their seat, desperate to learn more.
The author’s purpose for writing the book was to inform people of the heroic operation. His attention to detail and the painsta
John Nellis
Jun 15, 2013 John Nellis rated it really liked it
Very good story about a forgotten battle in Vietnam in March 1970. It sets the stage of how things happened, and then tells of the battle itself. It also tells how the battle was forgotten and the partipants efforts to get it recognized. Which ends up with the unit getting the presidential unit citation from President Obama, and getting the recognition they deserved long ago. I really thought the book did a good job of representing what an armored cav regiment went through in Vietnam.
Steve Woods
Sep 28, 2014 Steve Woods rated it liked it
Shelves: vietnam-war
An account of one desperate battle in War Zone C in 1970. There were tens of thousand of them over the years.This one was an outsatnding episode but then there were many others, as a vetera of Vietnam I am always interested in the experience of others. I had a little to do with tracks from time to time so I have some familiarity to help my imagination along. It was an interesting account and I could certainly feel for those involved, the loss of the documentation and the fact that awards and rec ...more
Nov 07, 2013 Jeff rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: military history enthusiasts; curious about Vietnam War
I won Phillip Keith’s Blackhorse Riders in a Goodreads giveaway way back in June 2012. Due to the weirdness of life, it’s taken me this long to get a review written.

Blackhorse Riders is literally one of those “cavalry to the rescue” stories—in this case, Alpha Troop of the 11th Armored Cavalry regiment. Being the only “boots on the ground” within range to lend assistance, Alpha Troop cut through four kilometers of dense jungle to assist Company C of the 2/8 1st Cavalry Division, whose mission to
Apr 29, 2012 Patrick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military-history
Blackhorse Riders is an intense ride into the heart of a desperate rescue mission turned near-last stand. Philip Keith writes with extreme skill and realism, creating a true story that reads like a novel. The heroes in this book really come alive, as if you were sitting at a table listening to
them. The action is also intense and draws you in. One chapter I found especially interesting was where Keith breaks the experience of battle down into taste, sight, sound, smell, etc. My only complaint, an
Len Roberto
Apr 08, 2014 Len Roberto rated it it was amazing
One of the most moving stories of men in combat I have ever read. March 26, 1970 and the events surrounding this rescue mission are vividly told and the reader is fully engaged with the men described. Anyone interested in learning more about the war in Vietnam has to read this story.
Nov 11, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
I'm not generally into military stories, but one of my father's cousins was in Charlie Company (he made it out). Turns out, I quite enjoyed it.
Fordan Bonardi
Apr 13, 2015 Fordan Bonardi rated it liked it
The book was good, in parts very good. Phillip Keith has the Talent, I though his book Fire Base Illingsworth was better. I would read another book by him if he writes it.
Carl Bailey
Feb 04, 2014 Carl Bailey rated it it was amazing
Great book. It really grabs you and sets the hook.
Frank Sullivan
May 29, 2015 Frank Sullivan rated it really liked it
This book was written very well, I found myself caught up in the action and couldn't put it down! I recommend this book to anyone looking for a different Vietnam story
Jul 28, 2013 Lon rated it it was amazing
Fantastic story about group of men fighting at the end of the Vietnam war. Author does a great job oa placing the battle in the context of events. Then through the eyes of the men there tells a great story of men in battle. Should be a classic. Story does not end there... 2nd part is of gaining the lost recognition for their actions.

Can not wait for the authors next book a story of a battle a few days later of NVA attack on fire-base that was equally as bad and intense and unknown.

Great read.
May 09, 2015 Stephen rated it liked it
Shelves: vietnam
A book about one "anonymous battle" in 1970. Not bad, but not too interesting.
Jared Bryson
Jan 07, 2013 Jared Bryson rated it really liked it
Shelves: military-history
Good, but not electric book.

The author details a day long firefight in which a lightly armored cavalry troop rides to the rescue of a pinned down infantry company in March of 1970. The most interesting portions of the book centered around how the armored cav fought in Vietnam. The descriptions and uses of the ACAV and M551 Sheridan were particularly interesting.

A good book - well worth the read.
Sep 19, 2012 Mitchell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vietnam-war
Absolutely fantastic story and an easy read to boot. An intense focus on the men of Team Alpha makes for a rewarding experience for the reader both in hearing about the events of the "Anonymous Battle" but also the award, 40 years later, of the Presidential Unit Citation. The "Blackhorse" definitely adding to its lustered history.
Jun 16, 2013 Hockeynancy rated it really liked it
The first chapter or two were hard to get through...had to reference back and forth to information listed in the back. That said, once things got going, this was a fascinating and important book, and I highly recommend it. Well researched, well written.
May 13, 2015 Toni rated it really liked it
I might be biased since my brother-in-law was part of the armored tank division during the Anonymous Battle. He was a hero to me BEFORE I read the book, but I have even more respect for what he did for our country now.
Axie Barclay
Dec 23, 2012 Axie Barclay rated it really liked it
I'm not one that enjoys war books or Vietnam stories, but this book had me from page one. Nonfiction that reads like a novel. A truly interesting and inspiring tale of a battle the world almost forgot.
Dec 15, 2013 Marcy added it
My father was part of the 11 ACR in the 90's in Gernany, so I saw this and had to read it. Very moving and incredible to see how long it took our government to recognize these men.
Oct 11, 2012 Jfarley rated it liked it
Interesting story, that the author pieced together from first hand accounts, but seeing as how it isn't well known, it isn't well documented, and... the book's a little thin.

Christopher Taylor
May 21, 2012 Christopher Taylor rated it it was amazing
It is an easy read of a time left with many mixed emotions of young men doing what was asked. You can feel the angst and tension of close combat in a sweaty jungle.
Good book!
May 19, 2012 Lee rated it really liked it
Shelves: military-history
Well-written. I would make my usual request for more maps, but I was able to keep the battlefield in my head pretty well throughout.
Ct Banjo
Dec 22, 2012 Ct Banjo rated it really liked it
Terrific account of a little know battle in Viet Nam and a heroic rescue led by Captain John Poindexter.
Gary A.
Well documented -and you can smell the battle- a must read for war-history buffs.
May 12, 2012 Roadhouse rated it liked it
This was an great story about a significant battle during the war in Vietnam.
May 19, 2012 Richard rated it really liked it
Excellent account of desperate men in a desperate situation.
Terry Foster
Apr 11, 2012 Terry Foster rated it really liked it
Pretty accurate to actual conditions for much of the "Cav".
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Phil graduated from Harvard. During Vietnam Phil served with distinction as a Naval aviator; worked for 2 Fortune 500 firms; CEO for three technology companies. Phil teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), is a columnist, a magazine feature writer, has published two fictional novels. Latest major work is "Fire Base Illingworth" a non-fiction account of a battle and rescue in Vietnam, ...more
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