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Task Force Black: The Explosive True Story of the Secret Special Forces War in Iraq
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Task Force Black: The Explosive True Story of the Secret Special Forces War in Iraq

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  293 ratings  ·  26 reviews
When American and British forces invaded Iraq in March 2003, select teams of special forces and intelligence operatives got to work looking for the WMD their governments had promised were there. They quickly realized no such weapons existed. Instead they faced an insurgency--a soaring spiral of extremism and violence that was almost impossible to understand, let alone reve ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published February 18th 2010)
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Brian
The cover made it look like the usual Iraq/Afghanistan soldier's memoirs. It is not, Mark Urban is in fact a journalist and this book is a look at the intelligence and political battles faced behind the scenes.

I found the book pretty interesting despite it not being the usual bombastic tale of gun fights, air support and ambushes. In particular I found the stuff about McChrystal very interesting as he has become a figure of some mystery in the media in recent years.

From the start it would appear
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Josef Black
While this doesn't tell the story from the point of view of the troopers, as a journalist I think Mark has done a respectable job of telling the story of what TFBlack did in Iraq within the obvious confines that huge amounts of it are still classified.

It's not a 'boots on the ground' account from a soldiers point of view, so for those looking for a Bravo Two Zero type account from a member of the SAS you are likely to be disappointed. It reads more like a Telegraph Op Ed than a classic McNab.

Tha
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Paul Pessolano
“Task Force Black” by Mark Urban, published by St. Martin’s Press.

Category – Military History

This book is not for the casual reader. It is meant for one with a great interest in military history and has some background in military operations.

When allied forces went into Iraq in 2003 Special Forces Units of both the British and United States were given the task of finding Weapons of Mass Destruction.

As we all know WMD were not found, but the Special Forces were faced with a large number of milita
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Nathan Snider
This book was very interesting. I really like learning about the special forces war in Iraq and the details of it. The author does a great job of explaining some things and describing them. It was also neat to learn about the tactics and war or terror in Iraq.
Dan
Get this book if you want to understand the bigger picture of the secret special forces war in Iraq.

Learn the reasons, the events and the consequences. Learn about the politics and the trials and tribulations of the main actors involved. Find out how each raid influenced the war and what tipped the scale in favor of the Coalition.

Don't get this book if what you want is a boots on the ground combat camera view of the conflict. The raids are presented quickly and with little detail, so you will c
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Dipra Lahiri
Somewhat pedantic review of the British Forces' (esp. SAS and SBS)'s roles in the Iraq conflict... mostly focused on the politics, and not much action. Only for the very very hardcore war buffs or academics.
John
Well written book detailing an extraordinary period of time during the Iraq war. Regardless of your support for or opposition to this conflict, the book highlights the problems caused when the politicians, who were so eager to engage in war, failed to support their troops by not supplying them with either the equipment or leadership required to see the situation through to a successful conclusion. In the process, many troops and civilians on both sides suffered losses that should have been avoid ...more
Jonny Gibbings
Hardly "explosive", over hyping a fantastic factual book. It doesn't need the 'tabloid' bullshit to bang it's drum. Mark Urban as done the impossible here. A deeply frustrating, bleak, yet honest work of the failings, and inherent issues with the War in Iraq... from those on the ground. If you are looking for the typical 'Gun-ho' special forces book - this isn't it. If you want to read how they band together, rivalry, top brass not listening to intelligence from those on the ground, all of it.

H
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Roger
Having thoroughly enjoyed Black Hawk Down, which was a gripping bullet-by-bullet account of the Mogadishu rescue attempt in the 90's, I was looking for the same.
This book is not quite the same first hand account, but very interesting none-the-less. It delves more into the military political aspects of how the UK and US Special Forces handled the aftermath of the second invasion of Iraq, and our attempts at quelling the insurgency from al-Queda and latterly from Iran.
Tyler
Who ever said this is a well written book is wrong. Maybe because the author is British I found it hard to read I don't know, but I didn't find it was easy to read or follow. I found the book boring at first, it just seemed to drag on. The book is more about an overview of the spec ops missions in Iraq then about specifics and tactics. Don't be fooled by the fancy cover. I was glad to finally get through it.
Michael
This book tells the story of the SAS in Iraq between 2003 and 2009. It is told in a very unsensational way and makes you realise how committed these men are.

Essential reading for anyone intrested in this conflict, and highlights how much British armed forces have to fight with one hand tied behind their back,due too lack of cash and political will to do a job properly.
Jonathan
Interesting book, not my normal read for non-fiction but gave a very insightful view of the conflict in Iraq from a perspective I might not have considered.
James Marwood
In depth and fascinating study of British special forces involvement in the second Iraq war and subsequent civil war. Urban probes well and gives some excellent insights into the management failings and successes at work. Not just a book for military history buffs, this is an excellent study in management theory and systems thinking.
Arlo
I'm a fan of these books having red most of the Seal and Delta memoirs out. This book rates n OK, it will keep your interest up but that's bout it. This guy is an embedded reporter so you miss out on training and detailed description of her and equipment that you get from sy "American Sniper" by Chris Kyle.
Boston Book Bums
From an American reader’s point of view, insights about the generals leading the effort, like Gen. Stanley McChrystal are interesting as they generally divorced from the political soul-searching embedded in most domestic Iraq war books.
Sherri
Maybe it's his journalism background, but somehow the author makes people being shot, blown up, etc. kind of dry and boring. Bummer. Depressing subject to start with, too.
Zechy
Quite good, a bit rushed and lacking in detail in places, but that's understandable with OpSec and all. A decent, quick read.
William Wright
Hard to read, bounced back in forth in time and introduced so many players it was hard to keep track
Bubba


Not as interesting as I had hoped it'd be. Glad I listened to it instead of reading it.
Jan
SAS centric - of course - but interesting perspective of the SF portion of the War in Iraq.
Andy B
Another great war book that delves into the real happenings of the war in Afganistan and Iraq.
Mark
how do you make the SAS boring? ask Mark Urban he'll show you how. This book we a chore to read
Andrew Wallace
Well researched with warts and all insights. Illustrates shades of grey in life.
Edward
Very well put together enjoying it so far.
Patt
It was a report not a memoir.
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Mark Urban (born 1961) is a British journalist, author and broadcaster, and is currently the Diplomatic Editor for BBC Two's Newsnight.
More about Mark Urban...
Rifles: Six Years with Wellington's Legendary Sharpshooters The Man Who Broke Napoleon's Codes Fusiliers: Eight Years with the Redcoats in America Big Boys' Rules: The SAS and the Secret Struggle against the IRA Generals: Ten British Commanders Who Shaped The World

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