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Lions of Kandahar: The Story of a Fight Against All Odds

4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  2,175 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
One of the most critical battles of the Afghan War is now revealed as never before. Lions of Kandahar is an inside account from the unique perspective of an active-duty U.S. Army Special Forces commander, an unparalled warrior with multiple deployments to the theater who has only recently returned from combat there.

Southern Afghanistan was slipping away. That was clear to
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2011)
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Dec 06, 2012 Adam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Fantastic! Breathtaking! Riveting! I loved this book because this story shows a side of combat and brotherhood often not seen, reported on, or even talked about. More closer to home for me, I was in Kandahar, at Kandahar air base, providing air control, coordinating aircraft, and close air support assets for the entire country during this time. The scariest calls we received were the "troops in contact" calls and this book helps illustrate why getting aircraft to our brother and sister soldiers ...more
Alexia Chantel
May 14, 2011 Alexia Chantel rated it really liked it
From the very first sentence you are thrown into a land and situation that very few of us will ever experience. Exhaustion, pain, responsibility, pride, vengeance and adrenaline bleed out of you. You find yourself experiencing the highs of battle and the lows of losing a brother. All in all something you will never forget.

The authors do an excellent job of showing you what it was like to be involved in an extremely important battle that would have very little if any publicity. Reading this book
Jean Poulos
From this book the reader will not only learn about the War in Afghanistan but also about the operation of the Special Forces. Bradley was a Captain in the Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha (SFODA) which is a group of twelve highly trained men. Little has been written about the Special Force Units until this book.

The book opens with the dramatic rendition of “Troops in Contact” engagement only to find themselves surrounded by hundreds of insurgents and running low on ammunition. The au
Volodymyr Dehtyarov
Jul 23, 2016 Volodymyr Dehtyarov rated it it was amazing
Не первая прочитанная книга про американский спецназ, но одна из самых интересных. Почти целиком посвящена одному из эпизодов войны в Афганистане - операции Медуза и битве за высоту Сперван Гхар, когда взвод американских спецназовцев и сотня приданных им афганских солдат столкнулись с большими силами талибов и несколько суток удерживали высоту. Детальное описание от первого лица современной войны, когда важна не столько меткость и выносливость, сколько умение ориентироваться на местности, ...more
Don Lowrance
Nov 15, 2012 Don Lowrance rated it liked it
Easy to read style with a view into the lives and minds of men who are soldiers to the core. It makes you wonder what they do for an adrenaline fix when the battles are over. He quotes Churchill "nothing is more exhilarating than to be shot out without effect". What other common experience in life can hold a candle to that?

The writer also tells of the frustration of retaking the same ground again and again due to diplomatic and bureaucratic ineptitude. Why do we do these things to ourselves and
Brendan Powell
Jan 12, 2014 Brendan Powell rated it it was amazing
Great book; this is a very well written and a powerful account of the efforts in Afghanistan. Capt. Bradley and his team's efforts to develop relationships with the local Afghan fighters and the efforts to train the Afghans to fight for their own country cover the first half of the book...the second half is entirely the US Special Forces and Afghan battle during Operation Medusa. The battle is largely focused around the fight to take (and hold) the high-ground of Sperwan Ghar. Bradley and team's ...more
Mar 21, 2012 Dachokie rated it it was amazing
Impressive Account of Calm, Confidence and Competence amid Chaos ...

This book was reviewed as part of Amazon's Vine Program.

Now that the War on Terror is approaching the 10 year anniversary, first-hand accounts of combat in Afghanistan (and Iraq) are becoming common fare in the world of books. While some of the stories are interesting, I have found that very few have been powerful enough to "put me on the ground" and give me an actual glimpse of modern combat like Major Rusty Bradley's LIONS OF
T. Robert
Aug 31, 2012 T. Robert rated it it was amazing
This is the story of the epic struggle during Operation Medusa by a small group of American Special Forces soldiers and their associated Afghan Army units to seize the heights of Sperwan Ghar in Afghanistan. I call it “epic” because it is one of those rare but inspiring stories of a small number of men who attempt to carry out what seems to be an audacious mission in which they are greatly outnumbered and, if things had gone wrong, should have been all killed.

It is told in the first person tens
Nick Walker
Sep 04, 2014 Nick Walker rated it it was amazing
This book recounts the amazing feats and battles fought by some of America's best soldiers and bravest heroes in the fight for Kandahar. The book goes to great lengths to retell and illustrate all the battles with as much accuracy and detail as possible. The book adequately explains every operation enough to give you a mental picture of what was happening and the intensity at which it happened. I have read other military books but have yet to find one as realistic as this book. The book makes ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Ronald rated it liked it
This is a story of intense battle and the development that comes as a result. It shows the values that can be gained if one is willing to be free of prejudice. Learning to judge individuals and not groups or cultures. It also describes the difficulties of a large organization like the military to operate without fear of self embarrassment. It tells the story of a strategic battle in the Kandahar region in our war against terrorism.
I can't imagine the fear, loneliness and wonderment that our sold
Aug 06, 2016 Douglas rated it really liked it
This book was everything that Lone Survivor was not. What I appreciated most about Major Bradley's book was that it wasn't a larger political commentary on the war or an indefensible assault on his brethren. It's a memoir of his experiences in one operation, the people he met along the way, and the impact that they had in a thankless and underreported job. He deserves our thanks, both for his service, and for publishing this book and giving us a new view of the operations in Afghanistan.
Mar 09, 2012 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military-history
30 Special Forces Green Berets and 50 Afghan soldiers take part in Operation Medusa, "the greatest battle no one ever heard of" against 800 plus Taliban fighters in the Kandahar province, Afghanistan... Awe inspiring!
Taylor Kate Brown
Sep 11, 2011 Taylor Kate Brown rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
Compelling, if a little heavy on the operational details at the start. Learned a lot about Afghanistan fight, especially during a period of the war I've read little about.
John McCoy
Jan 12, 2016 John McCoy rated it really liked it
this is an amazing book about a story that isn't as well told or discussed like Lone survivor. it's a must read especially for anyone who's been to Afghanistan or enjoys military books.
Jul 05, 2012 Tyson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, military, bio
Amazing first-hand account of an instrumental battle in Afghanistan. Can't recommend the book enough.
Jonathan Bowler
Nov 30, 2016 Jonathan Bowler rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. I admit, it took a little while to get through. I originally began when I was stationed at Kandahar Airfield, but lost interest at the time. Recently went back and read some of it as I needed to get a break from some studying and suddenly I was hooked and found myself not wanting to put it down. It has been excellent reading, finding myself holding my breath several times, waiting to see what happens next.

It is incredible reading about the challenges men will go through for thei
Matthew Niederberger
Dec 13, 2013 Matthew Niederberger rated it it was amazing
Shelves: special-warfare
I started reading this book while reading Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10. I won't even start to compare stories because both are powerful in their own right. What made Lions of Kandahar stand out was its raw approach to story telling.

Where Marcus Luttrell's book read more like an autobiography about his training, the mission, and the rescue, Rusty Bradley's book offered true immersion into the actions of the Green Berets up their on
Ryan Erickson
Mar 09, 2012 Ryan Erickson rated it really liked it
“So close we could see their faces...” LIONS of KANDAHAR gets up close and personal on the desert of Afghanistan

Lions of Kandahar: The Story of a Fight Against All Odds by Rusty Bradley and Kevin Maurer is a thrilling read following Task Force 31’s battle to try and gain control of Sperwan Ghar near Kandahar City, Afghanistan.

The book follows, then, Captain Rusty Bradley and his Special Forces (Green Berets) team through a 2006 trek over a barren desert and into the mouth of a Taliban strongh
Jul 10, 2011 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: afghanistan
Great story about another Alamo like fight that took place in 2006 at Sperwan Ghar, south of Kandahar. The only difference being that no one has ever heard about this fight unlike the place in San Antonio. This one, however, had a better outcome for the defending smaller force. A fast paced account that related the author's third tour with the same group of Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers. Captain Bradley epitomizes what the SF are all about. The lions of Kandahar are not just the Green ...more
Aug 19, 2011 Gretchen rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This is the true story of a Captain in the Special Forces, and his mission in Afganistan in 2006 called Operation Medusa - the attempt to clear out Taliban in their heartland in the south of Afghanistan. The book was really riveting, and very interesting to get an insider perspective of the war, the Afghan army that the special ops forces fought with, etc. There is a lot of action in the book and it keeps your attention. I did have some problems with keeping track of all the different special ...more
Aug 23, 2012 Andrew rated it it was amazing
Just about finished with this one. This is a book everyone should read. Not just because it's true accounts of heroes in action and interesting, but because this book highlights fights and battles in a war we've grown far too used to. In a time when war is something that seems to be continuous and far-removed from our daily lives with occasional updates via CNN news tickers giving the latest death tolls and roadside bombing locations, this book illuminates the details of battles and the spaces ...more
Aug 24, 2016 Bea rated it liked it
I gave this book 3*, which is a rating I use for books I like but for varying reasons did not thoroughly enjoy. I chose this book for a task, and because it had good reviews. However, I am not very much interested in military history and battles. So, I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book by the end.

The story centers on one particular battle in Afghanistan. The Taliban were infiltrating Southern Afghanistan and trying to re-take Kandahar Province. NATO planned an action to stop this and Ca
Honza Prchal
Feb 17, 2016 Honza Prchal rated it really liked it
I like Special Forces autobiographies. This is one of the better written ones in terms of everything but organization. A huge disadvantage of audiobooks is the lack of maps and illustrations, but the narrator was excellent ... managing to convey the author's humour quite effectively.
If you like the genre, or military histories more broadly, you'll enjoy this even though subsequent history in the area makes it almost tragic.
More troops in Afghanistan during this time period might not have solved
Jul 30, 2014 Don rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, military
This was a great special forces story. None of the usual training, unit history, "this is why we're so awesome" background. We just start day one with Rusty's unit deploying back to Afghanistan and getting work done. If anything, it's a compelling example of what a small, highly-trained unit can do when supported by local forces, and, above all, unstoppable air support. This story would have gone to a much darker place without effective air cover. A tribute to the professionalism of all the ...more
Lori Clark-Erickson
Historical Topic and Time Period: 21st century Afghanistan.
Lexile level:
What I liked: the thing that I liked about my book is there 19s a lot of gun fire and there was a lot of action there out the book.
What I didn 19t like: I didn 19t like all the talking and deciding what to do from one scene to another It should have jumped right in it took way too long to explain why and everything.
Summary: Rusty and his men are sent to Afghanistan to help the other soldiers gain control. They have to stop
Sep 23, 2015 Schacco rated it it was ok
Rusty Bradley je podle všeho oddaný, statečný a vůbec vynikající voják. Ovšem psát knihy by neměl. Kniha je prezentována jako první obsáhlejší popis operace Medůza, největší operace NATO v dějinách organizace, jenomže ve skutečnosti jde pouze o úzký popis pocitů a fragmentárních zážitků jednoho vojáka speciálních jednotek. Chybí ucelený pohled, souvislosti, přehledné informace, které by v čtenáři vytvořily ten kýžený pocit, že rozumí a chápe. Chápe nejenom, že americká armáda je nejlepší na ...more
Mar 23, 2014 Debbie rated it it was amazing
I think many of us are too complacent when we hear the news about the fighting in Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world for that matter. This book brought home to me the camaraderie felt by those who fight together. Their lives very literally depend upon each other. None of us can truthfully say what we would do in situations they face daily. My heart goes out to those brave men and women who willingly serve and fight for freedom. I also was struck by the great burden their families shoulder ...more
Anne Ward
Aug 01, 2013 Anne Ward rated it really liked it
Review: This book doesn't try to tell the story of the Afghanistan war or make a broad political story instead it focuses on one operation for one team of people in Afghanistan. This intense focus lets you feel the that you are in the midst of battle from misery of armor rash to joking around with the boys. Yet at the same time this book skillfully tells of the context of the war in Afghanistan from the struggles to continuously retake ground from the Taliban to small victories like an ...more
Zachary Nelson
Aug 19, 2014 Zachary Nelson rated it really liked it
Lions of Kandahar was a dive into Rusty Bradley's world as he did his combat tours in Afghanistan. The book starts a little slow, but picks up with a lot of firefights. The daily routine of Rusty is working with his Afghan national army counter parts in destroying terrorist groups in the region of Kandahar. The lions of Kandahar is a title he gives to the Afghan national army men during a speech to motivate them in serving their country. The book went into a lot more detail than most other books ...more
Jun 28, 2013 Breck rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
The is the firsthand account of Major Rusty Bradley and his team of Green Berets as they trek from Kandahar, Afghanistan to the Panjwayi Valley to support the Canadian military while running out the Taliban forces and taking a hill call Sperwan Ghar. What the Special Forces team endured and accomplished during Operation Medusa is nothing short of amazing. I learned a lot about the Army ODAs (Green Berets/A-Teams). One of their primary purposes is to train the local Afghan army, learn the ...more
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Lions of Kandahar: A Story of a Fight Against all Odds 1 3 Oct 30, 2015 05:46AM  
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Major Rusty Bradley was wounded during the Battle of Sperwan Ghar in command of a Special Forces A-team, on his third combat tour as a Special Forces team leader. A native of North Carolina, he graduated from Mars Hill College and enlisted in the Army in 1993, serving as an infantryman for six years before earning his commission from Officer Candidate School in 1999.
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“If in fact your time to be called before God, you typically won't know it. Sometimes you will, and these are the hardest of times: When the blood pours from your nose and down your throat, clogging it, causing you to spit and gag. You heave for breath in the smoke and dust. Your equipment seems to suffocate you. You wipe the salty sweat and grime from your eyes, only to realize that it is blood, either yours or that of the enemy. You would stand, but you can't move your legs. You grasp the open, gaping wounds in your body, trying not to pass out from the pain. You feel the anger thinking of the loved ones you will never see again, and losing your life infuriates your soul. You rage to get to your feet and grab for a weapon, any weapon. Regardless of your race, culture, or religion, you want to die standing, fighting like a warrior, an American, so others won't have to. For those looking for a definition, this is the price of freedom.” 6 likes
“Leadership Philosophy: Understand where we have been; focus on the present and plan for the future. Everything has a triangle which encompasses three major points. Discipline, Competence and Trust comprise the first triangle. Trust was the base of the triangle. We were expected to be able to look in the mirror, not out the window. Confidence and familiarity with even the smallest tasks established this. Competence was next. There was always an expectation to focus on the fundamentals, understand the psychology of war, and do the right thing. The final and most crucial ingredient was discipline; discipline in yourself and in your soldiers. To Lieutenant Colonel Bolduc, discipline was not about power, it was about the judicious use of authority and responsibility. Special Forces had a boatload of both.” 0 likes
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