Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Task Force Black: The Explosive True Story of the Secret Special Forces War in Iraq” as Want to Read:
Task Force Black: The Explosive True Story of the Secret Special Forces War in Iraq
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  591 Ratings  ·  37 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 rever ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published February 18th 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Task Force Black, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Task Force Black

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jun 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Chris Wray
Apr 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
This book traces the involvement of Special Forces in the larger military effort in Iraq, with a primary focus on the British, and specifically the SAS. It's a work of journalistic military history, and Urban does a good job of outlining the development under Gen. Stanley McCrystal of a coherent strategy for using special forces to defeat the insurgency. The main events that are familiar from the media reporting at the time are all set in context (the Basra prison incident, the rescue of Norman ...more
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
Josef Black
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Jonny Gibbings
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From 2003 to 2009, Britain's crack special forces SAS/SBS/SRS joined the American led "Industrial CounterTerrorism" Campaign in Baghdad during Gulf War III. The campaign, along with the "Surge" and the "Tribal Awakening" helped to blunt the horrible sectarian/political bloodbath that was taking place. In this taught, tension packed, account, Urban takes us inside the "Find-Fix-Finish Interrogate-Exploit" cycle, and shows us the difficulty of balancing operational, logistical and political issues ...more
Logan Hone
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Mrs. V
Freshman English
11 April 2017
Task Force Black
Stanley McCrystal was the courageous general of the S.A.S; he was the mastermind behind Operation Crichton. Operation Crichton was an campaign involving the special forces from the United Kingdom, led by Graeme Lamb. During this mission, the Special Air Service and a couple other elite units perform stealth night missions to eliminate Islamic fighters tied in with Al-Qaeda. This mission is very scary, hence the fact that one wrong move can
Ryan Lackey
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war-on-terror
Good overview of JSOC activities and structure by a journalist (particularly SAS, and the complexities of combined and joint operations) in Iraq/OIF. This was pretty secret at the time (and still is in a lot of ways), and I think there were some issues around the publication/clearance of this book at the time, but from what I can tell it is relatively accurate and a good overview. (I read this book in hardcover while at a JSOC site in Iraq, which was kind of lulzy).
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Juging this book by ist cover (which is (almost) never a good idea), I thought that it's one of those books written by retired soldiers about their live in the Forces.

Being written by a Journalist and not a soldier, this book is however the exact opposite of the ones described above. Having done extensive Research for this book, it describes the SAS's role in the second golf war. Urban has a very nice writting style which is not too complicated, yet tells a well researched and informative Story.
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Real "Bravo Two Zero"
  • Kill or Capture: How a Special Operations Task Force Took Down a Notorious al Qaeda Terrorist
  • Apache Dawn
  • Gentlemen Bastards: On the Ground in Afghanistan with America's Elite Special Forces
  • Killer Elite: The Inside Story of America's Most Secret Special Operations Team
  • Hellfire
  • Battle Ready: Memoir of a SEAL Warrior Medic
  • Spoken From The Front: Real Voices From the Battlefields of Afghanistan
  • Masters of Chaos: The Secret History of the Special Forces
  • The Hunt for Bin Laden
  • Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft And Special Ops On The Frontlines Of Afghanistan- And The Path To Victory
  • Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq
  • Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror
  • Sniper One: The Blistering True Story Of A British Battle Group Under Siege
  • Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam
  • The Kill Zone
  • Shadows In The Jungle: The Alamo Scouts Behind Japanese Lines In World War II
  • Down Range: Navy Seals in the War on Terrorism
Mark Urban is a British journalist, author and broadcaster, and is currently the Diplomatic Editor for BBC Two's Newsnight.
More about Mark Urban...