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The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor
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The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  3,014 Ratings  ·  301 Reviews
At 6:00 a.m. on the morning of October 3, 2009, Combat Outpost Keating was viciously attacked by Taliban insurgents. The 53 U.S. troops, having been stationed at the bottom of three steep mountains, were severely outmanned by nearly 400 Taliban fighters. Though the Americans ultimately prevailed, their casualties made it one of the war's deadliest battles for U.S. forces. ...more
Hardcover, 673 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2012)
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Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading this book that I knew was in the making for the last two years. My husband was a commander with 6-4 Cav and Rob Yllescas and Dena were personal friends of ours. It was surreal reading The story of Keating and the Outpost and really just pisses you off on how and why this could happen. Our soldiers are so brave and professional and deserve our respect. These families who lost their love ones deserved to be toasted whereever they go for the rest of their lives. This is highly ...more
'Aussie Rick'
How to do justice to a book full of accounts of brave young men being horrifically wounded and dying in the course of their duty – I can’t! All I can say is that people need to read this book, the story of brave young American servicemen based in a deadly and highly vulnerable valley just a few miles away from the Pakistan border and surrounded by enemy forces.

The book’s main focus is on the troops manning Combat Outpost Keating – named after an officer who lost his life at that location. The o
Phil Melton
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Every American should read this book. And every member of Congress should have to read 'The Outpost' before casting any votes involving sending Americans into harm's way. Detailed, involving, sobering, infuriating. Jake Tapper has done a marvelous job of writing, and performed a public service by authoring this.
Heather C.
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book drained me. 600+ pages describe the tragic story of a lone outpost in 2006 Afghanistan. Someone, somewhere, came up with the moronic idea of putting a post in a location so remote, so inaccessible, and so dangerous that many, MANY soldiers lost their lives, unnecessarily, the author shows.

The mountains of Afghanistan are dangerous, (with bad guys for sure, but also with a people who live pretty much the same way they did 5,000 years ago and don't have any desire for anything different
This book has high ratings on this site and has recieved good reviews from a number of different sources and for good reason. This is, perhaps, the best book on combat in Afghanistan for American soldiers available now. The other book I've read about this was Lone Survivor The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus LuttrellLone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, but this one does a much better job as it follows the birth, life, and death of a combat outpost in a remote region of Afganistan, following th ...more
“I know that when I get home, these stories are from just one chapter in a life that I will continue to use in meaningful ways.”

This is one of the best books I’ve read in a really long time. It’s one that I think every American needs to read. It’s incredibly sad and often infuriating, but eye-opening in so many ways. It certainly made me look at things differently.

I’m not a huge non-fiction reader, so this really wasn’t ever on my radar. It was a combination of my step-dad putting this book in
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This should be required reading for every American. Reading this has evoked many emotions in me. Pride in these men, love for these men, sorrow for the loss, anger at our political leaders....the majority of our citizens have no clue whatsoever as to the price being paid by our armed forces. It is my hope and prayer that many will read this and perhaps come to some understanding of the great and terrible price paid by our troops and their families. To all who were a part of this story, may God ...more
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a vivid depiction of our professional military in combat and in confused, difficult counterinsurgency situations. The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor is a 4 Star story of a small corner of the Afghanistan War that claimed so many fine young men. These soldiers are exceptional. The final battle of the book is awe-inspiring. A Medal of Honor was just awarded to SSGT Romesha for his actions in the battle. He was just one brave man among many brave men who came to Combat Outpost K ...more
Michael Flanagan
Nov 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: afghanistan
Outpost tells the life of the soldiers that manned one of the many US outposts in Afghanistan. This one is situated in an area the Afghani's themselves consider hardcore and worse than that it sits in the bottom of a valley. All aspects are looked at as the author puts a face and story to the many injured and killed troops that daily fill the news reports as statistics. It shows the battle to win hearts and minds of a population that can be friendly one minute and taking pot shots at you the nex ...more
Michael Burhans
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, political
This is one of the most important books I have read n years. EVERYBODY in the USA needs to read this book and see what is being done in our name. The waste of the sacrifice and heroism of our front line troops becasue they are put in ridiculous untenable situations. the absurdity of trying to force pur political system and values on people who find them abhorrent. There is so much going on in this book you need to know. Yet it is written with a gripping and fast paced narrative that makes it an ...more
Oct 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book was about 300 pages too long. The gripping tale of the final brutal battle to prevent a foolishly placed US Army outpost from being overrun by enemy fighters occupies the last quarter of the book. To get there, you have to slog through 500 pages recounting every single minor battle in the area, the location and backstory for every other outpost, the four different squadrons of soldiers that rotated in and out of the outpost, and assorted other unnecessary stories. This book was badly i ...more
This is my first book discussing battles in Afghanistan. I was impressed with the amount of dedication the author spent discussing the troops. I usually read histories that discuss generals/admirals or other leaders. Rarely do I pick up a book that covers the actions of soldiers fighting for every scrap of an outpost. I have never been to Afghanistan, only Iraq, so I have no clue how rough the terrain, how culturally diverse, or how formidable the Taliban can be. The Outpost is a story of misgui ...more
Andre Zollars
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is like reading "The Things We Carried" or any other war book from any other era. However, the echoes of Vietnam are unmistakable in the failed leadership, the lack of resources, the poor planning, and the clear inability to accomplish something the Soviets were unable to do.

An Army veteran myself, engaged to a 25-year Army Veteran, who commanded a Brigade in Afghanistan, I have a different perspective than most. It is powerfully told story full of everything you'd expect in a good war
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is an amazing book.

At time is very hard to read because of Tapper’s detailed descriptions of battles and the mayhem of battles as well as many sad outcomes.

Now that I have finished this book I am very glad I invested the time. So many soldiers give everything they have including their lives. This book gives you the feeling you are an up close observer in what soldiers experience. It gave me a significant appreciation for their sacrifice.

Not a political book but gives you some insights to th
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing

It personalizes the war in Afghanistan and makes me wonder, yet again, why we are there, and why we continue to let old men send young men to die. The soldier who is one week away from taking leave during which he'll be married; the soldier whose wife is expecting their first baby; the only son taken from his mother; the 19 and 20-year-olds murdered on the other side of the world, in a country that doesn't want us there in the first place.

I would give it 10 stars if I c
Mike Stanley
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
where to start. immerses oneself into what it might be like to be a soldier in Afghanistan. First, about idiotic beuracracy directly leading to pointless deaths before the outpost story really begins. that's my quick description anyhow, i think Mr. Tapper would concur. then you vividly relive the story of the outpost, the soldiers and some of the larger perspective. bottom line is this book covers a lot of themes as well as tells a compelling tragic story of an individual outpost. highly recomme ...more
Nick Lloyd
Better than I expected from Jake Tapper. The parts of the book which actually discuss the attack on Keating are incredibly real and thorough. Unfortunately, the author spends 1/3 of the book on backstory (we get it, the COP was in a shitty location. I don't need the life story of officers from three deployments prior).
Jen Rothmeyer
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I spent some time in the U.S. Army National Guard, but I will immediately disclose that I did not deploy overseas during my commitment. My opinions on this book come primarily as an American citizen with a little flavor of former military POG through in. (POG means “person other than grunt” or someone who is typically in a support role far away from combat.) Now that my disclaimer is out of the way, let’s move on to the real review of the book.

Once I actually received the book and started readin
Mal Warwick
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A wrenching view of the Afghanistan war that brings the conflict into focus

Christians are urged to “hate the sin, love the sinner.” Difficult as that may be to believe in many circumstances, the distinction between action and actor seems to be the only way to reconcile honor and support for American troops at war with the horrific acts they so often commit overseas. One recent book, award-winning journalist Nick Turse’s Kill Anything That Moves, fastens our attention on the numberless atrocities
Mar 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
We owe these guys on the front lines. America's longest war by 2x now. Makes an indirect argument of bringing back the draft by example. It's too comfortable for most of the US to not pay attention because they don't have skin in the game.
Brandon Michael
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely riveting. I was transported back to Afghanistan.
Urey Patrick
This book is more than a narrative, more than a significant addition to the body of lore documenting the war in Afghanistan and the American military experience in the wars of the early 21st Century. Tapper has created an experience – a compelling and spellbinding immersion into the small, intimate and endlessly dangerous little world that was Combat Outpost Keating in a remote, isolated and virtually unreachable mountainous area of Afghanistan. He starts with creation of what became COP Keating ...more
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This is a sad book; one that will make you angry. The two emotions combine as you read the story of a Combat Outpost placed at the bottom of a deep Afghanistan valley connected to reinforcements only by helicopters (that would eventually only fly on moonless nights) or by a crumbling road barely wide enough for a single Humvee (and ambushed continually). The local populace is at best indifferent to the American presence to help them with reconstruction tasks, water supplies, schools, etc - prefe ...more
Michael Kimball
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A modern-day Rorke's Drift.

The Outpost is among the best military history books I've read, with its incredible insight into the daily struggles and sacrifices of the soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. The Outpost tells the story of the American presence in the Nuristan province of Eastern Afghanistan in late 2009, and in particular, the fate of the ill-situated and undermanned combat outpost Keating. COP Keating was a small US outpost incredulously situated in the nearly indefensible bottom of a
Craig Bowman
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a well written book documenting the true story of a extremely poorly planned outpost that was placed in the most hostile part of Afghanistan bordering the Pakistan border. The Outpost was called Outpost Keating after a fallen soldier killed in the early stages of the Outpost being created. The outpost was doomed from the beginning when the Military planners decided to set up outpost Keating at the bottom of three steep mountains. The enemy was everywhere in the mountains that surrounded ...more
Bob Pearson
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a story of American determination and courage that reflects the finest of who we are and what our men and women sacrifice for our country. It is, like all stories of war, also an account of poor reasoning, bad planning, negligence and incompetence. Now that we are leaving Afghanistan, one might rightly wonder why the U.S. military command thought that putting soldiers in isolated outposts in very mountainous country in the midst of likely hostile populations was a great idea. It was in p ...more
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
A stunningly painful book to read, but not because the book is not well written. In fact, this is some of the finest combat journalism I've ever read. This is the clear and concise facts-only story of a three-and-one-half year period in extreme eastern Afghanistan at a small U.S. Army combat outpost, and the horror and hell that four companies of soldiers endured while deployed there. The story of Combat Outpost Keating may also end up serving as a microcosm for the overarching U.S. strategic vi ...more
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Not a quick or light read, but once you get in it and become acquainted with the soldiers, you can't put it down.

I really enjoyed the detailed description of the Afghanistan landscape. It's so beautiful, and such a contrast to the warfare going on. Though I knew the area was rugged, I really had no idea how much so until I read what it takes to travel, and survive, in that area. Four hour hikes up steep mountains (in full gear) just to visit a nearby camp!

The research was very detailed, and th
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent book about an isolated outpost (Keating) in Afghanistan. I remember seeing the Taliban video on TV and then came across this book. It is a must read for anyone interested in how the war is fought in such a isolated location. Also gives you an idea if how hard it is for people from the United States to understand other perspectives. For us, a road represents progress and freedom. For many people, it is a way for the central government to come and take your wealth and tell you how you sh ...more
Oct 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Not the kind of book I normally would read, but I heard Jake Trapper's interview on NPR and felt such admiration for him, it seemed the right thing to do was to read his work. Our Soldiers (and as respect to them, the word should be in caps) in Afghanistan and Iraq are in a world and a war so far removed form many of us, we truly have no idea what it is like. The Outpost took me to the battle field and it was the closest I could possibly get without enlisting and going there as a Soldier myself. ...more
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Too much God 10 9 Jul 18, 2014 03:07AM  
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CNN anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper joined the network in January 2013. The Lead with Jake Tapper, his one-hour weekday program, debuted in March 2013. Tapper was named host of the network's Sunday morning show, State of the Union, in June 2015. Tapper has been a widely respected reporter in the nation's capital for more than 14 years. His most recent book, The Outpost: An U ...more
More about Jake Tapper
“As Kolenda saw it, none of what he was doing had anything to do with being warmhearted. In his opinion, counterinsurgency was a pretty damned cold-blooded strategy, all about being out there with specific goals—establishing stability and defeating the insurgency—and intelligently using the full range of available leverage, from cash, clean water, and education for local children to bullets, when appropriate, to get the desired results. There was an element of manipulation involved. Sure, he wanted the Afghans to have better lives—how could anyone not, after seeing that kind of impoverishment? But there was also something transactional about American promises of clean water, construction jobs, and a brighter future for Afghan kids. This wasn’t charity; the bottom line was, these offers were made to save American lives and help destroy anyone who hoped to hurt ISAF troops. Kolenda could never understand why some folks viewed the carrots as being somehow inferior to the sticks.” 2 likes
“Army studies indicate that if a wounded soldier arrives alive at a combat support hospital where surgeons and nurses can treat him, the chances of his surviving are extremely high—greater than 90 percent. “Surviving,” of course, doesn’t necessarily entail keeping arms or legs or retaining the ability to function independently back home. The leading cause of preventable death on the battlefield is bleeding. Having a leg blown off by an IED, for instance, can be fatal if quick steps are not taken to control the blood loss. Even deadlier is internal bleeding, a problem for which medics generally don’t have a good answer. A soldier who is bleeding internally needs to be evacuated and delivered to a surgeon immediately if he is to have any hope of survival. The second-leading cause of preventable death is something called tension pneumothorax. If a bullet punctures a soldier’s lung, air can leak from that hole into the “pleural space,” or cavity outside the lungs. That air can build up and eventually interfere with the functioning of the heart. This can be a relatively simple problem to correct: a medic can simply stick a big needle in the soldier’s chest to relieve the pressure in the pleural space.” 1 likes
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