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Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan
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Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  6,727 ratings  ·  556 reviews
The inspiration for the major motion picture 12 Strong from Jerry Bruckheimer, starring Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon.

From the New York Times bestselling author of In Harm’s Way comes a true-life story of American soldiers overcoming great odds to achieve a stunning military victory.

Horse Soldiers is the dramatic account of a small band of Special Forces soldiers who
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Hardcover, 393 pages
Published May 5th 2009 by Scribner
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Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,727 ratings  ·  556 reviews


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Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
****The movie 12 Strong to be released January 19th, 2018 (my birthday) is based on this book.****

”I asked for a few Americans,” said General Abdul Rashid Dostum. “they brought with them the courage of a whole army.”

 photo HorseSoldiers_zps8d9997de.jpg
The Famous Horse Soldiers of Afghanistan.

Dostum was ruling Northern Afghanistan when the Taliban captured Masar-i-Sharif in 1998 and blew up the ancient Buddhas that had watched over the town for centuries. ”What man had the right to write the future by blowing up the past?” The Ta
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Terri
Fantastic. Utterly fantastic. Books like this rarely come along - the books that should exceed the 5 star Goodreads rating system. To me, Horse Soldiers, by far and away, is one of those books.
The story in itself is astounding. That a group of Special Forces guys would be dropped into Afghanistan with the express intention of assisting the Northern Alliance by calling in bombs on targets. So yes, that story in itself is fascinating, and inspirational, but you then have to add into the equation t
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Carmaletta Hilton
May 22, 2009 rated it liked it
This book was a difficult read. At times, I felt like I was trudging through a high school or college text book with the information piling on top of me until I couldn't breathe. Other times, however, I felt like I was in the middle of a story with a real narrative that pulled me along. Obviously, the narrative parts were easier to read, but at the same time, they gave me pause and made me stop. I found myself actually reading it like this was a story, some kind of historical fiction, which led ...more
Glen
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

An excellent, exciting account of the special forces soldiers who invaded Afghanistan, riding horses to victory. I'm not at all surprised they made this into a movie.
Alden Mackie
Jul 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
This book could have been covering the most interesting story ever told, held the secret to life itself and it wouldn't mean a thing. It was horribly written. 100 pages into the book and the main characters still haven't stepped foot on Afghanistan soil. There is so much mundane detail about every single person introduced in the story (whether or not they are an important person to the plot or not) that it bogs down over and over again. Every time the book seems to be picking up another person g ...more
Mike
Aug 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Hah!" he (Dostum) chortled into the radio, talking to the Taliban soldiers. The Americans think so little of you they have sent a woman to kill you!...I will call her the 'Angel of Death'"...The Taliban were apoplectic." This occurs near Konduz after an AC-130 Spectre gunship with a female crewmember is overheard on the radio. I loved that psychological warfare.

Ok, this is an important book on the start of the Afghan campaign. Amazing inventiveness, courage and endurance by the SOF teams called
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Spencer
Nov 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This was a fascinating book that left me with two takeaway points. (1) Afghanistan is one of the most incredibly complex, dangerous, nuanced, barren, afflicted, difficult places on earth. It is hard for Americans, who live with such far-reaching freedom and ridiculous affluence, to even imagine that a place like this exists. Unless, of course, you are one of the brave and dedicated members of our armed forces (like those in this book) who have spent time fighting there. (2) The best way to fight ...more
Natalie
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: war
These men who truly did accomplish something extraordinary, their families, the backdrop of current events, and the way time waits for no-one are all presented with great respect and care.

In the midst of it all, and in the aftermath we've just lived through, babies are born, men die, soldiers once victorious are re-deployed and face danger again and again while their families wait, men ready themselves to fight another day, others attempt to gather enough money or power or support to make their
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Elaine
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I finally finished this! This is not my first military history but I always find they make for very slow reads. All of the names, acronyms, and dates get muddled if I read them to quickly.

Mr. Stanton managed to write a fairly entertaining book. I enjoyed learning a few tidbits regarding the soldiers personal lives. By the end I felt like I was familiar with each mans individual personality which made for a very lively read. There were a few slow parts but by the time the soldiers touched downnin
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Westminster Library
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, drew
Doug Stanton’s well researched book on the extraordinary adventure of US Soldiers and their fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan is remarkable. Due to the highly sensitive nature of the story, it took quite some time before it was declassified by the US government. This story shows the power of the human spirit, the power of endurance and perseverance, the power of freeing an oppressed people, the power of fighting for justice and winning against the odds. At times I could not put the book d ...more
James
May 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
'It was OK' is really the best I can do.

The characters were too numerous to follow a narrative, the details too sound-byte-ish to follow the procedural.

But perhaps the worst infraction that a flash-in-the-pan, not-intended-to-be-on-bookstore-shelves-two-years-from-now book, can commit: it was easy to put down. Easy to set aside, easy to get distracted from.

That said, I give it an 'OK' and not something worse, because it did have it's interesting bits. Not the writing, and not enough, but the sto
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Gerry
Special Forces of the U.S. Army are masters at their craft. These soldiers go largely unknown, except in those rare instances that they come out of the woodwork on a well-known effort that has national attention. For example, Special Forces rescued Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell during the failed attempt of Operation Red Wing. They also recovered the remains of all 16 service members killed on the ground or those killed in the helicopter during the rescue attempt at the beginning.

The narrative hook e
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G.M. Burrow
True story of the twelve Special Forces soldiers who landed in Afghanistan less than a month after 9-11 and teamed up with the locals against the Taliban. They were outnumbered forty to one. They were on horses up against tanks. But they won...and were then ambushed by several hundred would-be POWs, leading to the death of the first American killed in the first war of the twenty-first century.

I’m sure I saw the news at the time because we were all glued to the TV back then, but I had no recolle
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Cat
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I bought the book when I saw a trailer for an upcoming movie based on the story (And every book reader knows the movies never live up to the books).

This story was amazing.

When the towers were hit in 2001, I knew we'd be sending in some soldiers. this is the story of the Special Forces soldiers that first went into Afganistan. At times, it was a challenging read, as the author set the background on the people, locations and culture. But once he got rolling on the heart of the story, he pulled yo
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Sourojit Das
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it
A good read about the start of the war on terror in Afghanistan, however, could have been a bit crisper.
Wayland Smith
Sep 25, 2016 rated it liked it
After the attacks on 9/11, America needed a response. The first part of it was scrambling a small group of Special Forces soldiers to go to Afghanistan and help topple the Taliban. This is their story, telling the individual stories of how several of the men ended up in the military, and then eventually in the fight against the Taliban. It's well researched and shows the men as people, not faceless soldiers or action movie paragons.

Their struggle as they landed, got to know the locals, and help
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Mike
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Stanton documents the actions of U.S. Special Forces soldiers who entered Afghanistan in October 2001 with the mission of assisting Northern Alliance forces in their battle against the Taliban. The description of 21st Century horse cavalry charges alone are worth reading the book for. Besides the stories of the men involved Stanton also documents the activities of John Walker Lindh. The book culminates in the riot at Qala-i-Jangi where Lindh was captured and Mike Spann became the first U.S. casu ...more
Billbob Spear
Sep 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military
Having read Sebastian Junger's WAR, I was hungry for more Afghan information. This book is another must read for those who are trying to understand what we are really involved in in Afghanistan. Doug Stanton explains what it was like to be among the 50 Special Forces men who won the initial war in Afghanistan by bringing in hi-tech techniques to assist the horse soldiers of the Northern Alliance in defeating 50,000 Taliban fighters. Now we are back and are losses are going up.

War (SJunger) weak
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Bill
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Special Forces lead the way... This was interesting to see how effectively a well trained group of men adequately supported by airpower can turn the tide of a conflict. Great insight into the shadow warriors. The section on the errant bomb during the battle for Qala-i-Jangi was especially moving. Knowing how easily things can go wrong in a conflict, I was surprised that the operations of TF Dagger did not receive more casualties. I appreciate the sacrifice of these soldiers and their Northern Al ...more
Nicole
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this informative read. I had no clue what went on after the September 11th attacks, and when the U.S started sending forces over there. It's amazing that just 12 special forces soldiers were able to essentially win the war in Afghanistan in 4 months, the U.S. just didn't know how move on from there and rebuild. This book sheds light on the impossible task these men had to accomplish and they did it, even though they were completely unprepared. I liked the description at the end ...more
Cait - GoodeyReads
HARD TO GET THROUGH.

BLOG || INSTA

For more than one reason.

One of those reasons is the sheer mass of knowledge and facts that were added. I’m not sure this needed nearly 400 pages to say everything the author did. Yes, he definitely did his homework, but goodness, it was dense. I occasionally skimmed to move everything along.

Another reason was the heaviness that is war. In detail — injuries, death, and more was conveyed throughout these pages. I literally cringed at the thought of every one invol
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Peter Corrigan
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the book that was renamed '12 Strong' and became a movie. So I guess I now know what happens! It's a pretty good book, not great. The story is very interesting though and what is most amazing is that it seems almost like ancient history. And depressing to realize we are still there and little has really changed in Afghanistan. Roughly 40 to 60 percent of the population either sympathize with or are the Taliban and the other 40 to 60 percent despise them and would prefer to join the moder ...more
CARLY
Mar 22, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars...I love reading the heroic tales of my Country's finest. However, in comparison to some of the other nonfiction accounts I've read, I felt the writing was good, but not great, it was very factual which was fine because sometimes authors have the tendency to sensationalize things, but it just wasn't as gripping as I was expecting. At times I felt the struggle and enormity of the mission, and other times I felt like I was just simply reading a text book on the events that took place. I ...more
Mandi Smith
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gave some amazing insight into the immediate response of the US after 9/11. The story of what these troops went through is incredible. It’s a story I never knew, and I am grateful to now know it. At times it was difficult to follow all the ‘characters’. This is certainly not the author’s fault; it was really just a testament to the complex nature of what was occurring. It gets a little slow about halfway through, but the last section about the ambush had me not wanting to put it down.
Hunter Satterfield
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Book that the new movie "12 Strong" is based on. Great story about the first Americans on the ground in Afghanistan after 9/11. Similar to other war narrative non-fiction books like "Black Hawk Down" or "13 Hours." Fast paced story telling on a relatively unknown story. "13 Hours" is still my favorite in this genre, but this one was very good overall.
Joseph
Just an incredible book, all the more incredible because it is true. It unfolds honestly in all the gruesome brutality of fighting at close quarters. It you want an up close look at what Afghanistan is really like, read this book. If you want to understand how a few well trained, dedicated men can prevail, and influence and impact the course of battle, read this book.

The book is very well researched and written. It reads more like a novel than an actual recounting of real events.
Lianne
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I enjoyed this true story about the first soldiers/operatives to be deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11. This book was a true learning experience in many ways about subjects I knew little to nothing about other than what I've read in fiction.
Justin
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
awesome, well told story
Chris (Norseman) Miller
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a phenomenal read. Great picture painting with words! Amazing how much research and time had to go into a great book!
Maria Jansson
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The best book I’ve read this year. A true story that opened my heart to the soul of America. A thrilling, yet humbling story about a few extraordinary men, willing to give everything.
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Doug Stanton is a journalist, lecturer, screenwriter, and author of the New York Times bestsellers In Harm’s Way and Horse Soldiers. His newest book is The Odyssey Of Echo Company. Horse Soldiers is the basis for a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced movie by the same name, starring Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon, to be released by Warner Bros. in 2018. In Harm’s Way spent more than six months on the ...more
“This was Special Forces’ rule number one: let men experience failure so they never fail again. And by failing, they will learn how to be successful soldiers.” 0 likes
“Later, Dean would see Atta’s fighters show up carrying AK-47s, and there with them would be their sons, carrying spare magazines. Behind the sons walked even younger sons, carrying nothing. Dean understood that in this kind of fighting, the sons who carried nothing would pick up either a gun or a magazine if the fathers or brothers were killed. The look on the faces of the kids seemed to indicate to Dean that they expected to die.” 0 likes
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