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message 251: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (new)

André (AndrH) | 2753 comments Mod
Time's 10 Questions for Pervez Musharraf whose answers clearly give away the attitude that sadly stands in the way of peace/any attempt to successfully create anything like it in the near future.

message 252: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) A few days ago I ordered a copy of this book, it looks very interesting and covers an incident I had not heard about in Afghanistan; "Victory Point" by Ed Darack.

Victory Point Operations Red Wings and Whalers - the Marine Corps' Battle for Freedom inAfghanistan by Ed Darack by Ed Darack
In late June 2005, media reports recounted the tragic story of nineteen U.S. military soldiers and Marines who died at the hands of Ahmad Shah-and the lone survivor who was rescued-in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan. The harrowing events of Operation Red Wings marked the beginning of an important-yet widely misreported-chapter in the Global War on Terror.

Victory Point reveals the complete and untold story of Operation Red Wings, and the follow-up mission, Operation Whalers. It is the story not of a mission gone wrong, but of a complex and difficult campaign that finally saw the demise of Ahmad Shah and his band of barbarous fighters.

Thanks to the valor of the 2nd Battalion of the 3rd Marine Regiment in the summer of 2005, Afghanistan was able to hold free elections that Fall. Here is the inspiring true account of heroism, duty, and brotherhood between marines fighting the War on Terror.

"VICTORY POINT chronicles multifaceted combat operations in the mountains of Afghanistan by the 2nd Battalion of the 3rd Marine Regiment, operations that ultimately ended in success, a success proven by the unfettered National Assembly and Provincial Council Elections in September of 2005. Ed Darack, the author, spent two months with 2/3 in Afghanistan in 2005 and that time period was the genesis for the book. He spent a great deal of time interviewing the Marines and sailors and lived at Camp Blessing with the Marines, sailors, and Afghan Security Forces. In the book he chronicles how the battalion achieved victories, not by technology dependent special operations, but by time-tested boots-on-the-ground, small unit counterinsurgency tactics. Ed was able to see the battalion and how it worked closely with locals, spending as much time outside the wire as possible, proving our intentions for a unified and pacified country, and of course, always being ready for the tough fight. VICTORY POINT brings the reader into all aspects of what it took to win a difficult counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan, conveying the no-nonsense, classic, and time proven methods of this type of warfare, from the dividends yielded from passing out school supplies to children, to helping build roads and other infrastructure, to the necessity of undertaking a high intensity combat. While much of the book is devoted to the kinetic combat operations that ensued during Operations Red Wings and Whalers, he covers the battalion’s full spectrum of counterinsurgency operations in the book. Everyone will benefit from reading this book because it gives superb insight into 'why' Afghanistan is so radically different from Iraq and will require the skillful application of all elements of national power in order to achieve some modicum of stability for them and the region." - Lt Col Rob Scott, United States Marine Corps (is a military fellow in the International Security Program at CSIS and has served in both Afghanistan and Iraq. From 2003 to 2006, he served as the battalion executive officer of Second Battalion, Third Marines. In that capacity, he deployed with the 31st MEU(SOC) in 2003–2004 and to Operation ENDURING FREEDOM VI in 2005.)

message 253: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Another two books that I have just recently ordered that covers some British operations in Afghanistan are:

An Ordinary Soldier Afghanistan A Ferocious Enemy. A Bloody Conflict. One Man's Impossible Mission by Doug Beattie by Doug Beattie
On 11th September 2006 - exactly five years after the attacks on the Twin Towers - a modern day Rorke's Drift was played out in the town of Garmsir, known as the Taliban gateway to Helmand Province. 40-year-old Capt. Doug Beattie of the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment was charged with the mission to help retake Garmsir from the Taliban. His commanders said it would take two days; it actually took two weeks of exhausting, bloody conflict in which at times he would be one of only a small unit up against a ferocious enemy in impossible conditions.For his repeated bravery Doug Beattie was decorated with the Military Cross. AN ORDINARY SOLDIER offers an extraordinary insight into the mission in Afghanistan and, crucially, the relationship between British troops and the Afghans they serve alongside. Above all, it's Beattie's personal story of being what he modestly calls 'an ordinary soldier' - someone who balances being a loving father and husband with that of fighting in the world's most hostile place. It demands to be read.

Task Force Helmand A Soldier's Story of Life, Death and Combat on the Afghan Front Line by Doug Beattie by Doug Beattie
Doug Beattie was due to retire from the British Army in 2007, until his CO made a desperate plea: stay on for just one more tour. In March 2008 he returned to Afghanistan. But if 2006 had been hellish, then 2008 was off the scale. For six months Beattie led Afghan and British troops into repeated, exhausting battles with the Taliban. He took part in 50 major contacts and describes in detail the action-packed reality of life and death on the frontline, bringing the chaos and ferocity of the war to lfe with the utmost honesty and humanity. Gripping and moving in equal measure, this searing and personal account from the author of An Ordinary Soldier is a war memoir of the highest possible calibre.

The Author:
Doug Beattie entered 1 R Irish as 17-year-old. He served as an NCO in Bosnia, an RSM in Iraq, and completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan before retiring from the British Army in autumn 2008. He was awarded the Military Cross in 2006. Co-writer Philip Gomm first met Doug Beattie in Helmand Province in 2006 while working for ITV News.

message 254: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (last edited Apr 08, 2011 08:18AM) (new)

André (AndrH) | 2753 comments Mod
'Aussie Rick' wrote: "A few days ago I ordered a copy of this book, it looks very interesting and covers an incident I had not heard about in Afghanistan; "Victory Point" by Ed Darack..."

Hi Rick, any idea about the difference between the two operations? Redwing and Red Wings...

This one I really liked:

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 by Marcus Luttrell

message 255: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (new)

André (AndrH) | 2753 comments Mod
'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Another two books that I have just recently ordered that covers some British operations..."

Rick, I'm sure you'll like these. The writing is a little "stiff" from time to time but Doug is a good man and his story needs to be told.

An Ordinary Soldier Afghanistan A Ferocious Enemy. A Bloody Conflict. One Man's Impossible Mission by Doug Beattie by Doug Beattie

message 256: by Tom (new)

Tom André wrote:
Hi Rick, any idea about the difference between the two operations? Redwing and Red Wings..."

I believe they are one in the same:

message 257: by Tom (new)

Tom There was a REDWING relating to nuclear testing.

Red Wings was the proper name and is sometimes referred to as Redwing.

message 258: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (last edited Apr 08, 2011 08:12AM) (new)

André (AndrH) | 2753 comments Mod
Tom wrote: "Red Wings was the proper name and is sometimes referred to as Redwing."

Funny, since as far as I can remember Marcus Luttrell, the one survivor, always speaks of Redwing...

message 259: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (last edited Apr 09, 2011 04:47AM) (new)

André (AndrH) | 2753 comments Mod
Two more adding to the confusion:
American Heroes in Special Operations by Oliver NorthAmerican Heroes in Special Operations by Oliver North
Here it's Redwing

Whereas in this one the word is split in two again:

Seal of Honor Operation Red Wings and the Life of LT. Michael P. Murphy, USN by Gary WilliamsSeal of Honor: Operation Red Wings and the Life of LT. Michael P. Murphy, USN by Gary Williams

They're all good books (but O.North's can of course not be as in depth as the others since it collects all kinds of Special Ops)
I have read quite a lot about these men. They will forever stay in my memory, no matter what the Operation is called.

message 260: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (KristiColeman) Seal of Honor Operation Red Wings and the Life of LT. Michael P. Murphy, USN by Gary Williams Seal of Honor: Operation Red Wings and the Life of LT. Michael P. Murphy, USNby Gary Williams is one of my absolute favorite boos! Did you see that they are inaugurating (sp?) the USS Michael Murphy on May 7??

I don't think it really matters weather it's one word or two...once you know what happened, it's just a sad, horrific, and inspiring event in our history.

message 261: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Here is a recent release covering a different aspect of the war in Afghanistan; "Bomb Hunters: In Afghanistan with Britain's Elite Bomb Disposal Unit" by Sean Rayment.

Bomb Hunters In Afghanistan with Britain's Elite Bomb Disposal Unit by Sean Rayment by Sean Rayment
"Sean Rayment is an experienced conflict journalist who has undertaken assignments from locations ranging from Iraq and the Balkans to Africa. Bomb Hunters covers his experience as embedded journalist with the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal, part of the Counter-IED Task Force. For two weeks the author lived alongside the operators from this group and observed first-hand the dangers of their work. Sean Rayment's book presents a very frank portrayal of Afghanistan that does not shy from the more contemporary realities of the conflict that have only recently begun to emerge. This book does touch on very controversial topics, particularly equipment and personnel shortages.

However, these issues are all secondary to attention Rayment pays in illustrating the personalities of the bomb hunters. These personalities come alive from the book and by the end will be strangely familiar to the reader by their various nicknames. This is a different addition to the recent flux of intrigue surrounding bomb disposal from the public and is critically written by an outsider to the trade. The result is a very personal and subsequently readable account into the world of high threat EOD (Every Ones Divorced). Writing about this trade as an outsider means that any ring of 'kiss and tell' is removed from the book and the stark realities of the war are laid bare.

The book provides an excellent and very accessible appreciation of the IED ambush and tactical minefield. It opens with an account of an event taking place on the 16th August 2009 in Sangin. This event, Rayment goes onto point out, was recorded as the most outstanding act of EOD ever undertaken in Afghanistan. Staff Sergeant Kim Hughes arriving at the scene of a terrible IED incident cleared five devices (thirteen in total were located) in forty five minutes. Three of the devices cleared were done by a Category-A procedure which meant that no protective suit was donned, no cordon was established and no remote vehicles could be used.

Staff Sergeant Karl "Badger" Ley, now Sergeant Major, holds the record of defeating 139 devices in a six month tour. In one job, he suffered injuries to his right hand while disarming a device under fire. Yet he continued to disarm the remaining devices to enable a crippled convoy to escape the killing ground. This is one exceptional case within a military trade, where such acts appear to be a 'norm'. What Rayment is most astonished by is the modesty of these people who very much play down the danger that they face. Ley boils down the risk as being down to different comfort zones saying, Firefights terrify me. Give me an IED to defuse any day.

One however, cannot read this book without reflecting on the political issues and the question of bomb disposal operator's tours is currently very topical. The compelling testimony from the bomb hunters themselves makes a good argument to reduce tours for bomb disposal operators from six to four months. Rayment outlines the nature of the IED threat excellently and so we the readers are left in no doubt as to the scale of the pressure under which the operators are under. In the British Army, operators are embedded at the battlegroup level, in other words, one operator per 1500 men. By comparison, in the US Army it is at the platoon level; one operator per 30 men.

For the bomb disposal operators in Afghanistan, the odds are incredibly stacked against them. As one operator points out to the author, it is not only about being good at the job but being lucky. This would seem to be one of the key conclusions of the book. Plenty of people who were good and indeed exceptional at the job have been killed; but it is those who are lucky who survive. The incredible fact is that the bomb hunters all recognise this reality and yet continue to roll the dice and take on the bomb makers." - By Alex Shone, UK Defence Forum Research Associate in Residence (Defence Viewpoints)

message 262: by Toby (new)

Toby Harnden (tobyharnden) | 1 comments Andre - thanks for the kind words about the book. The phrase "the smell of death" is not used in "Dead Men Risen". I used "the stench of death" at the end of the prologue. Oddly enough, I changed smell to stench in that phrase at a very late stage. The change was because I was uncomfortable about the description (one person who read the manuscript suggested I remove it) and your point is well taken. I'd be interested to hear of other phrases you felt were cliches or jarred so I can take note for the future.

message 263: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Apr 23, 2011 12:50AM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Hi Toby, thanks for your post I've purchased a copy of your book and keen to read it first chance I can, it looks pretty good.

It would be much appreciated if you could go to our introduction page and introduce yourself to the members of the group as I'm sure quite a few would be interested in hearing from you.

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the "add book/author" feature when you comment. (There is a link on the top right of the reply box.) It makes things so much easier for people to see your book recommendations, because they can see the cover and the links to the author. And it helps the goodreads software connect books with groups that talk about them.

This is how the book that you mention in your post should look:

Dead Men Risen The Welsh Guards in Afghanistan by Toby Harnden by Toby Harnden

Link to our guidelines:

More information:

Take a few moments to read the orientation:

message 264: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (last edited Apr 23, 2011 02:43AM) (new)

André (AndrH) | 2753 comments Mod
Toby wrote: "I used "the stench of death" at the end of the prologue. Oddly enough, I changed smell to stench in that phrase at a very late stage..."

Hi Toby, thanks for getting back to me - and for discussing your book!

On smell vs. stench - I had to look that up first. I've been reading other books since. All I remembered was that it took me away from your writing.
You're of course right. You wrote "Then the smell hit his nostrils - fertiliser-based explosive and diesel; dust mixed with blood and scraps of flesh. It was the stench of death."
That short last sentence just threw me out of the story.

You are really good. Your writing, especially when you're describing fights, action sequences, terror etc. really takes me there. You put my face into it, so to speak. And that's what I like most about your style. I sometimes had to think of scenes from Apache.
I think this kind of story telling/reporting extremely important when writing about war. Why? Because the news can't take you there. Images come and go too fast, no matter how cruel. Words stick.

So there I was, right there with the men; shocked, hurt, full of anger and sadness - you took me there - and then the line pulled me back into my seat, holding pages from a book. Afghanistan was far gone.

It reminded me of Time's classic reporting. A great article, terrific journalism - and then as a last sentence some kind of conclusion the reader already made for him/herself somewhere along the line, leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth. Thank goodness they stopped that a few months ago.

That said, I really liked your book. Also the sequences about the Welsh "name-cult" or whatever you'd like to call it. You know what I mean.

Best wishes - and lots of success with your book. I don't mean sales (which of course I also wish you in the millions) I mean that it really reaches people and that new readers come to realize what these men and women go through on a daily basis.

Dead Men Risen The Welsh Guards in Afghanistan by Toby Harnden by Toby Harnden
Apache by Ed Macy by Ed Macy

message 265: by Michael (new)

Michael Flanagan (Loboz) Well I have put on my wishlist Dead Men Risen The Welsh Guards in Afghanistan by Toby Harnden by Toby Harnden. Looking forward to reading it.

message 266: by Tom (last edited Apr 26, 2011 02:24AM) (new)

Tom New book that looks interesting, much more than just Afganistan

The Heart and the Fist The education of a humanitarian, the making of a Navy SEAL by Eric Greitens by Eric Greitens

From Amazon:
As a kid growing up in Missouri, I loved reading stories about heroes like King Arthur, George Washington, and Pericles. Their lives were full of action and courage, and I wanted to capture that same sense of adventure in my own life. As I grew older, great mentors and friends have shown me that the path to adventure and purpose can be found in a life of service to others.

These friends and mentors have come from many different backgrounds. I’ve been blessed to work with volunteers who taught art to street children in Bolivia and Marines who hunted al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq. I’ve learned from nuns who fed the destitute in Mother Teresa’s homes for the dying in India, aid workers who healed orphaned children in Rwanda, and Navy SEALs who fought in Afghanistan. As warriors, as humanitarians, they’ve taught me that without courage, compassion falters, and without compassion, courage has no direction. They’ve shown me that it is within our power, indeed the world requires of us — every one of us — to be both good and strong.

I hope the stories recounted in The Heart and the Fist will inspire you as these people have inspired me. They have given me hope and shown me the incredible possibilities that exist for each of us to live our one life well.

--Eric Greitens

message 267: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 37385 comments Mod
This looks interesting Tom. Thank you for the post.

message 268: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig I'm not sure this has been mentioned yet, but if not, it looks good:

The Wrong War Grit, Strategy, and the Way Out of Afghanistan by Bing West by Bing West

Publisher's Weekly:
Starred Review. West (The Strongest Tribe), a former Marine combat veteran and assistant secretary of defense under Reagan, boldly assesses the prospects for U.S. success in Afghanistan in this provocative analysis. The author made eight trips to Afghanistan to witness the Obama administration's counterinsurgency strategy that emphasizes "winning over the population" ("Thus our military became a gigantic Peace Corps... drinking billions of cups of tea, and handing out billions of dollars"). Embedded with frontline troops in Afghanistan's most violent provinces, West eloquently captures their tireless efforts to carry out an "amorphous" mission. The lack of "understandable policy" confused the soldiers, encouraged risk avoidance among commanders, and "created a culture of entitlement" instead of cooperation among the Afghans who are content to accept aid and remain neutral as they wait to see whether the Americans or the insurgents will take ultimate control. Concluding that we can't win with this strategy but that withdrawal would be "disastrous," the author proposes that the U.S. immediately "transition to an adviser corps" whose primary task would be to continue training Afghan forces to defeat the Taliban. West's vivid reporting and incisive analysis provides a sober assessment of the present situation and prescribes a way for the Afghans to "win their own war." (Feb.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz,

message 269: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (new)

André (AndrH) | 2753 comments Mod
Bryan wrote: "I'm not sure this has been mentioned yet, but if not, it looks good..."

Bryan, It is - good I mean. There was an article in NEwsweek a few weeks ago, before the release. You'll find the link here somewhere. Also I think Rick posted a review.
It's on my table but apart from two chapters - which I liked - I haven't read it yet.

message 270: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Good, Andre, glad to hear it. I will look for the excerpt.

message 271: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (new)

André (AndrH) | 2753 comments Mod
Bryan, Post 164 and 165 on page 4 of this thread.

message 272: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig André wrote: "Bryan, Post 164 and 165 on page 4 of this thread."

Great, thanks!

message 273: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Here is a new book due out this month covering the Russian involvement in Afghanistan; "A Long Goodbye: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan" by Artemy Kalinovsky.

A Long Goodbye The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan by Artemy Kalinovsky by Artemy Kalinovsky
The conflict in Afghanistan looms large in the collective consciousness of Americans. What has the United States achieved, and how will it withdraw without sacrificing those gains? The Soviet Union confronted these same questions in the 1980s, and Artemy Kalinovsky’s history of the USSR’s nine-year struggle to extricate itself from Afghanistan and bring its troops home provides a sobering perspective on exit options in the region.

What makes Kalinovsky’s intense account both timely and important is its focus not on motives for initiating the conflict but on the factors that prevented the Soviet leadership from ending a demoralizing war. Why did the USSR linger for so long, given that key elites recognized the blunder of the mission shortly after the initial deployment?

Newly available archival material, supplemented by interviews with major actors, allows Kalinovsky to reconstruct the fierce debates among Soviet diplomats, KGB officials, the Red Army, and top Politburo figures. The fear that withdrawal would diminish the USSR’s status as leader of the Third World is palpable in these disagreements, as are the competing interests of Afghan factions and the Soviet Union’s superpower rival in the West. This book challenges many widely held views about the actual costs of the conflict to the Soviet leadership, and its findings illuminate the Cold War context of a military engagement that went very wrong, for much too long.

"An original and important book that advances our knowledge of the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the USSR." - William C. Taubman, author of Khrushchev: The Man and His Era

"A very impressive book on a timely topic. Kalinovsky tells the most complete story to date of Soviet decision-making about the Afghan war. He also challenges many widely held views about the actual costs to the Soviet leadership of the war and shows how Washington and Islamabad threw up obstacles that lengthened the conflict. Americans have been reluctant to look to the Soviet experience for potential lessons about Afghanistan, but this lucidly written book could be a most useful and thought-provoking primer." - Robert Crews, author of For Prophet and Tsar: Islam and Empire in Russia and Central Asia

"Kalinovsky has provided the only comprehensive and up-to-date discussion of the process leading to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. This clearly written book will be useful not only to historians, but to anyone who wants to understand the ongoing developments in Afghanistan and the issues surrounding Western disengagement." - Antonio Giustozzi, author of Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field

"A brilliant account of Soviet intervention and withdrawal from Afghanistan. Its relevance to the current experience of the U.S. is evident, but the value of this powerfully written work lies in its incisive analysis of military intervention as a mode of foreign policy and the abyss into which it led the Soviet Union. A Long Goodbye is essential reading that suggests valuable lessons for the last superpower standing." - Marilyn B. Young, author of The Vietnam Wars 1945-1990

"A well-written, nuanced account of the withdrawal of Soviet military forces from Afghanistan. Kalinovsky is particularly skillful in analyzing Soviet policymakers' calculations and in capturing the complexity of the Soviet-Afghan war. His attention to the post-withdrawal period brings in a crucial element of the story that has been omitted from almost all previous accounts." - Mark Kramer, Director, Cold War Studies Program, Harvard University

"A powerful and insightful contribution to our understanding of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and its aftermath. Kalinovsky's analysis of the final chapter of the war is both balanced and full of empathy for the challenge the Soviets faced in withdrawing their troops. A must read for anyone interested in the history of conflict in the region." - Svetlana Savranskaya, National Security Archive, George Washington University

"Kalinovsky's study of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan is impressively researched and wholly convincing. It should make grim but essential reading for U.S. soldiers and statesmen today, who face many of the same dilemmas as their Soviet predecessors." - Anatol Lieven, author of Pakistan: A Hard Country

"Wow. Talk about prescient. Anyone who thinks America and its allies have a chance of winning—whatever that means—in the war against the Afghanistan Taliban needs to take a long look at A Long Goodbye. Kalinovsky tells us that the former Soviet Union began to search for a way out of Afghanistan in 1982, and did not complete its troop withdrawal for seven years. We also learn that Moscow was fed throughout a stream of field reports focused on mythical successes in the battlefield. Sound familiar? It should." - Seymour M. Hersh, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Chain of Command

message 274: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Another new book due out soon that may interest other readers; "Lions of Kandahar: The Story of a Fight Against All Odds" by Rusty Bradley.

Lions of Kandahar The Story of a Fight Against All Odds by Rusty Bradley by Rusty Bradley
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 then-Captain Rusty Bradley as he began his third tour of duty there in 2006. The Taliban and their allies were infiltrating everywhere, poised to reclaim Kandahar Province, their strategically vital onetime capital. To stop them, the NATO coalition launched Operation Medusa, the largest offensive in its history. The battlefield was the Panjwayi Valley, a densely packed warren of walled compounds that doubled neatly as enemy bunkers, lush orchards, and towering marijuana stands, all laced with treacherous irrigation ditches. A mass exodus of civilians heralded the carnage to come.

Dispatched as a diversionary force in support of the main coalition attack, Bradley’s Special Forces A-team and two others, along with their longtime Afghan Army allies, watched from across the valley as the NATO force was quickly engulfed in a vicious counterattack. Key to relieving it and calling in effective air strikes was possession of a modest patch of high ground called Sperwan Ghar. Bradley’s small detachment assaulted the hill and, in the midst of a savage and unforgettable firefight, soon learned they were facing nearly a thousand seasoned fighters—from whom they seized an impossible victory.

Now Bradley recounts the whole remarkable story as it actually happened. The blistering trek across Afghanistan’s infamous Red Desert. The eerie traces of the elusive Taliban. The close relations with the Afghan people and army, a primary mission focus. Sperwan Ghar itself: unremitting waves of fire from machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades; a targeted truck turned into an inferno; the death trap of a cut-off compound. Most important: the men, Americans and Afghans alike—the “shaky” medic with nerves of steel and a surgeon’s hands in battle; the tireless sergeant who seems to be everywhere at once; the soft-spoken intelligence officer with laser-sharp insight; the diminutive Afghan commander with a Goliath-sized heart; the cool maverick who risks all to rescue a grievously wounded comrade—each unique, all indelible in their everyday exercise of extraordinary heroism.

Advance Reviews:
“A powerful and gripping account of a battle that helped shape the war in Afghanistan. But Lions of Kandahar is more than that. Major Rusty Bradley and Kevin Maurer give readers a stirring inside look at the day-to-day operations of a Special Forces team—and what it takes to defeat insurgents hell-bent on regaining control of Afghanistan. With crisp writing and page-turning action, Lions of Kandahar is one of the best books written about the conflict.” - Mitch Weiss, (Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist and co-author of the critically acclaimed Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War)

“A raw and authentic war story about untamed Green Berets in action. Bradley and Maurer crush it! Mr. President, grab a copy—this is a sure-bet Special Forces exit strategy. Unleash more of these brave lions across Afghanistan and America will win this war.” - Dalton Fury, (New York Times bestselling author of Kill bin Laden: A Delta Force Commander’s Account of the Hunt for the World’s Most Wanted Man)

“I have read this book three times and I am still chilled to the bone with every word. In Lions of Kandahar you will be riveted by the unabridged action of our real-life military heroes. It took a group of exceptional individuals to accomplish Operation Medusa. We as a nation can only pray we have half the guts and fortitude given selflessly every day on our behalf by the Army Special Forces.” - Marshall R. Teague, actor; U.S. Navy (ret.)

“The war in Afghanistan is made for Special Forces, but very little has been written about these soldiers since the initial attack on Afghanistan in 2001. Bradley and Maurer do a great job of showing how these elite units fight and why they are so important to the battle against the Taliban. Lions of Kandahar is a gripping, moving, and well-told war story.” - Greg Jaffe, (Washington Post reporter and co-author of The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army)

message 275: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) This is an older publication that I came across today that may interest other readers: "Attack State Red" by Richard Kemp.

Attack State Red by Richard Kemp by Richard Kemp
What happened in Helmand’s Sangin Valley in the spring of 2007 was nothing short of extraordinary. After the last gasp defence of the platoon houses by the Paras that preceded them in theatre, the soldiers of the Royal Anglian Regiment arrived in Afghanistan charged with taking the battle to the enemy. Despite brutal, debilitating conditions, the tour that followed became a bloody lesson in how to conduct offensive infantry warfare. Over a six-month tour of duty, the 'Vikings' battlegroup unleashed hell in heavy, relentless fighting that saw teenage soldiers battle toe to toe against hardcore Al Qaeda and Taliban warriors at unprecedented levels of ferocity.

In Attack State Red, Colonel Richard Kemp, a former Commanding Office of 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, and Chris Hughes, the Daily Mirror Security Correspondent, tell the story of the Royal Anglian's deployment for the first time. Combining the strategic insight of 3 Para with the adrenaline charge of Sniper One, they have produced the most dynamic, substantial and visceral account of the war in Afghanistan that's ever been written.

"An unputdownable account of a British battle group on the offensive." - Andy McNab

"Attack State Red is certain to become a military classic." - Mail on Sunday

"The first page of this extraordinary book hits you like a Taliban ambush." - Sunday Express

message 276: by Michael (new)

Michael Flanagan (Loboz) Thanks Aussie Rick added to the TBR list

message 277: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (new)

André (AndrH) | 2753 comments Mod
'Aussie Rick' wrote: "..."

Hi Rick, read it a while ago, but I was really impressed.

message 278: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Good to hear Andre, I've also added it to my 'to-read' list as well Michael :)

message 279: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (new)

André (AndrH) | 2753 comments Mod
Here's another one just out:

Cables from Kabul by Sherard Cowper-ColesCables from Kabul by Sherard Cowper-Coles

A frank and honest memoir by Britain’s former ambassador to Kabul which provides a unique, high-level insight into Western policy in Afghanistan.

For three years, from 2007 until 2010, Sherard Cowper-Coles was on the diplomatic frontline in Kabul as the West’s mission in Afghanistan sank deeper into crisis. First as British Ambassador and, later, as the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative, he witnessed at first hand a struggle that by the time he left was swallowing billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money a year, and had already cost the lives of more than 2,000 coalition troops, including nearly 350 British soldiers, as well as tens of thousands of Afghans, in and out of uniform.

In Cables from Kabul he offers a ringside seat in this unfolding drama in a high-octane narrative that transports the reader from the backstreets of Kabul and fly-blown villages of the Helmand Valley to the corridors of power in London and Washington. Packed with colourful portraits of major political and diplomatic players such as President Karzai and the US Special Representative Richard Holbrooke, the book gives a rich flavour of embassy life in one of the most dangerous places on earth.

With his unique, high-level insight into the West’s policy in Afghanistan, Cowper-Coles raises fundamental questions about the viability of the whole Afghanistan project, even after the death of bin Laden. While paying fulsome tribute to the bravery of our soldiers and the tactical success they are undoubtedly achieving at a local level, he asks whether this will be enough to secure within three years the wider strategic goal of stabilising Afghanistan to the point where the Afghan authorities can govern the country without outside intervention.

As Our Man in Kabul, nobody is better placed to tell this story. Powerful, witty and astonishingly frank, Cables from Kabul explains how we got into the quagmire of Afghanistan, and how we can get out of it.

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Bentley | 37385 comments Mod
That looks mighty interesting Andre.

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André (AndrH) | 2753 comments Mod
I agree. Another view on the subject. Verrrrry British of course, but after just having read The Accidental Guerrilla I guess it's a good add.

The Accidental Guerrilla Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One by David KilcullenThe Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One by David Kilcullen

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Good books there Andre, thanks for the posts and information.

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Marjorie Martin Looks like an interesting book.

I just heard our War in Afghanistan has passed that of the Vietnam War in length. Vietnam lasted 103 months, and Afghanistan just reached 104 months. Sad.


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Bentley | 37385 comments Mod
Yes, Marge it is very sad; but I can see the plight of the Afghanistanis as never ending if we also leave them behind as so many countless others have done over thousands of years.

I can understand going after Osama Bin Laden there and at the time even though for the past 6 or 7 years he had been living in Pakistan protected by some segment of the military even though Pakistan itself feigns ignorance. Now that this has been accomplished; we should remove ourselves but leave something in place (maybe a UN force) to help the Afghanis otherwise they are ripe to be dominated once again by somebody else. One plunderer after another.

And I have no idea why we were ever in Iraq this second time - totally ridiculous - there were no WMDs.

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Marjorie Martin Yes, Bentley, the plight of the Afghanistan people seems to be never ending. But so is the plight of many other peoples in the world. If we read the histories of the British and the Russians and their experiences in Afghanistan, that should deter us from trying to change them with our so-called nation-building policy.)

As you may know, the British drew the dividing line between Pakistan and Afghanistan right down the middle of the millions of Pashtun people. I think that is why Pakistan is not so anxious to help us in Afghanistan -- after all, they are cousins, and you know what that means in that part of the world.


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Bentley | 37385 comments Mod
Marjorie, I understand. I do think the initial reason which I agreed with was going in there to find Osama Bin Laden. As it turns out; he was in Pakistan for the last 6 or 7 years and not living in an Afghani cave. I think now we are stuck there and I do hope we can extricate ourselves very soon. It was the Iraq war that I still have problems with.

The lines that the British drew have created a lot of conflicts since they have been drawn.

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André (AndrH) | 2753 comments Mod
There is an excellent documentary series out on BBC Three, called "Our War" showing the British side of the conflict using the words and the pictures of the young soldiers themselves.
Try this link to see if the episodes are available for your area - if not there are some clips you can watch wherever you are.

message 288: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jun 18, 2011 08:51AM) (new)

Bentley | 37385 comments Mod
They are not available in the United States but next month I will be abroad once again and I will watch them while in London. I plan to visit the usual spots plus Paris, Zurich, Milan and much more time in Venice. It should be a good trip. I had been to Venice a few years ago and loved it. It is one of those spots which will probably always have that old world charm.

Getting back to your add; I am certain that this is a great documentary as most of BBC documentaries are and I look forward to checking it out real soon. I might be able to check them out sooner and once I have I will comment further. For those group members who are across the pond, I am sure that those links will work for them.

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André (AndrH) | 2753 comments Mod
Bentley wrote: "They are not available in the United States but next month I will be abroad once again and I will watch them while in London. I plan to visit the usual spots plus Paris, Zurich, Milan..."

Oh, Venice.... I love it too. To avoid the tourist herd I prefer to stay in Chioggia and then drive over. Or look for one of the smaller hotels which are often very nice.
I'm sure you'll have a great time!

Yes, the documentary is terrific, even better than what I've seen before - because it's not filmed/done by reporters (BBC or others) but by the soldiers themselves.
In case you've seen Restrepo and liked it you will surely appreciate this one too.
It gets close and leaves out the journalists - which I think most often is a good thing...

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Bentley | 37385 comments Mod
Thanks so much for your kind words.

I look forward to seeing the documentary.

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Hi Andre, I've seen the previews for this show but I don't know when it will showing in Australia but it looks pretty good, thanks for the post.

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) I've just started reading; "Military Operations in Cabul" which covers the British operations in Afghanistan in 1842 and their disastrous retreat through the Kyber pass and the total loss of their forces.

MILITARY OPERATIONS AT CABUL Which ended in the Retreat and Destruction of the British Army in January 1842 With a Journal of Imprisonment in Afghanistan by Lieut. Vincent Eyre Bengal Artillery by Lieut. Vincent Eyre Bengal Artillery

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Here is another book I recently picked up that may interest others who enjoy accounts of British forces in Afghanistan and Iraq:

On the Frontline by Nigel Cawthorne by Nigel Cawthorne
After the horrors of 9/11, the British armed forces were called upon to by the government to engage new enemies in faraway lands. Spearheading the War on Terror, Royal Marines led British troops into Afghanistan in 2002 to oust the Taleban and scatter al-Qaeda. Then in March 2003, again it was the Royal Marines who kicked off the Second Gulf War with an assault in southern Iraq to pave the way for the removal from power of the brutal Saddam Hussein.Since then, the men and women of the British forces have been risking their lives in both theatres, routinely exposed to mortal danger and showing constant courage and fortitude under intense pressure. Whether you agree with the political motivation behind these wars or not, our boys and girls on the frontline have shown outstanding bravery in action against often fanatical foes.But their task is not only one of combat and counter-insurgency; many humanitarian acts have been carried out to bring stability and new hope to ravaged peoples, often at great personal risk to the servicemen involved. And some of the most inspiring stories of courage stem from individual acts of rescue of one wounded soldier by another." On the Frontline" tells the story of modern bravery and devotion to duty in the great tradition of British men and women at arms.

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) For those interested here are a few new books due out soon covering British forces in Afghanistan:

Aviation Assault Battlegroup in Afghanistan by Duke of Rothesay HRH Prince Charles by Duke of Rothesay HRH Prince Charles

The Scots Guards in Afghanistan Six Months Without Sundays by Max Benitz by Max Benitz

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André (AndrH) | 2753 comments Mod
'Aussie Rick' wrote: "I've just started reading; "Military Operations in Cabul"..."

Oh my, Rick, what a tough book. I heard about it. I'm sure it's good but I don't want to read that now.

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) It's not too bad so far Andre, it was first published in 1843 just after the disastrous retreat of the British forces from Cabul.

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) This sounds like it may be a very detailed account of the recent history of Afghanistan:

The Wars of Afghanistan Messianic Terrorism, Tribal Conflicts, and the Failures of Great Powers by Peter Tomsen by Peter Tomsen
As Ambassador and Special Envoy on Afghanistan from 1989 to 1992, Peter Tomsen has had close relationships with Afghan leaders and has dealt with senior Taliban, warlords, and religious leaders involved in the region’s conflicts over the last two decades. Now Tomsen draws on a rich trove of never-before-published material to shed new light on the American involvement in the long and continuing Afghan war.

This book offers a deeply informed perspective on how Afghanistan’s history as a “shatter zone” for foreign invaders and its tribal society have shaped the modern Afghan narrative. It brings to life the appallingly misinformed secret operations by foreign intelligence agencies, including the Soviet NKVD and KGB, the Pakistani ISI, and the CIA.

American policy makers, Tomsen argues, still do not understand Afghanistan; nor do they appreciate how the CIA’s covert operations and the Pentagon’s military strategy have strengthened extremism in the country. At this critical time, he shows how the U.S. and the coalition it leads can assist the region back to peace and stability.

"Peter Tomsen has a depth of understanding and knowledge about the history of Afghanistan that makes him a unique asset in our effort to grapple with the multiple conflicts and intricate politics in what has turned out to be America’s longest war." - Steve Coll, (author of The Bin Ladens and Ghost Wars)

"Accolades like 'magisterial,' 'definitive,' and 'vital' should be reserved for rare books like Peter Tomsen's The Wars of Afghanistan. Few Americans are as knowledgeable about that tormented land's past; none have been more savvy or prescient about its unrolling future. Tomsen's compelling narrative draws upon meticulous scholarship and virgin archives, personal frontline engagement and close ties with major players. This multilayered volume melds sweeping history, cultural painting, political analysis, governmental battles, dramatic action, and provocative prescriptions. The Wars of Afghanistan is bound to have urgent impact and enduring resonance." - Winston Lord, (former Assistant Secretary of State)

"The Wars of Afghanistan is a richly detailed account that places current U.S. interests in Afghanistan in the historical, political, and cultural context of this troubled land. Peter Tomsen’s compelling analysis of Afghan leaders and tribal politics makes this book invaluable to the policy maker. His wise and carefully considered policy blueprint—basically, America will still help and America is withdrawing — serves American interests and uplifts Afghanistan." - Lee H. Hamilton, (former congressman and co-chair of the 9/11 Commission)

"The authenticity of Tomsen’s Afghanistan experiences, knowledge, and analysis is the foundation of a superbly well-written and documented presentation of an astoundingly complicated part of the world. He brings remarkable clarity to a very complex story. Tomsen’s book is the most current, informed, and complete Afghanistan publication in the market today … and maybe ever. It is not an exaggeration to say that he has created a masterpiece. It’s that good." - Chuck Hagel, (distinguished professor, Georgetown University, and former U.S. senator 1997–2009)

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André (AndrH) | 2753 comments Mod
'Aussie Rick' wrote: "This sounds like it may be a very detailed account of the recent history of Afghanistan..."

Sounds terrific, Rick. Mr. Tomsen's kind of insight and analysis is desperately needed.

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) So many books coming out Andre that I want to read but I can't keep up!

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André (AndrH) | 2753 comments Mod
'Aussie Rick' wrote: "So many books coming out Andre that I want to read but I can't keep up!"

I know, Rick...

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Books mentioned in this topic

Danger Close: Commanding 3 Para In Afghanistan (other topics)
Danger Close: Tactical Air Controllers in Afghanistan and Iraq (other topics)
The Junior Officers' Reading Club: Killing Time And Fighting Wars (other topics)
Apache: Inside the Cockpit of the Worlda's Most Deadly Fighting Machine (other topics)
Hellfire (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Steve Call (other topics)
Ed Macy (other topics)
Stuart Tootal (other topics)
Patrick Hennessey (other topics)
Gordon M. Goldstein (other topics)