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Blackhorse Riders: A Desperate Last Stand, an Extraordinary Rescue Mission, and the Vietnam Battle America Forgot Hardcover – February 14, 2012


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Blackhorse Riders: A Desperate Last Stand, an Extraordinary Rescue Mission, and the Vietnam Battle America Forgot + Fire Base Illingworth: An Epic True Story of Remarkable Courage Against Staggering Odds
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (February 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312681925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312681920
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #464,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The battle, which took place on March 26, 1970, didn’t even have an official name. An American infantry unit was pinned down and outnumbered by the North Vietnamese. The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, also known as the Blackhorse Regiment, responded to the unit’s distress calls. Despite daunting odds and fierce opposition, the Blackhorse Regiment, led by Captain John Poindexter, carried out a rescue mission, after which Poindexter campaigned to have his men recognized for their accomplishment. The book is a detailed account of the rescue mission and a chronicle of Poindexter’s tireless efforts to provide some sort of recognition for his soldiers. There are a lot of “forgotten” battles in the long history of warfare, but this one’s neglect seems particularly egregious, given the heroism involved. Keith, a decorated aviator who fought in Vietnam, shows real compassion for the soldiers of Blackhorse Regiment, and his own anger and frustration at their subsequent lack of recognition bubble through from time to time. For followers of books about the Vietnam War, this is a definite must-read. --David Pitt

Review

"A fine, precisely detailed record of an obscure but nasty battle in Vietnam in which heroism was forgotten even more quickly than the war itself...
Keith provides engrossing, almost minute-by-minute account..."
--Kirkus Reviews

"For followers of books about the Vietnam War, this is a definite must-read."-- David Pitt Booklist On-Line

“A riveting account of one of the most extraordinary and courageous rescues in U.S. military history. Blackhorse Riders is written with enough detail to satisfy even the most particular of military historians, yet Keith’s compelling storytelling breathes life into the personalities involved, so that minute by minute, following both rescuers and rescued, you keep turning pages to find out who lives and who dies.”

—Karl Marlantes, New York Times bestselling author of Matterhorn and What It Is Like to Go to War

“One of the finest and best-told combat stories to come out of Vietnam. Blackhorse Riders is a portrait of men at war; reluctant soldiers in an unpopular conflict whose actions on a single day rose to the level of extraordinary heroism, courage, and sacrifice. For those of us who were there, this is the kind of book we would be proud to pass on to our children.”

—Nelson DeMille

“This gripping, vividly detailed narrative finally tells a story that was overlooked for far too long, a story of nail-biting action and Band of Brothers--like courage. Blackhorse Riders is a bold tale, well told, of heroism, rescue, and, finally, recognition.”

—Bob Drury and Tom Clavin, New York Times bestselling authors of Halsey’s Typhoon and The Last Stand of Fox Company

“This riveting true story of young American soldiers fighting in Vietnam paints a gut-wrenching picture of combat rarely described in print.”

—John C. “Doc” Bahnsen, Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Ret.), former Squadron Commander of 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry, the “Blackhorse Regiment”


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Customer Reviews

A great story of incredible bravery and sacrifice.
R. Martin
Mr. Keith worked long and hard to tell our story & he did a knock out job!
Donald Grayson
This book is a very quick read and once you start you can't put it down.
Bobt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Clavin on February 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is not easy to write a vivid, dramatic story about the Vietnam War that transcends generations, but Phil Keith has managed to do it. That the story is true and not the product of his imagination makes this rescue story all the more immediate and valuable. Capt. Poindexter and his men waited way too long for recognition of their heroism and sacrifice, but their story being told in such a thrilling fashion in "Blackhorse Riders" makes it almost worth the wait for them and worth reading for the rest of us.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Lydia Cavieux on February 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recently purchased this book for my husband who was a participant in the battle and a recipient of the Presidential Unit Citation. This recognition was long overdue as is recognition for all our vietnam veterans. I was delightfully surprised to discover that in addition, it is a good read and I really did enjoy it :-) I recommend it highly for all who wish to discover some forgotten history - an important book for our still healing nation.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By R. Martin on February 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Phil Keith is a master storyteller. Pick up the book and be transported back forty-two years to a battle that should have made headlines but was forgotten for four decades. A great story of incredible bravery and sacrifice. A Must Read!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Austin D. Nixon on February 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just finished reading Blackhorse Riders. It was an awesome read that I enjoyed immensely. I had just downloaded it from Amazon on my iPad only a couple of days ago.
I too am a retired who served two tours in Vietnam "67-68 and 69 - 70" with the 4th Infantry Division and the 199 LIB respectively. In 67 I was a forward observer with the 4th Infantry Division in Dakto on the tri-border area. I was wounded just after Tet on February 26, 1968 when the helicopter I was riding in was shot down into a NVA base camp. It too, was a very long day. During my second tour I had the opportunity to work with the 11th ACR just north of Saigon. So I was able to relate to the story as it unfolded of the Blackhorse Riders.
I have read all of the Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter and Brad Thor novels along with the Bourne series. Your telling of 'A Troop's actions were just as spellbinding as the previous authors mentioned. Your final lead up to the White House and Rose Garden presentation brought tears to my eyes at the thought that these men were finally being recognized after 40 some years. It must have been such a rewarding experience for them. They deserved every moment of recognition they received.
Those of us that served will never forget the comradery of those that we served with and for. I never for a minute thought that I would ever read a book regarding Vietnam but your Blackhorse Riders has changed all that for me.
Thank you for taking the time to write this book. I especially enjoyed the "where they are now" epilogue. I have not had the courage to attend any Vietnam reunions. Maybe now after all of these years I can summon the courage to go meet my cohorts of combat.May God bless you and God bless America.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ann Ragan on February 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My brother, Lt. Robert K. Henderson, participated in the sequence of Alpha Troop events that the author Phil Keith takes the reader through, step by step, leading to the rescue of Charlie Company in Vietnam. I am proud that Lt. Henderson had this association with these Blackhorse brothers, who tell their individual stories, and together brought home nearly 100 men whose children and grandchildren will now be able to celebrate their heroism for generations to come. I lived and breathed every moment in Keith's book, felt the anticipation and the anxiety, smelled the smoke and gunpowder, heard the deafening explosions, and stood beside Captain Poindexter's men every inch of the way. Thank you for this memorial to the men who fought in Vietnam.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Randall Ponder on February 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I found "Blackhorse Riders" an excellent read and predict it will be a riveting work for anyone who buys it. Phil Keith's revisiting of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment's Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron is rich, detailed, and full of knowledge that any historian would want to capture. Thank you for contribution Mr. Keith. Randall Ponder, Baton Rouge.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By James C. Adams on April 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I served with the Blackhorse from January 1969 through January 1970, in the same area of operations as that where the action described in this well-written book took place. The author has truly caught the essence of the place and what it was like to fight against an extremely worthy opponent with such a distinguished outfit. He clearly did his homework, and the story is vivid enough to have been a first-person account. He exhibits a solid understanding of the cavalry culture and draws on it effectively, in order to more aptly describe the nature of the fight and the character and methods of the combatants. The portraits of Troop Commander John Poindexter and several of the individual troopers are very nicely drawn, and give the reader real insight into the challengs of combat leadership. All in all, a terrific read. I've passed along a copy to a number of my friends who want to know what "my war" was like. They simply won't get a better description than this.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ken Woodward on February 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
On March 26th 1970, it took a miracle for the men of Charlie Company 2nd Bn 8th Cavalry (C 2/8) to survive to fight another day. The miracle was in the form of Alpha Team (A Troop, 11th ACR and Company A 2nd Bn 8th Cav) coming to the aid of fellow soldiers. This is not a tale of fiction; it is a true story of a hellacious situation; Charlie Company with approximately 80 men, deep within the dense jungles of Tay Ninh Province; in battle and surrounded by a numerically superior enemy force (400+ NVA), unable to retreat or be resupplied or to have wounded and dead evacuated. C 2/8 fought a desperate battle of survival for more than 6 hours. With ammunition dwindling, it was just a matter of time until darkness enveloped the battle site and then, well, the NVA ruled the night...so prospects were dim. Dim until the courageous men of Alpha Team took it upon themselves to come to the aid of Charlie Company. Writing a book about a battle that occured 40+ years ago is arguably difficult, especially if you weren't a participant in the battle. Yet, author Phil Keith with his research and collaboration with battle survivors has penned an exceptional portrayal of the actions in what has become known as The Anonymous Battle. The herculian efforts of Alpha Team to reach and provide relief for the embattled infantry company is a remarkable story that Phil Keith vividly recounts in great detail and accuracy. I applaud his efforts. Moreover, I am thankful to each and every man of Alpha Team who placed their lives in jeopardy to come to the rescue of fellow soldiers. Without their courage and sacrifice, I and my fellow soldiers in Charlie Company would be but names written on a wall in Washington D.C.

Ken "Mississippi" Woodward
Charlie Company 2nd Bn 8th Cavalry
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