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Gentlemen Bastards: On the Ground in Afghanistan with America's Elite Special Forces Hardcover – September 4, 2012


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Frequently Bought Together

Gentlemen Bastards: On the Ground in Afghanistan with America's Elite Special Forces + Lions of Kandahar: The Story of a Fight Against All Odds + The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Fought for a New Afghanistan (P.S.)
Price for all three: $50.68

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425252698
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425252697
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This story brings to life the unique men who form the ranks of the Green Berets and the Herculean tasks they must accomplish day in and day out, month after month, year after year.” —Rusty Bradley, author of Lions of Kandahar

“[A] powerful look at Special Forces and the daily grind of tracking down the Taliban, terrorists, and other bad guys in Afghanistan. Maurer . . . skillfully weaves it all into a compelling narrative.” —Mitch Weiss, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and critically acclaimed author of Tiger Force and No Way Out
 
“A true and refreshing narrative . . . Humorous, stark, and honest, Gentlemen Bastards shows the reality of the War in Afghanistan and proves that true, unbiased journalism is still alive.”—Nathan Edmondson, author of The Activity
 
“An authentic insider’s account . . . This is a compelling book.”—David Zucchino, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Thunder Run

“Maurer captures the humor of the Green Berets even while keeping his own self-deprecating, smart-ass-reporter, along-for-the-ride sensibility.”—Kelly Kennedy, author of They Fought for Each Other

About the Author

Kevin Maurer is an award-winning reporter who has covered special operations forces for seven years. He has been embedded with the U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan six times in the last five years and spent a month with special operations units in Africa in 2006. Maurer covered the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan’s first parliamentary election. Most recently, he covered the Bush Administration’s surge into Baghdad, and wrote the definitive piece about the transformation of Khost from a terrorist haven to a working province in Afghanistan.

More About the Author

Kevin Maurer is an award-winning journalist and best selling co-author of No Easy Day, a first hand account of the raid to kill Osama bin Laden.

Customer Reviews

This book is very interesting.
Antonio LP
Instead of building an overarching narrative, this book felt more like a lot of short stories that were thrown together.
Chris Brady
I would highly recommend this for the readings about Afghanistan and the war.
charles h jordan jr

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Jack Murphy on October 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The mixed reviews of this book on Amazon are the unsurprising result of the author writing the truth. That many did not like it is reflective of America not understanding Special Forces or the Special Forces mission. Real life does not fit itself into a 3 1/2 minute music video or a 2 hour feature film designed to excite the audience. A real combat deployment involves long periods of boredom and frustration with the occasional moments of sheer terror. Kevin captures this in this book. The public has been somewhat propagandized by the over glorification of Special Operations and also by combat memoirs which focus on the highlights of a soldier's 20+ year career. That and some of those other books are filled with lies and exaggerations about combat exploits.

I thought the author did a good job in capturing the culture and mission of Special Forces. These guys are a unique animal within the Special Operations community. Although I served in Iraq with 5th SFG I found that the experiences described in this book mirrored my own experiences, word for word in some cases. Battling both the American and Indig bureaucracy, the frustration of dealing with backwards and often corrupt third world officials, shifting missions, confused commander's intent, and the general experience of being a legionnaire on the fringes of the Roman Empire, it is all here.

There are not many good books about SF, but this is one of them. War Story by Jim Morris is great, but that was the Vietnam War. Yellow Green Beret by Chester Wong is the only other modern SF non-fiction book I know of that really captures the experience. If you want to get really depressed, read Gentlemen Bastards alongside War Story. Iraq, Vietnam...Communist, Terrorist...these terms are interchangeable in oh so many ways.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Ddub on September 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book after reading the hi speed book "no easy day". I found it to be an awesome insight in the daily monotonous grind of war in Afghanistan. If you want to read some action packed guns a blazing material I suggest looking for a Tom Clancy book. However if you want to read about what happens most of the time in Afghanistan, then this is you read. It is not painful to read like stated in other reviews it is insightful and entertaining.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Edmondson on September 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Compelling and well-written, this is a true gem in a genre saturated with soldier accounts and by-the-numbers stories of battles and units, this is a refreshingly personal and honest look behind the scenes of a world misrepresented by the news. I'm an avid reader of military fiction and non-fiction and this is the best exploration of the Special Forces world I've come across, and it's very current. I found myself laughing out loud at some points, and truly amazed at a few revelations. Maurer makes great observations about the nature of journalistic integrity and how embedded journalist become part of the story--but in this case Maurer putting himself into the story is just the drink the reader has ordered. This is an excellent way to understand the relationship between the US Forces and the Afghan freedom fighters, and it's entertaining, to boot.

GENTLEMEN BASTARDS is accessible enough for the casual reader and, in my opinion, a must-have for the military enthusiast. I wish there were more accounts like this one on the shelves, because I found myself flipping through the pages so quickly I was out of the book before I was finished enjoying it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dave on July 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
The premise of writing a modern day book detailing the actual life of a Special Forces soldier deployed in Afghanistan isn't anything new and there are quite a few books out there that are just that. While along for a portion of a deployment, the author tells it as he understands it, and does a good job detailing the difficulty the SF team faces: working through cultural differences, lack of supplies, coordinating with conventional Army land owners, and lack of freedom to operate as they desire. The book never really reaches a point where there's a positive upswing, a real "win", rather it just stumbles along the everyday life of the ODA as they try to make the best of things.

Whenever I am reading a book similar to this, I am looking for something to take away from it. What can I learn or gain from it? How is this different from other books, or what makes this stand out? Truthfully, this book gives little if your goal is to read about heroics, gun fights, and the horrors of war. No, this is a book about what the continued war in Afghanistan is from the perspective of a reporter trying to blend in on a Special Forces A team. I thought it comical how concerned the author was with looking the part, growing his beard out, and wearing a seasoned kit with pouches on it. I suppose in a way they seemed to take him in and give a glimpse into what being a member of the team is all about.

Overall, if you are looking for a book about Special Forces deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 on a "slow" deployment, but a very common one, read it. There's just not anything special to stand out besides the accounts of the individuals who were on the deployment serving their country.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JT Patten, thriller author on May 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Robin Moore's Green Berets was one of the first books I read about special forces in my youth. It has been over 20+ years since, and after reading Kevin Maurer's Gentlemen Bastards I have now seen a solid depiction of the men and the mindset of this unique special operations force. The book is not a high octane shoot 'em up, nor do I believe it was intended to be. SF was not created to be a pure direct action military resource as it has too often been stereotyped to be in the last decade. Maurer tells a story of his experiences in a small capture of the war in AFG to provide the reader a glimpse of Special Forces. His depiction is very accurate of the men, the mission, and the internal and external dynamics between SF Groups and SOF community. It is well written and tells a great story in a style of a quiet professional--humble, at times funny, and with balanced self-confidence. Maurer's time as an imbed served him well. This book is a must read for people who want a personal look inside the closed community and the differences and personalities there within. Moore would be proud.
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