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Somalia on Five Dollars a Day Hardcover – June 5, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press (June 5, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891417419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891417415
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,286,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A career army officer and a Gulf War vet, Stanton was familiar with combat pay, that extra something given to soldiers when facing "hostile fire or imminent danger" (currently $150 a month, or about $5 a day), when he sat on the roof of his Saudi Arabian headquarters in 1992 and read the "pink slip" that made him battalion operations officer of Task Force 2-87 infantry, 10th Mountain Division. By February 1993, his group was the first in Kismayu, beginning on the "squalid and puzzling little failure" that Operation Restore Hope turned out to be. Such sophisticated and contextualized observations are rife in this field memoir, one of the few to come out of the conflict and certainly in a class by itself in terms of the quality of the writing. Few army memoirs contain the solid, synthetic historical and day-to-day background to the conflict that Stanton includes throughout, and even fewer contain sentences like "It was quite a sight to see the tall, dignified [Ambassador Robert] Oakley, who towered over most of the elders, speaking to the old Somali men who sat uncomfortably on their chairs, with their carved, inlaid walking sticks beside them." Most of the book concerns firsthand observations of quotidian operations and analyses of what went wrong and why, which will limit its appeal, but it is certainly one of the finest books of its kind for the season. (July)Forecast: As a Military Book Club selection and with a $75,000 promotion budget and radio tour "of the top 25 markets" behind it, this book will find its readership.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The era of the "citizen soldier" is clearly over; today's military has many roles and must perform them impeccably. In late 1992, as the UN intervention in Somalia to provide relief supplies lost its grip, units of the 10th Mountain Division were ordered by a lame-duck President Bush into the Kismayu and Afgoi areas, where they disarmed feuding tribesmen, accompanied relief supply convoys, negotiated with local leaders, and at times found themselves drawn into armed rioting. In one of the most vivid, informing, and intelligent descriptions of the modern military experience yet written, Colonel Stanton (battalion operations officer, Task Force 2-87 infantry, 10th Mountain Division) describes this mission and the military training and planning that preceded it including a side trip to Florida to keep order and distribute aid after Hurricane Andrew in July 1992. His candor and thoroughness extend right down to the personalities of the men under and above him. If you need to know the details about Operations Other Than War, current MOUT details, OPLANs and PORDs, and much more, this is a valuable and entertaining work. Mel D. Lane, Sacramento, CA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Pascale C. Siegel on October 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Stanton provides a welcome perspective on the U.S. Army's involvement in Operation Restore Hope, Somalia, Dec 92 - May 93. As an operations officer (S-3) with a battalion in the 10th Mountain Division, Stanton brings us an insider's account of the units preparations for and experiences in Somalia both thoughtful in perspective and engaging in its personal nature. We are given a feel for the administrative challenges faced in preparing for and executing a deployment, the personalities and roles of elements in the unit, and how the unit confronted the complex challenges that Somalia presented. I especially appreciated Stanton's thoughtful discussion of tactical lessons following several of the incidents he was personally engaged in.
Stanton also provides an interesting case that hightlights the difficulties of centralizing command even in our information rich age. The unit had a questionable report of a hostage situation (turned out to be a rather confrontational labor pay dispute) that higher headquarters blew out of proportion. The battalion had to expend much energy keeping the Joint Task Force from sending in hostage rescue forces while the battalion should have been allowed to focus on determining what was going on and whether it needed additional (outside) support for resolving the crisis (which it didn't). Communications improvements create the impression of perfect knowledge throughout the military and political command structure -- this simply isn't the case. The private on the front line will know something that the general doesn't -- even if it is whether there is water in his fox hole. Command structures must take this into account.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ralph H. Peters on July 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is simply one of the finest books I have ever encountered on the challenges facing today's military. While this is a remarkably-entertaining personal account of our military's sincere efforts--and misadventures--in Somalia, which may be read purely as an enthralling story, the real value lies in its parable-like quality. Instead of lackluster theories from academics who never wore combat boots, Stanton, an Army officer with a distinguished record, tells what it's like to face down a howling mob--and how theory comes apart very quickly when lives are at stake. This is a superb companion piece to "Black Hawk Down," which captured the battle of Mogadishu. Stanton's book gets at the everyday challenges the military faced in an environment few understood. The book is also written with a dry sense of humor outsiders may miss--it reminds me of the best British military memoirs (but without the smugness). Stanton has simply done a terrific job of describing thankless missions and honoring the soldiers with whom he has served--while telling a great story about the dusty, sweaty, what-do-I-do-now? side of soldiering. It may be trite to say this, but I wish all soldiers, and all citizens, could read this book. A great read by a great soldier! Bravo!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "albcrow" on July 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
National Geographic's current July 2002 issue contains a good article, " Somalia, A Failed State?" that shows how little things have changed in Somalia from10 years ago, when prompted by CNN's coverage of chaos and mass starvation, President Bush sent over 10,000 American soldiers, called Operation Restore Hope, in a move to save the Somali's from themselves. Because this tragic man made famine was mostly the result of gang-clan fighting and seedy warlord power grabs. One early account of the US involvement in Somalia, by then US Army Major Martin Stanton gives a good idea of what it was like to be there.
Stanton's, "Somalia on $5 a Day, a Soldier's Story" is an excellent telling of the his unit's part in the huge task of attempting to provide a measure of security to the Somali people and to the NGO's and UN organizations providing food to them, who at that very time where being harassed, robbed, murdered by bandits and armed gangs.
A complicated task was required of Stanton and his fellow soldiers, requiring skills of a soldier, a diplomat, an anthropologist and a humanitarian aid worker to secure feeding sites, food warehouses, roads, airports and towns in coordination with other American and foreign units including Pakistanis, Belgians, etc. Dealing with reporters and charitable groups. Dealing with the mob actions instigated and provoked by warlords while holding to high standards of the rules of engagement on dealing with civilians who were used as pawns in the warlords power games. And, yes killing bandits.
This is an excellent history and personal account of this deployment. The book contains many funny and bizzare snapshots of life, in Stanton's words, a "Mad Max World". Stanton is generous in his recognition of his men and his fellow officier's role in the operation.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dan Goldberg on December 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Major Stanton captures many items in this personal account of what happened to the 2/87th Infantry in Somalia.
There were many people involved in Restore Hope and Major Stanton provides insight into a tiny slice of those lives. through the day to day events as seen by the command group without much exaggeration. This book would be well served with the blanks being filled in by the company commanders and first sergeants of the line companies that actually performed the operations, cordons and searches, and riot control situations described, not to mention the hours of patrolling, and waiting.
It is interesting to note that in the recommended book lists "Black Hawk Down" the author vilifies the 10th Mountain Division and portrays the Rangers in a rather inaccurate light. Stanton's book is by far the most accurate account of the US involvement in Somalia to date.
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