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90 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awe Inspiring Account of Intial Days of OEF
I've read a lot of books in this particular genre, and this is the first time I've been compelled to post a review--the book was THAT good. While sticking to the historical facts as to the events which transpired in the build up to and initial invasion of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, Eric Blehm presents a fascinating page-turner. I absolutely couldn't put the book down,...
Published on January 19, 2010 by Non-fiction Reader

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dedicated youth serving their country
This book gives the reader an excellent view of what men and women in uniform really do each day. It is believable for anyone and well written. The call of duty by these people is great reading for everyone at anytime.
Published 13 months ago by Keith Sorensen


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90 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awe Inspiring Account of Intial Days of OEF, January 19, 2010
By 
Non-fiction Reader (Washington, DC USA) - See all my reviews
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I've read a lot of books in this particular genre, and this is the first time I've been compelled to post a review--the book was THAT good. While sticking to the historical facts as to the events which transpired in the build up to and initial invasion of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, Eric Blehm presents a fascinating page-turner. I absolutely couldn't put the book down, and at times had to remind myself I was reading a non-fiction book. If you're interested in how low-level, tactical leaders in our armed forces truly influence the nations of the world, this is a must-read. Blehm clearly did his homework and must've conducted hours of interviews with the surviving members of ODA-574, as his insight and account of the harrowing ordeal read as if I was there with them. Read this book--you won't be disappointed.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strap yourself in!!! True leadership by a young warrior and his team!, January 22, 2010
As a reader addicted to military history and accounts of warriors who have actually fought the battles, I am blown away by this book. The author has done exhaustive research and portrays the events that took place with this SF team with very detailed descriptions of technology, tactics, mission planning all as if these men were friends of yours. Eric Blehm takes you inside their lives, their personal conflicts and triumphs, and let's you understand how men can do exceptional things with exceptional commitment to their mission and themselves! The men under Captain Jason Amerine depict why the Green Berets and their other SF brothers are capable of overcoming adversity that couldn't be planned for through constant preparation and unwavering committment. Given the ability to think on their feet and to take action as required when required time after time. I couldn't put this book down. I encourage you to pick this book up, strap yourself in, and be prepared to feel tired, dirty, sweaty, and completely exhausted as SF Team ODA 574 accomplish great things under the leadership of a young captain who believes in his men and trusts them to protect each other...and Hamid Karzai, from the Taliban and the 11th century tribal system inside of Afghanistan that could become a civil war destroying everything.
My heart felt thanks to the men and women of our armed forces and to those capable of earning selection into the special forces. You truly stand above the average man...and I'm glad you do!
Now it's time to pick up more Eric Blehm...he is a wonderful author.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Marvelous, well-written account of war from the personal side, January 19, 2010
This is the first book I've read by author Eric Blehm. I was absolutely impressed by his ability to spin war history into a story you can't put down. In my opinion everyone should read this book to gain a better understanding of the war in Afghanistan. More importantly; with the current state of conflict it reminds us of how it all began.

I found the story insightful both politically and humanistically; the type of novel that is discussed in history class or thoroughly enjoyed at home. Mapping the big picture area of operations following 911 down to small team tactical decisions and finally the personal stories/relationships of the Special Forces Team ODA 574. The team members are developed to an extent that I internalized their experiences, family and know them by first name. The book also gives an interesting, candid first hand understanding of Hamid Karzai's journey to the presidency, focusing on his faithful deep connection with Afghanistan.

This book is very real, I laughed and cried. As a brutally, touchingly honest story of men at war, I cannot recommend this book too highly.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent but disturbing, October 14, 2011
By 
USMC Sniper (Northwest U.S.) - See all my reviews
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The vast majority of the reviews have rated this 5 stars. I would rate it higher if possible. The author, Eric Blehm has done an excellent job explaining the life of a SF team and what they can be assigned to accomplish. As indicated by the book the team was given a job in a new environment following 9-11 and as usual for SOG given very little specifics. They were making some of it up as they went along and by all accounts doing the job and accomplishing their assigned goal. Their problems started when the REMF's arrived from HQ to only "observe" the operation. Never in my lifetime have I ever experienced an observer who out ranked the troops on the ground "strictly observe". There is some defect within these "observers" brain that malfunctions when they arrive onsite. In this case the observers were an 0-5 and a 0-4 watching over the shoulder of a 0-3. The 0-3 was a team leader and was qualified for the position or he would not have been there. We have all seen it before the REMF's wrangle a way to get to the action so they can get a notation in their 201 file that says "he was there" and maybe pick up a medal. In this case their involvement was to interfere by directing the team leader to follow their orders and then they involved themselves into an unnecessary airstrike that took the lives of over 50 friendlies and crippled most of the survivors. Their obvious desire to earn battle stories for the "O Club" cost these men their lives. If these observers had of admitted their "war" had past them by and stayed in the rear where they belonged those who died might still be with us today. Both Officers should have faced a court martial. Excellent book but rotten result. It is a must read.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pulling Rank Causes Friendly Fire, February 15, 2010
I have just finished this book and must say that I am still stunned and appalled by the behavior of the senior
officers who forced their way into the mission of ODA 594. This is the story of how our brave Special Forces
soldiers were caused to agree to the whimsy of those who thought they knew better just because they were senior
in rank to Capt Amerine and his team. Due to their need to play with what they saw as toys for field grade officers to use, members of ODA 594 and uncountable friendly Afghan soldiers were killed by "friendly fire", many others wounded,and to the disgust of a combat veteran like me, the senior officers tried to blame the authorization on
Karzai. I guess they thought they could get away with that lie. I hope they rot in a very hot place for this behavior.

I am an ex-officer and Vietnam Combat Veteran.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous writing, meticulously researched, March 8, 2010
By 
Eric Blehm is a marvelous and immensely talented writer. He lays out the background story of The Only thing Worth Dying For in the beginning chapters, quickly running through a huge number of people's names and military jargon.

Blehm's talents are many and difficult to describe in a review - much better to read in person. But #1 amongst his talent is Blehm's ability to concisely interpret interviews and reports into a coherent whole. His depiction of events involving evaluation of wounded soldiers is graphic and real. Blehm is a researcher who digs deeply into his subject, reading and interviewing and tracking every bit of information to its source.

Another of Blehm's talents for those of us without a military background is the way he takes military jargon and reduces it to just the important concepts. He also succeeds in helping readers follow the ever-expanding cast of characters.

Nothing in Blehm's writing is extraneous. Nothing is wasted.

The best part of The Only Thing Worth Fighting For is that, though written in the genre of creative non-fiction, Blehm is scrupulous in keeping himself out of the story. He lets the ODA team, and what happened to them in Southern Afganistan, stay front and center throughout the book.

Eric Blehm is writer we should keep an eye on. He is young, though experienced. He is talented. His next project will be greeted with much anticipation. I'm sure it will be as great as The Last Season and The Only Thing Worth Fighting For.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Only thing Worth Dying For, January 24, 2010
By 
DOL5SFGA (Fort Bragg, NC) - See all my reviews
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This is by far the best book on the contemporary U.S. war in Afghanistan published thus far. Eric Blehm is both a gifted storyteller and a meticulous researcher. He makes you feel like you are on the ground in Afghanistan, serving as a member of a Special Forces "A-team."

The narrative recounts the struggles of a small group of men who defeated the Taliban in their tribal heartland and brought Hamid Karzai to power in 2001. Despite our American fascination with technology and firepower, war remains a uniquely human endeavor. Blehm's characters are fully developed because he captures the human condition in extraordinary circumstances: valor and cowardice, the altruistic and the self-interested, skill and luck.

Those of us who directly participated in these events have praised this book as the first one to paint the full picture of what happened after 9/11. Accurately capturing every facet of this strategic turning point required exhaustive research. The author interviewed everyone from Special Forces teammates to Afghan President Karzai. He uses official documents, but steers clear of CIA or Department of Defense self-appraisals that paint an overly flattering picture. In total, this provides the reader with a visceral understanding of both modern combat and the timeless concepts of the fog and friction of war.

"The Only Thing Worth Dying For" is an engrossing read that is also enlightening. Eric Blehm provides a rare look at Hamid Karzai as our nation makes pivotal decisions on the way forward in Afghanistan. And as our nation grapples with terrorist threats in places like Yemen and Somalia, this book provides a lesson in succeeding on the ground without a large commitment of forces.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Book, May 3, 2011
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This review is from: The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Fought for a New Afghanistan (P.S.) (Paperback)
My respect, admiration and thanks to Capt. (now Lt. Col.?) Jason Amerine and the men from ODA 574. Too bad that ODA 574 had road blocks put in their way by those that should have helped. God bless those that lost their lives, those wounded, and for the rest of the fighting men and women both in the field and those behind the scenes.
I also have a better understanding and respect for Hamid Karzai. By reading this book, someone that is not familiar with the military and with Karzai will get a better understanding of both. As a Vietnam Army Infantry "grunt", much of the book reinforces my views of the military and how the "upper brass" acts. This book should be a must read for military officers so mistakes are not repeated. The officers could learn a lot, I hope.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Good, Bad and Ugly of making history, March 2, 2010
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This was the first book I've read from Eric Blehm and I cannot say enough goods things. I am not what you would call an avid reader. That is until I started reading this book. I could not put the book down and had completed reading it within to nights. I am an Army Veteran who spent almost a decade of active duty and was involved in the Gulf War. Mr. Blehm's very thoroughly accuracy to details brought me into the story. I found myself feeling as if I was there in Afghanistan. Feeling as if these very patriotic guys were people I had known all my life, then feeling the emotions of the personal loss at the end of the story. This is true look into our military and political hierarchy and the absolute idiotic things some of these people do and the damage they can bring upon our real hero's, who are the actually men and women fighting on the front line. The ones who are not protected like these people of power who sit behind a desk shouting orders while staying safe back here in the United States.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not A Typical "War" Story, March 22, 2010
By 
Dave Hopkins (Fort Worth, Texas) - See all my reviews
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The Only Thing Worth Dying For by Author Eric Blehm is a riveting story about a team of 11 green berets that were dropped behind enemy lines in southern Afghanistan shortly after 9/11 (2001). The green beret mission was to hook up with Hamid Karsai and destroy the Taliban from within. At the time, Hamid Karzai was a little known Pashtun statesman. As I read the book, I found myself getting to "know" the green beret team members. Their fate had already already determined, but the book enabled me to make an emotional connection. It's a story that most of us have never heard. In 2008, the author interviewed President Hamid Karsai to confirm a few crucial details of the story. During the interview, President Karzai held up a photo to his staff and pointed to an American (green beret) soldier and stated, "Had there been anybody else, things would have gone terribly wrong." This is a tribute to the men and women that serve in the armed forces. A MUST READ.
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The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Fought for a New Afghanistan (P.S.)
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