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Victory Point: Operations Red Wings and Whalers - the Marine Corps' Battle for Freedom in Afghanistan Hardcover – April 7, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; 1 edition (April 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425226190
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425226193
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #955,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Writer/photographer Ed Darack has followed the 2nd Battalion of the 3rd Marine Regiment since their pre-Afghan mountain warfare training, and has continued with them through Afghanistan and their subsequent deployment into Iraq. He is the author of three previous books. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Once the action started, it was a very fast read.
D. Lambert
This book is very detail oriented, to the point where I just had to skip over some of the technical jargon to get to the action of the story.
Victory point is a very accurate description of Operation Red Wings (which was erroneously named RedWing in Luttrell's book).
New Mexico Chile

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Slightlylessbulletproof on August 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for both the kindle and the paper back version. I Bought it because I was one of the Marines in 2nd plt Echo 2/3 during the deployment to Afghanistan and I participated in Operation Whalers and remember the tragedy of Red Wings first hand. Reading this book caused so many emotions because of the memories of the events that were taking place. But also because of how much I learned about the situations that were going on. As a brand new 19 year old grunt I was kept out of the loop on a lot of things. from the reasons behind the failed extraction of SEAL Team 10, (which had every single 2/3 grunt pissed that we were sitting there unable to do anything)to Scene behind the mission plannings and execution of some of the hardest things I've ever accomplished in my life.

The only qualm that I have with this book is that Mr. Darak spent the whole Deployment with Fox company and although him being able to talk to grunts from Fox and get after action reports from them, I feel like the events of August 18th 2005 were just overlooked. CPL Cerinceon was the best squad leader I ever had the pleasure of knowing and LCPL George was an absolutely stellar Marine, Nothing could ever explain the shock we all felt that he was to be the one who gave his life that day. However the book did a little half page blurp on the battle of Taleban (the small village in which we were ambushed) and seemed like it was a freak shot that happened to hit George. However it didn't go into detail of How LCPL Gonzalez (who would be killed in Iraq a year later) and LCPL Torres danced around a rock trying to return fire and stay out of fire at the same time. (Torres got hit twice) and the ANA (afghan national army) commandos that died in that fight as well as their Commander being wounded.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful By R. Morden on July 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Victory Point is a good compliment to Lone Survivor just like Roberts' Ridge is complimented by The Mission, The Men and Me. However, all sides of a story are formed with bias and perception that may or may not be the whole truth. This isn't necessarily bad or good, it's just the way things are. As a Marine, I appreciate the praise the author gives the Marine Corps and the Marines involved in the situations discussed in the book. I do think it was a little too much though. No one, and nothing (especially organizations) is as perfect as the author describes the Marine Corps in the book. The Marine Corps, like all organizations and society as a whole is made up of people. People who make mistakes and fail, people who do everything correct and fail, and people who make mistakes and even everything wrong and still succeed. The Marine Corps' plan to capture the bad guy was solid. Well, so was the plan developed by the other units mentioned in the text. Mistakes were made, things went wrong, and people lost their lives, but that is the way this stuff goes down. The only thing the Marines had over the other units was, their plan never got put into action (tested). If they put theirs into action and the other guys were sitting on the bench it could have very easily been a whole list of different mistakes, different things going wrong, and a different list of guys who didn't make it home. Then it would have been a book written by a different embedded journalist writing about how, if the Marines had just listened to the N.S.W. guys and done a helo insert of the recon element versus allowing them to walk in. I can't make a valid comment about mistakes and decisions and what not without hearing the, "why" they did what they did, which the book never covered for whatever reason.Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By NonSequiturPrime on February 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Then you absolutely have to read Victory Point. Lone Survivor was a really good story, however, as others have noted, Victory Point fills in a lot of blanks and answers a multitude of questions: Why this operation came about, how it was planned, who they were after, and gives background on the regional history. You'll be surprised to learn what this book has to teach about Red Wings. There is much, much more to Operation Red Wings (Redwing) than I had known previously. Furthermore, after reading Victory Point, we learn that the United States Marine Corps ultimately took out Ahmad Shah's ragtag group of insurgents / Taliban, who ambushed the SEALs in Red Wings, in Operation Whalers--the culmination of efforts documented in Victory Point.
Modern military operations consist of large numbers of units from throughout the military, it is rarely just Marine Corps, or just Army. This book brings all of this into focus. Red Wings and Whalers were complex and very difficult missions, with many many lessons that hopefully will not be forgotten, ever.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Robert R. Scott on May 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
READ THIS BOOK! Mr Darack spent two months with 2/3 in Afghanistan in 2005. 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. The book was well reviewed by Bing West, Dalton Fury, and others. The battalion achieved victory not by technology dependent special operations that are so lionized by Hollywood and the press these days, but by time-tested boots-on-the-ground, small unit counterinsurgency tactics, tactics codified by the Marine Corps. Read it if you want an honest view of the challenges on the ground for a unit engaged in the COIN fight at the Edge of the Empire. Mr. Darack witnessed first hand the success of the batallion, and how it was achieved through working 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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

I'm an author of fiction and non-fiction books, a writer of magazine feature articles, and a globally published stock and magazine photographer. Working independently, I have pursued a broad scope of interests and fascinations that includes mountaineering and adventure travel, front-line ground and air combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, aviation and space exploration, the study and beauty of the atmosphere, aesthetics throughout nature, and quantum mechanics and the exploration of the most fundamental constituent entities of the universe--among a host of other endeavors. Throughout my entire career I've worked as both a writer and creative photographer, often merging the two arts for a varitey of dynamic projects. I'm the author of the critically acclaimed Victory Point (published by the Penguin Group, New York; named a book of the year by the United States Naval Institute) and three other books (two about mountaineering and one about expedition sea kayaking). I'm currently hard at work on a number of incredibly exciting fiction and non-fiction book projects; please check the Books and Upcoming sections for more information and updates.

I've authored hundreds of feature articles for publications such as Smithsonian Air and Space, Alpinist, Weatherwise (where I'm a contributing editor), Foreign Policy (online), and many other magazines and media outlets about subjects ranging from the physical geography of Mount McKinley to witnessing and photographing a space shuttle launch, among many other topics and experiences.

My creative rights-managed stock imagery is represented by SuperStock, Getty Images, Corbis Images, and further distributed through an international network of over 100 leading specialty agencies. I'm extremely fortunate to have images of mine used on all types of visual media throughout the globe over the course of my career, including the covers and interiors of some of the world's most widely-read periodicals (and those not so widely read), the covers and interiors of an array of books--including New York Times bestsellers--on broadcast and cable television, and all forms of product advertising and packaging. Images of mine have been used by and have appeared in Smithsonian, Germany's Stern, The National Geographic Society, The Times of London, Bank of America, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Forbes Magazine, Outside, Sierra, Town and Country, Powder, Popular Science, Geo, Elle, Reader's Digest, Playboy, Canada Post, The United Nations, Random House Publishing, The Penguin Publishing Group, McGraw-Hill, Volkswagen, Discovery Channel, British Petroleum, Time Life Publications, The Guardian, IBM, ABC News, The BBC, People Magazine, New York Magazine, Time Magazine, NBC Television, The Week Magazine, Microsoft, ABC Television, Scientific American, The United States Department of State, The United States National Institute of Health, Mental Floss, American Airlines, and many other editorial, commercial, and governmental imagery users.

Thank you very much for your interest,
Ed Darack

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