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Warrior King: The Triumph and Betrayal of an American Commander in Iraq Hardcover – May 27, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1St Edition edition (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312377126
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312377120
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,498,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A valuable insider’s look at the many-layered ramifications of the American-Iraqi tragedy of errors.” —Kirkus Reviews

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

NATHAN SASSAMAN graduated from West Point in 1985. He was captain and quarterback of the Army football team, rushed for more than a thousand yards in a single season (1984), and led the Cadets to their first postseason bowl victory over Michigan State. In August 2003, when his patrol came under attack, Sassaman braved machine-gun and RPG fire to drag one of his wounded soldiers from his vehicle. Then he chased down the insurgents, killing or capturing all of them, earning himself a Bronze Star for valor in Iraq. He commanded the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment in Iraq from 2003 to 2004. He lives in Colorado.

JOE LAYDEN is a New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist whose work has been honored by the New York Newspaper Publishers Association and the national Associated Press Sports Editors. He lives in upstate New York.


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Customer Reviews

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Honest and well written.
Jamie L. Simmons
LTC Sassaman's book, The Warrior King, was an insightful book that was helpful to our family to see a picture of what is really going on in the Iraq War.
Jeffrey and Marla Weeks
This book is driven too much by ego and less by storytelling.
Timothy E. Lowery

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Kirk L. on August 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Based on the book alone, I think Lt. Col. (ret.) Sassaman has created a compelling story of his Army career and experiences as a mechanized infantry battalion commander in Iraq. However, when reading "tell all" autobiographies, I am always leery of how much the ego and self-interest plays into it. Sassaman blisters his brigade commander relentlessly, but this is all the word of one man and his own POV.

The reviews are telling, though. Several of his former officers/soldiers have praised him and his leadership, so you can make the case that much of what he says in the book is true, and that he believes in his heart that he did the right things.

What military professionals are going through these days is a far cry from the peacetime armed forces of the 80's and 90's, and the kinds of moral and ethical dilemmas Sassaman faced have proven to be the undoing of others across the various services. It's always easy to play armchair general, so I respect the colonel's service and his attempt to tell his story. Not having served in his unit, I can only take him at his word.

I found the book to flow well and it certainly kept my attention throughout. His descriptions and images are pretty accurate given that I served in the same part of Iraq a little more than a year after he returned to the States.

The bottom line for me is that while I think it is a good book and interesting read, I would caution those unfamiliar with the military/army and the war in Iraq to not take this as an absolute rendering of what has happened. For those in opposition to the war, this is something to latch onto as proof of failed foreign policy, but every single battalion and brigade AO is different, and all meet with different results.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Johnathan Hayes on March 6, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
In 2002/03, I had the honor of serving under LTC Sassaman along with many of the other soldiers whose names I have recognized in this review section. From a viewpoint of a soldier who put boots on the ground on 2 different occasions, I can honestly say that LTC Sassaman was the greatest man I have ever had the priveledge of serving with. Although not to be identified by name, F. Blake who has also posted a review here was a close comrade as well who served with the unparalleled 1/8th Inf Battalion Commander. LTC Sassaman in his book tells the story of us and what we endured during that stressful deployment. His motives and actions may not be considered right by many, but his leadership could never be matched. In that year, I am proud to say that I was able to serve with these fine gentlemen and will forever hold them close to my heart. Their impression will last a lifetime and will never be forgotten.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joseph M. Creaney on June 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was informed of this book by a soldier mentioned in the book, the master gunner who was in that unit. But the book corealates closly to how this 11B on the ground described the combat he experienced in that Batallion. This is an outstanding look at what guys and leaders have to go through on the ground. I spoke with my BC one of Sassaman's peers and knows some of the people named in the book.

This is an intersting look at army politics and realistic look at lets App Now. When you go to war the best laid plans fall apart. I think his fustraion and sutuation colored his whole view of the army and the whole operation. I am writing this review from an LSA mentioned in the book and it is true if you don't go out side of the wire it is like being back in the states but you just can't go home. There are those who are doing a tought job dealing with insurgents.

It is sad that a really good book and a very intersting looks and a compelling story but the swipes at national policy and judging the whole war from one perspective feeds into the groupthink of trashing the war. But it is an intersting look at how Sassaman sees the promotion proscess for sienior ranks and it is not pretty and I am not privy to that level of politics. It is sad that one of the most successful leaders of the war is forced out because of the events in this book.

For non-military readers, it is still a good read but take into other perspectives. We did get a handle on the situation and we did not loose. The army learned from mistakes.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Timothy E. Lowery on May 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is driven too much by ego and less by storytelling. According to Sassaman he did everything right and everyone else was wrong. I counted the use of the word "I" 13 times on one page. I served in Iraq twice and agree that our military was unprepared, however, Sassaman loses his credability by regularly talking about his successes and everyone else's failures. If you want to read a good book about Iraq without all the self-gratifying opinions, read "The Good Soldiers".
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Citizen John TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 25, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Warrior King tells a lot about what went on in Iraq at the time. It also demonstrates the perils of total dedication to one's job. In some ways, Nathan Sassaman reminds me of the late David Hackworth, another brave officer who put the lives of his men first. Such men are effective warriors, and they are not careerists. This is a cautionary tale for those wanting to grow with the organization through dedication and sacrifice.

Lt. Col. Sassaman did not have the benefit of leading his battalion during the Sunni Awakening. There weren't reliable Sunni allies, and the local Sunni population didn't think the U.S. was going to last in Iraq. Occupation was too costly over the long run. In such an environment, force protection was an incredible challenge.

When mortar rounds came into base camps, Sassaman ordered counter battery fire. The insurgents responded by using less mortar fire and probed for a weak spot somewhere else. This is how Sassaman had set the tone of rebellion against his commanding officer, who did not approve counter battery because it risked grievous "collateral damage" (killing and wounding innocent Iraqi citizens). Sassaman continued to put the lives of his men before the mission as time went on and his battalion was sent from one hot spot to another. Of course, at that time the U.S. was in between war strategies, and the mission was often confused. It seems logical that a dedicated, sacrificing officer would put the safety of his men first.

It's easy for people that weren't fighting in Iraq to condemn Sassaman's approach to counterinsurgency. He was determined to earn the respect of the insurgents rather than their contempt.
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