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Black Knights: On the Bloody Road to Baghdad Hardcover – November 1, 2003

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'The best reporter's book on the war so far -- and it deserves to be one of the books of the whole Iraq crisis. The eyewitness accounts of the fighting, the terrible guilt of the soldiers and bystanders at the killing of civilians, the overwhelming confusion, the continuous questioning of why they are there are exhilarating and chilling...from his embedded experience, Oliver Poole gives the clearest account of what the fighting was like, and the problems encountered then, which have now become the problem of full-scale guerrilla war. Poole's eye and pen are sharpened by being a lonely Brit among the American legions' Robert Fox, Evening Standard 'Poole's reportage has an edgy adrenaline-fired freshness...This is an exhilarating, honest, often scary account of modern war as close-up spectator' Peter Millar, Sunday Times '[Poole's] account of the baptism of fire endured by a US tank company is starkly horrific in places. It is also witty, often laugh-out-loud funny, and spiced with some wonderfully colourful pen-portraits' Soldier magazine 'This extraordinary account of the spectacle and emotion of warfare rings with authenticity. Oliver Poole has dramatically captured the face of modern battle' Patrick Bishop, author of Fighter Boys --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Black Knights is a vivid eyewitness account of what frontline combat meant in the first major war of the 21st century. Written by a young journalist—the only British newspaper reporter to be embedded with the U.S. military during the operation in Iraq—this book unflinchingly records the modern face of battle. The tank and infantry company known as the “Black Knights” was the first unit in the U.S. Third Infantry Division to engage in combat when, 12 hours after crossing the Kuwait border, it helped seize Tallil Airfield. A month later, it headed a column that fought its way through Republican Guard units on the outskirts of Baghdad and led the advance from the west into the center of the capital. By the time the first statues of Saddam were toppled in Baghdad, the soldiers had been through a terrifying baptism of fire. Oliver Poole has written a remarkably candid narrative of that time—testimony as much to his own courage and skill as to the bravery and professionalism of the combatants. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins UK; First Edition edition (November 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007174381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007174386
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,750,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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A naive reporter views carnage and unequal combats. Trained killers -vs- paramilitaries. Scary briefings of gas attacks. Long trains of vehicles driving through dust.
In a break with tradition, Poole is a British correspondent assigned to a unit as an embedded reporter. While he has not gone through the U.S. Army training with these guys, he is adopted and rides with the crew of a tank recovery vehicle, a hulking toolbox on treads. The Army gives him briefings, lets him wander the camp and ask any questions he wants. Unsurprisingly, the young soldiers are bored, impatient and hang on the words of their Senior Sergeants.
When word comes, camp is struck and everyone loads up, moving in stages to the border where they cross after the breakthrough. They search for elusive Republican Guard units. The main chapters deal with sudden clashes and increasing fatigue. Poole notes that:
'I was shocked. A whole lot of killing had taken place amid the squat buildings and palm trees that stretched around me. ‘It’s only half the number who died in the World Trade Center,’ Doc remarked when I mentioned the extent of the Iraqi casualties to him. I could not see why the comparison was relevant, and told him so. But later I found myself thinking more about the numbers killed, and my surprise at it. This wasn’t loss close to the scale of the Tet Offensive, let alone the Battle of the Somme. Maybe 1600 was not a large number of people to be killed during the first stage of taking an enemy’s capital city. My mind may have been full of thoughts about how terrible this all was, but what had I expected? What had I thought I was coming to see?
Poole, Oliver (2015-04-13). Black Knights: On the Bloody Road to Baghdad (Blood and Treasure Book 1) (Kindle Locations 3637-3642). Reportage Press.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Compelling story that I enjoyed reading.
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