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The Hunt for Bin Laden: Task Force Dagger Hardcover – March 4, 2003

2.7 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews

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The first wave of U.S. Army Special Forces arrived in Afghanistan in mid-October, 2001; a few months later, they had routed the Taliban and taken control of the country. In fact, writes Robin Moore, "fewer than 100 American soldiers were on the ground when Kabul fell." The Hunt for Bin Laden is both a celebration of the Special Forces, "the most fearsome fighting unit the world has ever known," and a detailed account of how just a few hundred Green Berets, working alongside the Northern Alliance, were able to overcome nearly 100,000 entrenched al-Qaida and Taliban members and take control of Afghanistan in such a short time. Though Special Forces had participated in all of the small conflicts since World War II, the war in Afghanistan was the first time they were in charge of an entire operation. For these gung-ho soldiers, it was the moment they had been waiting for.

From the beginning, the operation was a blend of cutting-edge and 19th-century weaponry. The Northern Alliance soldiers, though brave and determined, were often outfitted with only rusted rifles and worn-out boots. In one particularly fascinating scene, Moore writes of the Northern Alliance cavalry leading a charge on horseback while American fighter jets roared overhead dropping laser-guided missiles with pinpoint accuracy on Taliban forces. The author of the military classic The Green Berets, Moore knows his subject intimately and his access to the troops on the ground is impressive. This makes the book incredibly detailed, but unquestionably subjective, so those interested in a political overview or an objective look at the policy behind the operation should look elsewhere. This is strictly a heroic portrayal of a military victory and the difficult search for Osama bin Laden, and at times Moore's writing sounds like copy out of Soldier of Fortune magazine. This bombast may not appeal to all readers, but his deep knowledge of Special Forces and his inside information makes this book a must read for those interested not only in this particular conflict but in how guerilla and unconventional warfare is executed. --Shawn Carkonen


“Fast-paced and immensely entertaining.”
The Washington Post Book World

“BLACK HAWK DOWN–IN THE SNOW . . . Little is held back in the sweeping reality of the text. It is all there: the pain, the suffering, the fear, the courage, the sardonic morgue humor of war, the strength somehow found in its jaws–
and the honor in fighting the good fight.”
Soldier of Fortune magazine

–New York Daily News

Moore is a good action writer.”
The Commercial Appeal (Memphis)

“Authoritative . . . Moore guides you through volatile Afghanistan as seen through the eyes of Special Forces operators–team by team–battle by battle. IF YOUR BLOOD IS NOT STIRRED, CHANCES ARE YOU’RE RUNNING ON EMPTY.”
Soldier of Fortune magazine

“[This book] transports you inside the beating heart of America’s war on terror, then spirals you down a main artery onto the front lines with a special Forces detachment cutting down al Qaeda terrorists. . . . By the time I finished reading The Hunt for Bin Laden, I was in awe of this force America had unleashed against our enemies. . . . The Hunt for Bin Laden has the epic style and reality of We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young.”
Soldier of Fortune magazine

“Swashbuckling . . . [Moore reaches] a kind of ground truth in his narrative of Special Forces at war: the dangerous, sometimes thrilling but unpredictable nature of combat that makes soldiers laugh bitterly at the phrase ‘military precision.’ ”
The Washington Post Book World

“Robin Moore is back in his element. . . . The Hunt for Bin Laden offers valuable insights into the war.”
San Diego Union-Tribune

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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (March 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375508619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375508615
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #865,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The members of the SFOD-A that I served with during my first tour in Afghanistan and I are absolutely amazed this passed any factual quality control check. It reads as if it were written at a corner table in the Green Beret Club at Ft. Bragg by people who weren't there, interspersed with details by someone who heard something from someone else who said he was there. The account of Tora Bora was absolutely laughable; the pictures and the tale that was told was akin to having someone who landed on Normandy Beach on 6 JULY 1944 (a month later) give his account of an assault he did not participate in. Critical parts of Operation Anaconda were omitted. Contrary to the content of this work, those who wear a green beret are not instantly contemptous of those who do not; those are our roots where we first learned to soldier. The book's incessant recounting of petty inter-service and rank-conscious jealousies distort the reality of the sheer effort involved by all of those involved in prosecuting the fight in the early days of the war. The theme of "swaggering barrel-chested freedom fighters fight valiantly yet alone to overcome the juggernaut military bureaucracy" is so far off the mark as to make this whole story read like a comic book. He tries and fails time and again to draw logical comparisons between the Special Forces experience in Vietnam and Afghanistan, two different times, places, missions, and national moods.
Robin Moore is a fine man who has given much as an author to the history of our branch. This was not his best effort.
This book is best used as a beverage coaster, placed under the cold drinks of those who were actually there while they recall the deeds of others, their frustrations, and the pride of their service.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The sheer potential of this book makes it extremely seductive -- it is an account of the Green Beret "A" teams in action in Afghanistan in 2001, written by the author of the first book about the Green Berets way back in 1965. At first glance, it's easy to believe that this might be the definitive early work about war in the post-September 11th world.

But as they say, you should never judge a book by its cover, and there's no better example of that maxim than this incredibly uneven and deceiving book.

I have to say I am grateful to the many cautionary reviews here. They helped soften the blows of aggravation and disappointment early on in the reading, as I learned where the book's center of balance was.

By any reasonable standard, this book is sketchily researched and often very poorly written. In my opinion, the quality of writing in this book would score low marks in any reputable high school. Sources and quotations are almost nonexistent in the text (and lazily compiled in the appendices), and there isn't a single corroborative interview acknowledged. There appear to be no first-hand accounts of enemy engagements shared directly with the author for his book. Battle descriptions are so unreliable that it's impossible to trust the veracity of any of the reports.

The book contains so much hearsay that if the manuscript had ever darkened the desk of a professional fact-checker, it's probable it would never have made it to press. Moore (or his ghostwriter, perhaps) uses extremely declarative language that makes it read more like the adrenaline-charged propaganda of a military pulp novel than anything even remotely resembling journalism.

This cannot possibly be considered an unbiased examination of the war in Afghanistan.
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By Greg on October 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The author is faced with a chance to write the story as it actually happened and Mr. Moore lost that opportunity. Now this book will forever be known as a complete work of fiction by those of us who were there, conducted the operations and then interviewed by Robin Moore as to what happened. Venturing too far off the path of validity was perhaps due in part to his "buddy" Jack Idema, who is referenced far too much throughout the book. Mr Idema is a compelete work of something else, just google search the name. In short, disappointing is too nice a word for the effort.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This work is a largely fictionalized account fabricated by a fellow named "Jack" Idema (identified in the text's forward as "an anonymous Green Beret") who was advertising his services as an "Ex-Special Forces operative" (he had in fact had an undistinguished career as a common, non-SF soldier) to unsuspecting journalists and authors during the U.S.'s initial foray into Afghanistan. He managed to lie his way into the country by tagging along on a National Geographic documentary. Then, after being found out and fired, he peddled his story to Northern Alliance leaders. He is notorious for selling CBS and 60 Minutes II a fake "Al Qaeda training video" as well. Unfortunately, he duped the well-respected (but aging at 70) Robin Moore and co-author Chris Thompson (uncredited) into believing he was the genuine article.

Unfortunately, Idema's fictions permeate the work from the very first chapter describing the insertion of the Special Forces operatives. The book gives a dynamic and interesting account of the team facing overhead RPGs and gunfire. In reality, the group landed at night and were welcomed by the CIA advance team (including Mike Spann). They set to work unpacking their gear, and the rest of the night passed without incident. No gunfire. No drama. The air force controller portrayed as the protagonist in this chapter, Matt, says he didn't fly in until days after the rest of the group.

Most of the Special Forces members featured in the work, as well as writer Robert Young Pelton (also featured), have publicly decried the book as a falsification of the facts.

All of this info only came out after the book had been published and reviewed by Soldier of Fortune.
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