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on March 28, 2012
I was a bit unsure upon opening this book and seeing over 90 chapters listed for a book with a little over 330 pages. Any doubt was quickly pushed aside by the fast paced narrative. The mechanics of the book gives such a sense of the choas of battle the author is trying to convey. Upon finishing this book I have even greater respect for those who put others before themselves.
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on April 19, 2012
A well written description of the war in Afghanistan. This war is unlike any prior war in history. Combatants are exposed to more high-tech killing and maiming weaponry than ever before. We have no draft, an all-volunteer army. Our Congress has reduced the size of the military and has cut military spending. These things combine to make this a difficult war to survive. Combatants are serving multiple tours, they are exposed to traumatic events, and this book tells the reader what it's like. This book adds the political aspect to war. Leaders don't always make the right decisions. Subordinates often know better than their leaders. A good leader listens to his subordinates and should never put his men in an unwinnable situation. But it happens, and it happens in this book. And it probably happens too often. There are consequences to bad leadership, and this book shows the reader just that. War is different today than it has ever been. Every American should read this book to learn what it means to wage war in the modern era. Our soldiers are very patriotic and very brave. They serve to keep us free. We owe it to them to understand what they go through in serving us. They deserve more from our government than they get.
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on August 28, 2012
Like most who have served in Afghanistan and/or Iraq..the historical accounts of the missions there sometimes seem to be an extension of our own experiences.

But few can imagine the horrific accounts of being trapped on a defensive position attempting to take the high ground of cliffs with the insurgents in fortified positions firing down. Terrain is everything in Afghanistan..when it comes to METT-TC..terrain is the metric which must take the highest consideration-

Whoever (and that is plural) planned the mission took responsibility for the disaster which occurred resulting in many serious and life changing injuries to the Special Forces Soldiers.

From the reader's standpoint, it seemed as though the Afgh commandos (in training) would be the main force with the SF trainers to be in the overwatch mentoring and reinforcing training skills in a live combat situation. This seems not to be the case..but, more over the relatively small SF Team became the assault force and the Afghan commandos of some 100 or so were in fixed positions and would not move forward.

The team pressed on regardless-A validation of training and dedication to the mission even though most, including the commander recognized early on the mission was a disaster in waiting.

Too many times, the upper echelon planners took it upon themselves to do the planning when someone else was burdened with the execution. The long hard road to mission planning involves those who do the implementation..because they have all the risks. Powerpoint planning is a no-go on missions of this magnitude.

Does the mil community make mistakes..some understandable..others in-excusable as the following the mission told in the book..or Wanat in the Korengal...or the coverup of the Tillman death in Khost.

For those who were affected by leadership which may of been un-comprising...hopefully, those who "walk the walk" will utilize their first hand experience to do the right thing when it comes to their turn to plan missions.

Good luck all in hopes your lives have moved on to a better place. RH/Paktia/Khost-2003
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on March 18, 2014
Uniquely written and a nice change of pace from normal book paths. Very interesting and well worth reading. Lots of background but lots of action too. I do take issue with some of the author's conclusions. While many of the normal mission steps and safeguards were not followed it may have been for a good reason. There comes a time when we have to give the upper brass some credit. Since some of the many issues never came to light, and there were many with the up to down planning, it may have been necessary and there comes a time when the down to up personnel just have to accept this. This being said, the book describes the courage and wittiness of each individual soldier involved. All can take pride in the fact that they were able to fill in the gaps with nothing more than skill and bravery. There's no need for a blame game at the end. We will probably never know all that the brass knew. Let's face it, we don't know about most of our extremely valuable military secrets and our military continue to do their jobs without demanding and explanation. It's okay to demand an explanation every time we think we deserve one. But we do our jobs whether we get one or not. Bitch but don't betray. It's almost the American way.
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on May 12, 2013
In many situations, people in high places expect the impossible from those in the frontline without actually knowing enough to make the call; often ignoring the advice of those who have to execute their decisions.

This is true in life - whether business or in the military. In the army, their arrogance gets people killed. This book underlines and highlights for those types, using a thick pen and neon yellow highlighters, that they should think much more than twice and listen to those who know!

My overwhelming anger is with the idiots who did the ordering; who ignored the Team; and who put better men than themselves into a grave situation. Unfortunately we don't hear whether these ignorant, arrogant cretins got the "chop" but I sure hope so.

As for this book and the men who survived - I salute a great Team of Warriors. You've been to hell and back and were not found wanting. The courage and tenacity is nothing short of incredible! That you all survived, amazing! That you have made a new life for yourselves, a tribute to your strength of character.

Anyone reading this book who is entering any fray or going to war will be able to learn from glaring mistakes but will, at the same, be encouraged to persevere when one knows that one is in the right and stand ground against stupidity from "higher-ups"!

This is an amazing book and well worth owning.
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on July 1, 2016
A little slow at first. By page 140, it was hard to put down if you like shooting books and books about warriors. Not a happy story, but very real. Ordinary men became an extraordinary team; they survived against horrible odds. It is a book about the courage and determination of the team with just a smidgen of hinting about their idiot superiors who planned (mis-planned) and ordered the attack.

The men are real American heroes. It seems that after their ordeal, most of the men returned to being ordinary civilians people again with marriages, divorces, children, happiness, sadness, etc.

It would be great to spend a few hours with one or more of the team at a conference or meeting.
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on February 29, 2016
Nothing against the heroes in the book itself, they obviously are american bad asses and great guys, but the story was written in a bounce around way that went back and forth too much for me. As well as it doesn't describe the combat or action as much as I would have liked, more about the internal thoughts of the characters and their backstories. Honestly I didn't need to know the back history of who came from what high school and their girlfriends and what jobs they did before the army, I wanted to read about valor in afghanistan. It seems like the last 3rd of the book you finally get to the meat and potatoes and by then it's over.

That all being said I feel it's a story that needed to be told. Maybe they can make a kick ass movie out of it
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on October 22, 2016
An excellent and easily understood timeline of the horrific battle of the Shok Valley in the mountains of Afghanistan. In spite of the fact that it was considered by many as a logistical nightmare compounded by an ill conceived attack plan, the soldiers who fought garnered ten silver stars, more than has ever been awarded in a single battle. In my humble opinion, that is reason enough to make this an important and fascinating read.
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on November 10, 2015
Tough story to read. Frustrating to see senior Army leaders make bad decisions for political reasons that cause brave soldiers to loose their lives. Just the saddest thing. Still, the story of brave soldiers in combat is pretty amazing. I am a two tour combat veteran with a purple heart but I was never in anything like this.
I had difficulty maintaining continuity of the story because of the way it was written and I had trouble visualizing the terrain and the troop movements which detracted from the story. However, if you are not a combat arms officer, it may not distract you as it did me.
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on April 30, 2014
This is a fast-paced story of poor leadership from commanders safely ensconced in their headquarters, and courageous work on the ground by Green Berets. The mission up (yes, up!) an Afghan mountain is recounted in harrowing detail. I realized while reading the book that my drill sergeant at Fort Benning in 2004, Karl Wurzbach, was one of the team leaders. The writing about Wurzbach is clearly based on how he talks, which gave me confidence that the book as a whole is based primarily on first-hand interviews with the soldiers themselves. There are multiple points in the text where the authors zoom out and provide more detail based on extensive research.

My only gripe was sloppy editing/spelling, but I am not sure if that is in print also or only on Kindle.

If you are interested in the war in Afghanistan, what American soldiers (particularly Special Forces) are like, or what good and bad leadership looks like, I recommend you read this book!
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