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Operation Anaconda: America's First Major Battle in Afghanistan (Modern War Studies (Hardcover)) Hardcover – November 25, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"All told, Operation Anaconda presents a compelling telling of a key point in the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan... a useful and interesting read for both the experienced as well as the casual reader of military history. Even more impressive is the DVD included with the book that features over an hour of documentary footage and interviews. This bonus material helps the reader visualize the region's terrain and to better understand the keys to the battle."
-- Army History

From the Inside Flap

Long before it became "Obama's War," the long-running conflict in Afghanistan was launched by President George W. Bush in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Only a few months later, Operation Anaconda sent American-led coalition forces into their most intensely brutal confrontation with Al Qaeda and their Taliban hosts in the Shar-i Kot Valley near the Pakistan border. The result was an unexpected set piece of conventional fighting in what has become an era of guerrilla warfare.

Drawing upon previously unavailable or neglected sources, Lester Grau and Dodge Billingsley give us the most complete and accurate account of this thirteen-day firefight waged in mountainous terrain nearly two miles above sea level. They describe how allied troops fought a fierce and well-entrenched enemy to a standstill, close to an old Soviet battlefield, and then drove them completely out of Afghanistan.

Grau and Billingsley's account also highlights problems encountered in Anaconda and the lessons we should learn from their in-depth study. The Army and Air Force operated under conflicting views regarding the appropriate application of Close Air Support, and airpower both crippled and aided the overall effort. In addition, severe shortages of transport, attack helicopters, and artillery hampered the effort, while the acquisition and timely sharing of intelligence barely occurred at all and coalition relations frayed under the intense pressures of combat.

As an added bonus, the authors also include with the book a documentary on DVD that features interviews with soldiers who fought in Anaconda, provides additional information concerning major phases of the battle, and presents insightful commentary by Grau and by Billingsley, who was on the ground with U.S. forces for the operation. Providing the richest description and critique of all the forces involved including those that fought on the enemy side the combined book-and-DVD surpasses all previous accounts of this landmark engagement and is an essential volume in the literature on our war in Afghanistan.

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Product Details

  • Series: Modern War Studies (Hardcover)
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas; Har/DVD edition (November 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700618015
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700618019
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I took a little while before I decided to look into this book. After all there already are some fine books on Operation Anaconda. Would I really need another one on the subject?

After having read it I can tell you that if you really want to get to the bottom of things you in fact need to get this one and this one only.
Sean Naylor's Not A Good Day To Die was really good, especially with the detailed accounts on the preparations, as were others concentrating on Roberts Ridge.
But since their publication some years have passed.

Lester W. Grau and Dodge Billingsley have had access to new information and combined it into a masterpiece on the battle.

I don't know of any other book on Anaconda that took me so close to the men who got the job done, all ranks, all units while explaining very clearly the different situations, the communication problems, the hardships, all the locations and battlefields (including tons of detailed maps), the weapons (including detailed but easy to understand information on the pros and cons of many) while staying true to the timeline and never transmitting the feeling of you, the reader getting lost in all the details and losing the bigger picture.
Even when you already read some of the other books on the battle this one will give you additional insight and deeper understanding of many decisions taken by Central Command and/or the men on the ground and in the air.
But it will also satisfy the ones "new" to the battle, giving them a very detailed account of the entire operation, beginning to end. Also included are a few short but well written chapters delivering necessary background information on the country's history and its people.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Absolutely a must read and have book. LTC Les Grau and Dodge Billingsley have captured vital lessons learned from all levels of the post-cold war, post-911 U.S. military. If you are a Sergeant or a Lieutenant this should be a must read. if your are a field-grade officer from any service this should be a must read. If you are a General or a politician this book is a must read - but most importantly - a must HEED. Make sure you study the maps and most importantly get a copy with the DVD containing post battle terrain walks and a discussion of the battle with both authors.
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Format: Hardcover
This book has been extremely well researched. Mr. Grau was already an expert on Afghanistan and his books were in high demand by warriors heading into this battle. In a way, he may have shaped it's success. The battle has been portrayed differently by the press, but this book give excellent insight into the true nature of it's execution. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in understanding the conflict in detail.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very detailed account of the operation, but I thought "Operation Anaconda: the Untold Story" was a better read of the battle.
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