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The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor Hardcover – November 13, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 842 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. ABC senior White House correspondent Tapper (Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency) begins this fascinating history with the controversial 2006 decision to establish a military base in Nuristan, an untamed, isolated Afghan province abutting Pakistan, home to a distinct ethnic group suspicious of strangers. Following the new counterinsurgency policy, U.S. forces would protect civilians while winning their hearts and minds by supporting economic development. The base, surrounded by mountains, was difficult to defend. From the beginning, insurgents sniped, launched rockets, ambushed supply convoys, and sabotaged aid projects. In October 2009, three years into the mission, hundreds of insurgents launched a coordinated attack. The 50 U.S. defenders fought heroically and prevailed; soon after, the base was evacuated; the subsequent official report concluded that the operation was deeply flawed. Aware of their fool's errand, the men did their best, and Tapper delivers a gripping, blow-by-blow account of their actions, their personal stories, and the tortured, often incomprehensible command decisions that kept them fighting despite inadequate support and an ally, Pakistan, that actively encouraged the enemy. 65 b&w photos, 4 maps. (Nov.)

From Booklist

In 2009, in one of the deadliest battles in Afghanistan, Combat Outpost Keating was attacked by Taliban insurgents and nearly destroyed. A Pentagon investigation concluded that the outpost, a poorly located and protected part of a counterinsurgency strategy, should not have been there in the first place. The 53 U.S. troops stationed there were part of an effort to combat extremist groups that sprouted with U.S. support during the Russian occupation. ABC News war correspondent Tapper spent two years chronicling the mission and lives of the troops and their commanders, making the war more personal as readers get to know the troops’ personality quirks, backstories, family lives, and perspectives on their mission. He notes the consequences of the fact that the Afghan war was fought on the cheap as more attention was focused on Iraq, and chronicles the troops’ encounters with harsh terrain, entrenched conflicts among tribes, and reckless commands. They marched into villages so isolated that villagers weren’t aware that their former nemesis, the USSR, no longer existed. Photographs and maps, as well as letters and e-mails, enhance this incredible account of how this outpost was horribly jeopardized. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Extensive media buzz will make this a highly visible and much-requested title. --Vanessa Bush
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (November 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316185396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316185394
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.8 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (842 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Outpost is incredibly well researched. As a soldier who was there, I can say Jake Tapper tells our story well. By focusing on a particular region of Afghanistan, not just a particular unit or person, The Outpost is able to provide a better overall picture of the war in Afghanistan and what the soldiers experienced in the most remote corner of that country. The Outpost, through exhaustive interviews and research, is able to combine the thoughts and decisions of commanders, with the actions of the soldiers in the field, and round it out with the reactions of the family and friends back at home to provide a complete understanding of the war and its effects on everyone involved. I personally enjoyed reading The Outpost and learning the thoughts of many of the officers I served with, who could not be as open about their true thoughts and feelings as they could until after that fact, and also learning of the trials and challenges of the units that replaced mine, and how the war continued to unfold in the remote mountains of Afghanistan that I called home for 16 months. The Outpost, is neither pro-war nor anti-war. It is the cold hard truth documenting a flawed strategy to tame an untamable remote corner of Afghanistan, as told through the story of the many soldiers who personally served there from 2006 through 2009. The Outpost brings to the reader many stories of heroes and leaders the world needs to know about.
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Format: Hardcover
I was with 1st ID 6/4 Cav at COP Keating/OP Fritschie. Jake Tapper's book does great justice for my unit, for an amazing man--Captain Robert J. Yllescas, and for the rest of the officers who were in charge. I was very impressed with how in-depth Jake went into his coverage of our story, and with how well it was written. Like the title of the review reads, I spent a year at Keating/Fritschie, and even I was learning new details while reading the book--because Jake took his time and got the real stories. Smiles and cries, that about sums up my experience reading it. Anyone who wants to understand what true sacrifice is should read this book. Jake, thank you for telling our story to the world! I cannot thank you enough man. Thank you all, read our story, share it with your friends and family.
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Format: Hardcover
Jake Tapper takes the reader to one of the most inhospitable places in the world during America's longest war. Nuristan/Kunar provinces of Afghanistan are located in the northeast corner of the country adjacent to Pakistan and has been the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting of the war. The book tells the story of 3 different cavalry units, all trying desperately to hold one small piece of land known as Camp Keating from its conception in 2006 to its untimely death in 2009. Countless bloody battles are chronicled in the nonfiction book, soldiers were killed others were wounded defending a small base high in the Hindu Kush that was ultimately overrun by a large group of insurgents. This book is a true testament to all those brave men who served and died there....... Want to get an unbiased depiction of the war in Afghanistan? READ THIS BOOK!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I served at Camp Keating for 15 months. Jake Tapper has done an incredible job on The Outpost. This book is well-researched, well-written, and accurate. If you want to know what our Soldiers are experiencing while fighting in Afghanistan, read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Having served in Afghanistan and supported the men at Keating from overhead that dark day in 2009, I simply cannot stress enough how important The Outpost is in capturing and conveying the struggles and complexities faced by our men and women serving in Afghanistan, even to this day. Jake Tapper's meticulous attention to detail and comprehensive, unbiased research conveys a story rich in history, decision making (both good and poor), detail and subtlety. He honors the memory of the men who fell at the hands of the enemy and (seemingly) as a result of the inattention from higher leadership. This book captures and highlights to the reader the decision making at the highest levels which led to the tragedy that was COP Keating, and we as informed citizens owe it to our soldiers to understand how they got where they are and how they face those challenges down on a daily basis with bravery and commitment to their fellow soldiers.

In twenty years when we all look back on the war in Afghanistan from a historical perspective, The Outpost will be an indispensable part of that history. They say that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. If this books takes one tiny step towards ensuring we don't condemn our soldiers to a untenable outpost in an indefensivble position in an unviable part of a lost land, then it will have done more than anyone could have hoped.

Above everything else; above the politics and the military ins-and-outs. Beyond the BS and the PR and the spin of winning hearts and minds and telling a story. Jake honors the men who died at Keating, not fighting for a cause or for some ideal of building a deomcratic Afghanistan. They died for the man next to them, and Jake tells that story with compassion and honesty that should humble each and every one of us when we see one of our finest in uniform.

Read it. Learn it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am the mother of a survivor of COP Keating. I have heard many of these stories first hand, but to see them in print, in order, has opened my eyes wider to the horrors of war. Americans need to get their head back in the game and realize the sacrifices our troops make. Jake Tapper gives the opportunity for just that in this book. This is a tribute to not only the fallen but to those humble souls who came out of COP Keating forever changed.
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