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Storm on the Horizon: Khafji--The Battle That Changed the Course of the Gulf War Mass Market Paperback – August 30, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In late January 1991, during the Gulf War, the Saudi Arabian coastal city of Khafji and several U.S. Marine outposts stretching inland were overrun by a three-division Iraqi ground attack. Confusion about the strength of the enemy attack led to Marines being trapped in the city itself; confusion in communications and about location led to several "friendly fire" fratricides. The U.S.-led coalition positions and Khafji itself were eventually retaken by U.S.-supported Saudi National Guard counterattacks that proved the Saudis had a good deal to learn. So did the Marines, Morris shows, particularly about air-ground cooperation, but they also learned the serious weaknesses of the vaunted Iraqi forces (which may have influenced coalition strategy later). The real strength of the book, however, is not in its strategic analyses but in the portraits of the men on the ground, few of them above the rank of captain, derived from exhaustive interviewing by the author, a former Marine officer. Morris conveys how the fog (and smoke, dust and sand) of war looks to the people in it, while clarifying the situations for the reader, not something that most military histories manage. Many of the men were almost as isolated as in pre-radio days, but Morris shows their training to have kicked in purposefully.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Former marine officer Morris offers a detailed account of a crucial but little-known battle of the first Gulf War. Amid the general uncertainty of Desert Storm, Saddam Hussein made an attempt to capture the city of Khafji, and thereby undercut American resolve. Morris covers every aspect, from the initial deaths by friendly fire to the recapture of the town by Arab forces and their marine advisors. His narrative style is excellent, making one feel as if one were there. He also covers the inter- and intra-unit squabbles among the fighters and shows the effects they had on the battle's outcome. Finally, he emphasizes that the latest generation of American weapons did, in fact, work extremely well but did not eliminate the need for good training of personnel or the problems of target identification. Consider this one of the better books on small-unit action in the first Gulf War. Frieda Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345481534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345481535
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,431,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Within the first few paragraphs Morris' literary prowess ramps the reader up for one of the most overlooked yet crucial battles of the post-Vietnam era. As a Desert Storm veteran that served in this area I can attest to the accuracy of events. But most importantly this book poingnantly tells an account of human bravery and selflessness under the most precarious and chaotic of circumstances. Morris has done a great service to these brave men and women by revealing their events to the spotlight of history. The author's unique distinction of being a Marine infantry officer and talented writer combine to create a bona fide page-turner with an insightful lesson.
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Format: Hardcover
This book shook me up. It brought me back to old and seemingly buried memories from my own World War II days, and events I experienced or witnesssed in Viet Nam. Although I sat in my chair, I WAS THERE with the author and the other jarhheads.
Truly a gifted writer, this young Captain of the US MArines. He has an uncanny feeling of what to stress, even though it seems to the uninitiated to be only a small point. Yet, he does equal justice to the so wrongly called "Big Picture", the cameos and the clerly described wasteland of the Northern Saudi desert areas.
I am a jaded reader, rarely find a book I desire to buy and keep. This is one of those that I will keep and give my grandson when he is old enough to understand what sacrifice for one's country really means, and understand the despair when you see a buddy buy the farm (yes, I know this term dates me). I will make him read it so he can also respect those who are willing to die for the rest of us.
I wasn't a Marine, but
SEMPER FI!
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Format: Hardcover
Sometime it takes years for veterans to fully comprehend the big picture of war. That was the case with the first Gulf War, quickly celebrated for "kicking the Vietnam Syndrome" but hardly seen for more than a good 'ole thumping for the U.S. The Iraqi military loomed larger than life, combat-proven and deeply entrenched in Kuwait behind 12-foot tall sand walls, hoping to bog down the American-led invasion in oil-filled fiery traps so their deadly artillery can shred them to pieces. Well that didn't happen due to a premature face-off at the Kuwait-Saudi Arabia border. The Iraqi military turned out to be (now twice) the most incompetent enemy our country has ever defeated-42 days and 21 days.

On the night of January 29, 1991, news quickly filtered to Al Jubayl Air Base (where I was) some 100 miles south of Khafji that the Iraqis were rolling down the coast. There would have been minimal deterrence all the way to Bahrain. Luckily, there was a trip wire called RECON there...and a few Air Force A-10s, proven to be more fatal to U.S. Marines than the Republican Guard.
Morris brings readers to the front lines where the best of the best Marine infantry-RECON-are led by junior officers and NCOs as they repel an overwhelming Iraqi intrusion. With all the details and perspectives from commanders and grunts, STORM is the best battle book and combat narrative to come out of Operation Desert Storm. Morris joins the elite ranks of former leathernecks with a literary flair. Don't be surprised to see STORM in a movie theater down the road or another book by him soon. Semper fi.
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Format: Hardcover
In the midst of our current efforts to establish a democracy in Iraq, many will have lost sight of the Gulf War led by the U.S. and its coalition partners against Saddam Hussein in 1991 to liberate Kuwait. In fact, if you are like me, your memory will be so dim that you will not remember that while the air campaign was going on in Operation Desert Storm the Iraqis invaded Saudi Arabia and threatened the oil fields their and the supplies being built up for the Marine invasion of Kuwait. That attack led to the Battle of Khafji, a small city on the Saudi Arabian coast that was recaptured by Arab forces in the coalition with a little support from the U.S.
Although intelligence had reported that an attack was likely, no one paid too much attention. Fortunately, there were Marine reconnaissance patrols in place along with some tank-killing back-up. With brilliant improvisation, the Coalition troops managed to stop superior forces and armor by using their wits and air superiority. They also displayed uncommon valor.
The accounts of the action come mostly from the Marines involved, so any Marine will want to read this book. It's an important chapter in the legend of the Marines.
The story also illuminates how difficult modern war is, even with weapons and air superiority. You are at great risk of being killed by your own forces . . . as unfortunately was shown to be true in this battle.
If you enjoy reading about Civil War battles, you will find this one someone reminiscent of those tales where soldier unexpectedly contact one another and a fight breaks out . . . leading to a more major engagement with strategic consequences.
I particularly enjoyed learning about the background of the people before the battle and what happened to them after the war was over.
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Format: Hardcover
I just received this book in the mail, and from the time I started reading I could not put the book down. The author's comprehensive research and excellent story-telling was a real pleasure, especially since this is his first book. What really blew me away was the mountain of personal interviews of first-hand accounts. This type of research is certainly the most difficult yet yields the highest quality, which well-read military buffs such as myself can appreciate. In all of the book, which I read carefully, I found quite a few fascinating first-hand accounts that rebutt official military reports, reports that have been dubious from the get-go. This book is a must-read for anyone who needs an accurate understanding of Gulf War I, and certainly for anyone who would attempt to understand Gulf War II and the rest of American post-Vietnam conflicts.
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