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The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan

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Eric Blehm, author of the award-winning The Last Season, is back with another true adventure story, The Only Thing Worth Dying For. Set in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, The Only Thing Worth Dying For chronicles the untold story of the team of Green Berets led by Captain Jason Amerine that conquered the Taliban and helped bring Hamid Karzai to power in Afghanistan. In th Eric Blehm, author of the award-winning The Last Season, is back with another true adventure story, The Only Thing Worth Dying For. Set in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, The Only Thing Worth Dying For chronicles the untold story of the team of Green Berets led by Captain Jason Amerine that conquered the Taliban and helped bring Hamid Karzai to power in Afghanistan. In the tradition of Black Hawk Down, The Only Thing Worth Dying For is, in the words of former Congressman Charlie Wilson (from Charlie Wilson's War), "the one book you must read if you have any hope of understanding what our fine American soldiers are up against in Afghanistan."


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Eric Blehm, author of the award-winning The Last Season, is back with another true adventure story, The Only Thing Worth Dying For. Set in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, The Only Thing Worth Dying For chronicles the untold story of the team of Green Berets led by Captain Jason Amerine that conquered the Taliban and helped bring Hamid Karzai to power in Afghanistan. In th Eric Blehm, author of the award-winning The Last Season, is back with another true adventure story, The Only Thing Worth Dying For. Set in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, The Only Thing Worth Dying For chronicles the untold story of the team of Green Berets led by Captain Jason Amerine that conquered the Taliban and helped bring Hamid Karzai to power in Afghanistan. In the tradition of Black Hawk Down, The Only Thing Worth Dying For is, in the words of former Congressman Charlie Wilson (from Charlie Wilson's War), "the one book you must read if you have any hope of understanding what our fine American soldiers are up against in Afghanistan."

30 review for The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    This book left tears in my eyes. Incredible and heroic story.

  2. 5 out of 5

    S.

    Falling between the war memoir and the special forces history, THE ONLY THING WORTH DYING FOR covers the infiltration of Hamid Karzai and eleven US Army Special Forces operatives into Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the work suffers from the same handicap as the mission: as everything is political, the soldiers can't engage without an OK from Washington, and much time is spent drinking tea with Kazakhs rather than fighting. And while escorting Karzai is a decent and worthy mission, there's just far Falling between the war memoir and the special forces history, THE ONLY THING WORTH DYING FOR covers the infiltration of Hamid Karzai and eleven US Army Special Forces operatives into Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the work suffers from the same handicap as the mission: as everything is political, the soldiers can't engage without an OK from Washington, and much time is spent drinking tea with Kazakhs rather than fighting. And while escorting Karzai is a decent and worthy mission, there's just far less contact in mountainous Afghanistan than urbanized Iraq. Even some of the Kosovo memoirs seem more intense 3/5. Of interest to historians and Afghan experts but does not offer the full scale battles of, say, ONE BULLET AWAY or GUNS UP!  Read only if you are "need to know" about Karzai. And the are a few pinzgauers

  3. 5 out of 5

    Troy

    Some striking parallels between this and "Lone Survivor", which I also just finished. Interestingly, this one takes place at the very beginnings of the Afghan war, with really interesting focus on Hamid Karzai before he took the international stage - and is full of optimism. "Lone Survivor" took place later, after the pace and the mission had taken on more form - and was full of pessimism. Both carry the theme of very capable, diverse and dynamic small teams of elite combat troops being tripped u Some striking parallels between this and "Lone Survivor", which I also just finished. Interestingly, this one takes place at the very beginnings of the Afghan war, with really interesting focus on Hamid Karzai before he took the international stage - and is full of optimism. "Lone Survivor" took place later, after the pace and the mission had taken on more form - and was full of pessimism. Both carry the theme of very capable, diverse and dynamic small teams of elite combat troops being tripped up by the actions of political command decisions worried about media perceptions - in the case of "Lone Survivor", affecting the decision-making of the troops themselves, in this book driving decisions made by superiors who feel compelled to make a show of US dedication, above and beyond the actual combat actions. (Or would some would call the meddling of REMFs). Both stories leave you with a feeling of pride in our combat forces and what they can and do accomplish at the lowest, even individual, levels - and both end tragically, with a taste that somehow the system let these brave men down. Again, very happy to be finding some accounts of this war, as its true nature has been very hard to appreciate...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ron Wroblewski

    This is an excellent book about a green beret team that accompanied Harmid Karzai into Afganistan after 911. Covers several combat actions as the group moved to take over southern Afganistan. I didn't realize that this was the team that took friendly fire as a 2000 lb bomb from a B-52 was mistakenly dropped on them, killing several and wounding the rest. This was because several higher ranking officers decided to break procedure and 'play' around with looking for targets were no enemy was and ca This is an excellent book about a green beret team that accompanied Harmid Karzai into Afganistan after 911. Covers several combat actions as the group moved to take over southern Afganistan. I didn't realize that this was the team that took friendly fire as a 2000 lb bomb from a B-52 was mistakenly dropped on them, killing several and wounding the rest. This was because several higher ranking officers decided to break procedure and 'play' around with looking for targets were no enemy was and call down bombs on those positions. What I didn't know, and it disturbs me, is that the nearest force to help evacuate those who needed medical assistance was a Marine force at Camp Rhino, 30 minutes away. General James Mattis, who I deeply respected, was the unit commander. He refused to send his heliocopters because he 'didn't know if a battle was going on'. Since when do Marines not head to a battle? Not in my Marine Corps. I have lost some respect for General Mattis because of this situation. The Air Force had to fly 3 hours to evacuate those injured, taking them to Camp Rhino, where no Marines were waiting to assist the wounded. Was that due to General Mattis also? But I really enjoyed this book, since I spend 6 months with Marine Recon in Vietnam in 68-69.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paul Ruiz

    I haven't had much time to read so I try to be really selective before investing the time. This book will primarily appeal to men, but I suspect many women will also find it an engaging read. Story involves a particular A team that was charged with safeguarding Hamid Karzai enroute to Kandahar during the months after 9/11 when it appeared he would be the moderate voice of a new Afghanistan, who could also unite the many factions in that country. The members of this A team, including a local guy I haven't had much time to read so I try to be really selective before investing the time. This book will primarily appeal to men, but I suspect many women will also find it an engaging read. Story involves a particular A team that was charged with safeguarding Hamid Karzai enroute to Kandahar during the months after 9/11 when it appeared he would be the moderate voice of a new Afghanistan, who could also unite the many factions in that country. The members of this A team, including a local guy from Livermore, are introduced and the author, through research including interviews takes the reader behind enemy lines as this team encounters Taliban fighters, calls in airstrikes, makes very difficult life and death decisions, deals with military bureaucracy, leads Afghan guerillas, and ultimately sustains tragic, avoidable, casualties. The nobility of these men come through in this book, and I was left with admiration, respect, and genuine affection for these soldiers and others like them doing a very difficult job far from home.

  6. 5 out of 5

    wally

    finished late morning of 5 march 2020 good read four stars really liked it kindle library loaner. broken wrist so... that kharzi guy was more active than i'd believed..."uw" unconventional warfare, enlightening...unfortunate catch-22 situations. quite a bit one can read outside the lines...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Sheppard

    Eric Blehm's, The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan, was written to inform the readers of what military life was like for the special forces fighting in Afghanistan. Blehm's purpose for writing this book was to inform the readers of the sacrifices made by soldiers fighting the War on Terror after the attacks in America on September 11, 2001. This story was based on personal accounts and interviews of the members of the ODA 574 Special Forces "A" Team, w Eric Blehm's, The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan, was written to inform the readers of what military life was like for the special forces fighting in Afghanistan. Blehm's purpose for writing this book was to inform the readers of the sacrifices made by soldiers fighting the War on Terror after the attacks in America on September 11, 2001. This story was based on personal accounts and interviews of the members of the ODA 574 Special Forces "A" Team, who were the first soldiers to infiltrate the southern part of Afghanistan. Blehm was able to add credibility to this book by the personal insight and feelings of actual events as experienced by the Green Beret. Blehm retold the stories of the soldiers as they began the process to help Hamid Karzai form a government that would allow the people to vote on their leader. Throughout this book, Blehm developed the theme of loyalty. The loyalty of these soldiers included loyalty to America, the military and each other. All eleven members of ODA 574 were so loyal to America that they were willing to make many personal sacrifices to defend our country. The author made the readers aware and understand the level of loyalty they had as he retold the individual soldier's stories of sacrifice. Blehm further explained the belief that all Green Beret members have a partner and will never leave that partner in any situation. Actual events in this book showed that the loyalty to a soldier's partner was more important than personal safety. He also made the reader aware that many situations required the team to work together to get their objective met. The Only Thing Worth Dying For is written in narrative form. By using the actual stories as experienced by the soldiers involved, Blehm makes the audience feel what it is like to be in the war behind enemy lines. He does let the audience see the reality of the disasters that were caused by mistakes made by the higher ranking officials in the military and government. He also makes the audience look past those mistakes to see all the good that came out of this military operation. Showing the good and bad gives this book more credibility. I like this book because it is a true account of what life is like in the military, especially the special forces. It helps the reader to understand the personal sacrifices of soldiers fighting a war, instead of just what they might hear on the news. I would not change anything in this book because Blehm does a good job telling the story through the soldier's eyes. This book is similar to other military special forces books I have read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David Zimmerman

    Eric Blehm deserves every recognition he has received for the writing of "The Only Thing Worth Dying For." This is history retold at its best, drawing you into the action, connecting you to the men whose story it tells, and touching your soul with their heroism, their commitment to duty, and their sacrifice. It has so much to say about the men who risked - and gave - their lives for a cause they believed was much bigger than themselves. And it has so much to say at this moment in our nation's hi Eric Blehm deserves every recognition he has received for the writing of "The Only Thing Worth Dying For." This is history retold at its best, drawing you into the action, connecting you to the men whose story it tells, and touching your soul with their heroism, their commitment to duty, and their sacrifice. It has so much to say about the men who risked - and gave - their lives for a cause they believed was much bigger than themselves. And it has so much to say at this moment in our nation's history, when little men with (by comparison) little to lose, choose to disdain the men who fought for the freedoms they enjoy, and the flag that draped their bodies when they died heroes. The Only Thing Worth Dying For is far from a white-washed account of the mission of ODA 574 to lead an Afghani uprising against the Taliban leaders shortly after 9-11. Inept leaders, needless red-tape, and confused and frustrating government bureaucracy are represented with candor. None of it is designed to make a political statement. It simply makes the decisions and the actions of the men on the ground stand out as they refuse to lose sight of their mission. When the mission ends both tragically and successfully, the character of the leadership of ODA 574 stuns, as a decision is made to forward the mission, even though it meant absorbing undeserved blame. There is irony in this story that could not have been appreciated seven years ago when it was published, but I cannot point it out, because it would spoil the reading of the book. I wept (and I am tearing up now) as the story neared its end, and would not want to deprive anyone of feeling the full weight of a life lost. But there is a valuable lesson in that loss for those who are trying to erase elements of our history because, like every other part of our history, it is tainted with human fallenness. It is possible to remember others for the good they did, while choosing to reject their flaws and live as better men. This will definitely be on my list of top reads for 2017. I highly recommend it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Patrick O'Hannigan

    Not having read T.E. Lawrence myself, I don't know whether the editor of "Valor" magazine was right to call this book "The greatest story of a small unit's battle through an untamed land since 'Lawrence of Arabia.'" What I am sure of is that Eric Blehm won the trust of the Special Forces A-Team whose mission he chronicles here. Those Green Berets are, among other things, fine judges of character. Blehm tells their story straight, touching on everything the team (ODA 574) thought and did. Blehm's Not having read T.E. Lawrence myself, I don't know whether the editor of "Valor" magazine was right to call this book "The greatest story of a small unit's battle through an untamed land since 'Lawrence of Arabia.'" What I am sure of is that Eric Blehm won the trust of the Special Forces A-Team whose mission he chronicles here. Those Green Berets are, among other things, fine judges of character. Blehm tells their story straight, touching on everything the team (ODA 574) thought and did. Blehm's skill is such that readers will get the impression that he was "job shadowing" Captain Jason Amerine. Insights that Blehm offers into Hamid Karzai and his Afghan allies are also compelling. There are no epic fights in this book, but there don't need to be. This is war in microcosm, as described by an author with sense enough to let warriors speak for themselves (The reviewer for Publisher's Weekly who damned this book with faint praise by calling it "engrossing if glamourized" is partly wrong, by the way; Blehm injects no glamour into the story.) I was skeptical of the book's subtitle when I started reading this, asking myself whether it was even possible for eleven men to forge a new country, but although things remain dicey in Afghanistan, Blehm makes good on that thesis. Significantly, (former) Afghan President Karzai would agree with him.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Diane Samdahl

    I picked this book up because Blehm's first book (The Last Season) was so well written. Based on interviews with the men involved, Blehm recounts the story of a Special Forces troop (green berets) who were the first military to infiltrate southern Afghanistan in 2001, protecting then-unknown Hamid Karzai as he rallied the Pashtun to overthrow the Taliban. In spite of my aversion to books and movies about war, I was quickly pulled into this one and sat up late to finish it. This is not the story I picked this book up because Blehm's first book (The Last Season) was so well written. Based on interviews with the men involved, Blehm recounts the story of a Special Forces troop (green berets) who were the first military to infiltrate southern Afghanistan in 2001, protecting then-unknown Hamid Karzai as he rallied the Pashtun to overthrow the Taliban. In spite of my aversion to books and movies about war, I was quickly pulled into this one and sat up late to finish it. This is not the story you'll encounter in official military reports, and it clearly reveals the ineptitude of Bush's War Against Terrorism and the muddling egotism of mid-range officers. But Blehm does not dwell on that. He stays strictly focused on the actions and experiences of the Special Forces troop, and that makes this story much more heroic--and sad. I classify this book with Three Cups of Tea--an engaging read that provides insight into a country that is prominent in today's news. But I'll also recommend it to doctoral students who want examples of how interviews and factual documents can be transformed into a vivid, multi-voiced story with rich detail. Blehm is an expert at that and I'll be anxious to read the next book he produces.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    This book will break your heart for many reasons. One reason is that good men died in a foreign land, wearing the uniforms of the United States. The second reason is that even after all the sacrifices of our soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines, Afghanistan is still battling the Taliban. The third reason is that this book exposes pettiness and in-service fighting on several levels that had disastrous consequences. However, the book is not all doom and gloom. There were so many instances in this This book will break your heart for many reasons. One reason is that good men died in a foreign land, wearing the uniforms of the United States. The second reason is that even after all the sacrifices of our soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines, Afghanistan is still battling the Taliban. The third reason is that this book exposes pettiness and in-service fighting on several levels that had disastrous consequences. However, the book is not all doom and gloom. There were so many instances in this book of what is right with our military and how individuals can make a difference. It took me a little while to get into the book (lots of distractions while trying to read), but once I was about 50 pages in, I did not want to put it down.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline Patricks

    Being former Army (Intel) and an ex-fiancee of a Green Beret, I've always been fascinated by Special Forces. This book is well-written and represents Green Berets very much as I remember them (short of being one myself). It also represents the military and all its red tape and esprit de corp accurately. Quite the read that I sped through in two days. It's written as third-person omniscient, not my favorite POV, but it works perfectly for this story and I barely noticed it flowed so well. I don't Being former Army (Intel) and an ex-fiancee of a Green Beret, I've always been fascinated by Special Forces. This book is well-written and represents Green Berets very much as I remember them (short of being one myself). It also represents the military and all its red tape and esprit de corp accurately. Quite the read that I sped through in two days. It's written as third-person omniscient, not my favorite POV, but it works perfectly for this story and I barely noticed it flowed so well. I don't think it could've been written any other way and still kept the flow and tension and realism. I highly, highly recommend this book for lovers of military biographies and histories.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Siegel

    I come away from this book with admiration for some the heroic individuals who conducted themselves with honor and integrity under difficult circumstances; with anger for some of the idiotic decisions made by power hungry senior military commanders (and their efforts to blame others for their mistakes); and with sadness -for those who needlessly lost their lives due to those mistakes-and the individual whose targeting error resulted in a calamitous friendly fire bombing. His ownership over the I come away from this book with admiration for some the heroic individuals who conducted themselves with honor and integrity under difficult circumstances; with anger for some of the idiotic decisions made by power hungry senior military commanders (and their efforts to blame others for their mistakes); and with sadness -for those who needlessly lost their lives due to those mistakes-and the individual whose targeting error resulted in a calamitous friendly fire bombing. His ownership over the error is honorable, but having to live with that must be haunting. Great, moving story.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Talley

    Once again it never surprises me to hear of such bravery, valor, courage and humbleness as I read these amazing stories of Americas soldiers and airmen! Just something they do day in and out that we civilians never know about. God bless these men and their families! An outstanding book highly recommend!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brett C

    The real account of Special Forces Green Berets in Afghanistan in the beginning. A pretty cool story with some tragic and sad parts.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anthony O'Brian

    I know this is saying a lot, but it is true. This book is a MUST-READ for anyone interested in military history. Especially if you have any interest in modern-warfare history, but this extends to any interest in my humble opinion. Realizing this could be confused with hyperbole let me say this: What "Caine Mutiny", "With the Old Breed" & "Unbroken" is to WW2, "We Were Soldiers Once and Young" is to the Vietnam War, "Blackhawk Down" is to modern warfare, "The Only Thing Worth Dying For" is to the A I know this is saying a lot, but it is true. This book is a MUST-READ for anyone interested in military history. Especially if you have any interest in modern-warfare history, but this extends to any interest in my humble opinion. Realizing this could be confused with hyperbole let me say this: What "Caine Mutiny", "With the Old Breed" & "Unbroken" is to WW2, "We Were Soldiers Once and Young" is to the Vietnam War, "Blackhawk Down" is to modern warfare, "The Only Thing Worth Dying For" is to the Afghan War and the War on Terror. As many reviewers have said already, this is gripping story, that while detailed, never loses your interest. I will never see the War in Afghanistan, the U.S. Military or Harmid Kharzai the same. Eric Blehm has that rare gift of making you feel like you have known the characters just as well as they knew each other. Phenomenal storyline! You owe it to yourself to read/listen to this book. I won't say more or I will likely give away too much.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jon Walsh

    If you ever need perspective in your life....if you ever need to realize that there are people in this world fighting daily to ensure your safety, protection, and survival....if you ever want even the slightest insight into the kinds of sacrifices these soldiers make on a daily basis, this book is a must read. The geopolitical and military context is very informative as well, however for me, the primary aspect taken away from this read is the incredible magnitude of selfless sacrifice demonstrat If you ever need perspective in your life....if you ever need to realize that there are people in this world fighting daily to ensure your safety, protection, and survival....if you ever want even the slightest insight into the kinds of sacrifices these soldiers make on a daily basis, this book is a must read. The geopolitical and military context is very informative as well, however for me, the primary aspect taken away from this read is the incredible magnitude of selfless sacrifice demonstrated throughout by the soldiers chronicled in this story...if you're looking to be inspired for ways to do and give more, this book offers a compelling- if not unvarnished view of the realities and struggles beset onto the service members of our country while deployed overseas, and unquestionably demonstrates why there is such a strong need to treat our nations veterans with proper care upon their return home.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susie Dokos

    TURE TO LIFE. BECAUSE IT'S TOLD BY THOSE WHO WERE THERE. Great story of what it was like it the opening stages of the war on terror. With all the problems that you would expect. Plus some you wouldn't. Outdated maps, no military personnel with sufficient language skills. Overbearing glory seeking Headquarters units. However it is an exciting read. That points out that the armed services have to support each other. To get the immediate mission accomplished. Unless your a marine commander, and perf TURE TO LIFE. BECAUSE IT'S TOLD BY THOSE WHO WERE THERE. Great story of what it was like it the opening stages of the war on terror. With all the problems that you would expect. Plus some you wouldn't. Outdated maps, no military personnel with sufficient language skills. Overbearing glory seeking Headquarters units. However it is an exciting read. That points out that the armed services have to support each other. To get the immediate mission accomplished. Unless your a marine commander, and performing a rescue of wounded US soldiers. Who don'thappen to be Marines. Might put a bullet hole or two in one of your aircraft. You decline to assist. So what would have been a flight of less than a hour. Results in a flight of four hours in daylight over enemy territory. Certainly puts the current Secretary of Defense in a new unflattering light.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gary Detrick

    Calamitous. This type of thing just shouldn't happen. Powerful ending. The sacrifices our young soldiers make, fighting for and believing in this just cause immediately following 9/11 is remarkable. The decisions and politics of orders they deal with is enough to drive anyone "batty", but persevere they do. It renders my heart sad that they return to our free country and have to deal with the craziness of our current society, so full of self, anger, hate, confusion, and the disrespect of those who Calamitous. This type of thing just shouldn't happen. Powerful ending. The sacrifices our young soldiers make, fighting for and believing in this just cause immediately following 9/11 is remarkable. The decisions and politics of orders they deal with is enough to drive anyone "batty", but persevere they do. It renders my heart sad that they return to our free country and have to deal with the craziness of our current society, so full of self, anger, hate, confusion, and the disrespect of those who take everything here for granted. This story moves along quickly through 48 hours of turmoil, keeping you moving from one page to the next. As hard as it is, I'm glad we have soldiers willing to relive and tell their story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Xin

    Great book. Great writing. Great story. It helps me understand the recent history in Central Asia & Middle East. I grew up reading Newsweek stories about how children of Afghanistan not only didn't have school to go to, they spent their days haunting cemeteries to find bones of dead people to sell to Pakistan for the making of bone china. So my perspective might be slightly biased here--I was in total support of the Afghanistan war. I totally appreciate what the Green Berets were doing there. Th Great book. Great writing. Great story. It helps me understand the recent history in Central Asia & Middle East. I grew up reading Newsweek stories about how children of Afghanistan not only didn't have school to go to, they spent their days haunting cemeteries to find bones of dead people to sell to Pakistan for the making of bone china. So my perspective might be slightly biased here--I was in total support of the Afghanistan war. I totally appreciate what the Green Berets were doing there. The book also shows the true color of our dear Secretary of Defense--the bastard left those soldiers there to die!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Daws

    I'm not sure it's right to say I enjoyed this book, although I did like the storytelling writing style of the author. The subject matter was difficult to get through at times, particularly the end, but that doesn't mean it's not important for us to better understand what these heroes did--for us and for Afghanistan. One caveat: this book is about Green Berets at war, and Mr. Blehm allowed the to act and speak as Green Berets within his story. While he did an excellent job keeping the book relati I'm not sure it's right to say I enjoyed this book, although I did like the storytelling writing style of the author. The subject matter was difficult to get through at times, particularly the end, but that doesn't mean it's not important for us to better understand what these heroes did--for us and for Afghanistan. One caveat: this book is about Green Berets at war, and Mr. Blehm allowed the to act and speak as Green Berets within his story. While he did an excellent job keeping the book relatively clean, he did include some cussing in the dialogue and some description of the wounded.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    This is largely the story of roughly the same time period as Gary Schroen's excellent "First In", which was the CIA ("Jawbreaker" team) perspective (this book is the US Army SF perspective). ODA 574 (this book) worked with Karzai; ODA 555 with Jawbreaker/CIA, and several other SF ODAs throughout the country. Several excellent books were written about this period -- the best way to learn about our lost opportunity to quickly win a limited victory in Afghanistan; we could have won and withdrew by 2 This is largely the story of roughly the same time period as Gary Schroen's excellent "First In", which was the CIA ("Jawbreaker" team) perspective (this book is the US Army SF perspective). ODA 574 (this book) worked with Karzai; ODA 555 with Jawbreaker/CIA, and several other SF ODAs throughout the country. Several excellent books were written about this period -- the best way to learn about our lost opportunity to quickly win a limited victory in Afghanistan; we could have won and withdrew by 2002, rather than escalating for the following two decades to no greater victory.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chris Miller

    Wow! This is a great story of how Green Berets influenced a change in government in Afghanistan. This book relates the story of a group of Green Berets who quickly built trust amongst a group of foreign strangers and fought along side them against the Taliban. It also shows how important and dangerous American military superiority can be. I think all Americans like to read about American heroes, but the authors also show poor behaviors from Americans, and how small mistakes can lead to big conse Wow! This is a great story of how Green Berets influenced a change in government in Afghanistan. This book relates the story of a group of Green Berets who quickly built trust amongst a group of foreign strangers and fought along side them against the Taliban. It also shows how important and dangerous American military superiority can be. I think all Americans like to read about American heroes, but the authors also show poor behaviors from Americans, and how small mistakes can lead to big consequences.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emil

    This is a light if not easy read that does a good job of reflecting the realities on the ground in Afghanistan. The story of one of the most infamous fratricide incidents involving a JTAC is given a context that can't be found elsewhere. Also of particular interest is the contrast the author creates between tactical patience and risk adverse higher leaderships refusal to take full responsibility while deligating authority. This struggle is at the foundation of modern military life making this a This is a light if not easy read that does a good job of reflecting the realities on the ground in Afghanistan. The story of one of the most infamous fratricide incidents involving a JTAC is given a context that can't be found elsewhere. Also of particular interest is the contrast the author creates between tactical patience and risk adverse higher leaderships refusal to take full responsibility while deligating authority. This struggle is at the foundation of modern military life making this a must read for anyone wanting to understand the reality of modern armed conflict.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mike John-Williams

    Vivid with imagery so clear I felt I was in the midst of each setting and dialogue as it happened in Afghanistan. I think some hierarchical maps of the ODAs, ODBs and support teams would have been a great addition but easy to find on the net. All in all excellent book and great insight into war and its effect on the indigenous peoples; as well as impacts to soldiers who risk their lives to fight a foreign enemy but also find themselves fighting internal politics that can be prove to be risky or Vivid with imagery so clear I felt I was in the midst of each setting and dialogue as it happened in Afghanistan. I think some hierarchical maps of the ODAs, ODBs and support teams would have been a great addition but easy to find on the net. All in all excellent book and great insight into war and its effect on the indigenous peoples; as well as impacts to soldiers who risk their lives to fight a foreign enemy but also find themselves fighting internal politics that can be prove to be risky or result in deadly impacts.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Very good story about ODA 574 in the days right after September 11, 2001. These men are amazing and did a great job in Afghanistan. This book helps me understand, just a little bit, about what was happening and how it came about to send in ODA 574. Very proud of the men of ODA 574 and the Afghan rebels. The author is a very good story teller. This is the first book of his I have read. He is definitely is one I would consider reading another one of his stories.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dave Monds

    Gripping, a must read Blehm describes the early days of SF in Afghanistan with clear and descriptive prose that seems like it must be made up. This is a story of professional soldiers plying their trade in difficult circumstances with remarkable results. It is a story of leadership and bravery. It is a story of tragedy and the horror of war. It is a story of people giving their all for a common goal and making the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of freedom.

  28. 4 out of 5

    John Dorf

    I think this is one of the better examples of genre fiction yet it is what it is. On the plus, you have a story that defies conventions with its plot arc without losing the readers interest. On the negative, like so many stories in realistic military fiction, the characters are too caricature-like. Green Berets are smart, athletic, and well-rounded people, yet they read as a few flat characters who are painstakingly foreshadowed.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

    This was an amazing book. The author really does know how to slay sacred cows. There are a lot of big names in the SF world that even POGs like myself are familiar with, and here he just calmly recounts the story and knocks them off their pedestals, one at a time, and probably not even intentionally.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kirk

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. An exceptional read that I had to put down a few time due to the intensity. This book dives into the lives of the SF team than held a strong hand in the turn of Afghanistan's government. We all owe it to the memories of the med killed in this tragic accident to never forget the sacrifices made.

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