Lt. Ben Keating, as he led his unit to a Combat outpost that would come to bear his name, played music by AC/DC. 'You Shook Me All Night Long', gave the beat that was needed to move the men to conquest. No one knew what they faced, and God help them, if they had, they probably would have gone, anyway. Jake Tapper, the ABC journalist, has written a perspective of war from the story of an outpost that was destined for failure from the beginning. It is told from the memories of those who were there and the families of those who died.
It seems like such a bad idea, the soldier who was asked to formulate the PowerPoint for the presentation of the Combat Outpost, Whitaker thought so, a death trap. He had objected before to such foolish ideas, and had learned to keep quiet. But he objected until he was told to 'shut up'. These were the days when Bush sent men to war with not enough manpower, not enough sense from the top ranks, but these were men fighting for their country. The top guys wanted to build a small outpost in the northeastern province of Nuristan, 14 miles from the Pakistan border. No protection, water on both sides, flat land, steep Rocky Mountains above. The successes and failures in Afghanistan for much of the past decade are much like the battles fought by this outpost.
We learn about the soldiers in this unit. What remarkable men and some women, their stories familiar but also quite personal. Heros all, they all volunteered for the service. We,at home,remain unaffected in most senses, it isn't our war, unless we know someone,
that is what a volunteer army does for us. This unit at Outpost Keating had some successes, the Afghani community leaders were somewhat trusting, but was the Outpost worth the time, money and men it consumed?
In 2009, over 400 Talibans attacked the outpost on the Pakistan border, and for more than 12 hours, 53 Americans beat back deadly assaults. By the end, eight Americans were killed. Their stories are 'upfront and personal', told by Jake Tapper. He reveals their stories, their wounds , their personal demons, their wins and losses.
This is a riveting look at the result of war, not for the faint hearted, but a book everyone should read. Encourage your senators, your House Reps., and friends to read this terrific book. This is what war is all about.
Highly Recommended. prisrob 04-11-13
on 2 November 2014
Lions led by donkeys!
Enjoyed the book, although, sometimes, you end up saying WTF in your head at the ridiculous situations the men often faced because lack of manpower, helos etc.
Gripping slow burner
on 17 June 2016
Much, much better than the blurb would suggest. Well written, and full of detail, the tension builds considerably on more than one occasion. This is the sort of action that should make it to the big screen.