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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
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on 16 June 2015
A story of valour by ordinary troops despite the insane idea by their high command to place them in the worst possible location where their base was in a deep valley surrounded on all sides by high mountains and where the local Jihadis could look straight down into the base and pour fire at the US troops at will. It was also very difficult to resupply and medevac wounded but the upper echelons of the miltary wanted a presence there and the troops paid for it in blood. Very sad tale but the heroism of ordinary soldiers, cut off and surrounded is a story that needs to be read.
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on 22 April 2014
The book was excellent it told the true account of the ordinary soldiers who fought and died for an outpost to try and help Afghanis with a better way of life and also the incompetence of people higher up who have never seen or been to war who gave them the orders so that the troops carried out they don't listen to the men on the ground all they do is try to outdo each other till the shot hits the fan then they blame someone else
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on 11 April 2015
Superb reporting on a tale of heart breaking bravery and sacrifice on the ground and some grim background of hubris arrogance and one right stupidity by senior soldiers.

To chase the oil in Iraq Bush abandoned Afghanistan and left his own forces over stretched and poorly supported. This has yet to come back and bite him but God knows it bit far too many of the men who lived and fought for their country in Afghanistan.
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on 31 March 2015
Brilliant read, well written great descriptions of the fighting and background to the characters. Gruesome descriptions of the way some of the soldiers died. Very sad in places. What nutter puts a troop base in the bottom of a valley surrounded by hills and mountains in the middle of enemy territory? crazy . Will re read this sometime in the future.
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on 4 February 2015
Exceptional read of the true face of war..

This book will be enjoyed by all who understand the nature of war and that it never runs according to a plan. Warfare changes in a heartbeat and it takes a very special kind of soldier to remain in the face of insurmountable odds.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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on 15 May 2014
This is a very accurate account of what happend. It does show how hardworking and proffesional these guys are. Something missing or not covereed in press/news accounts here. It describes American action only and gives a good insight into their methods.
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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
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on 19 May 2015
This was an eye opener of a book. I was rivetted from the very start and in awe of the courage displayed by soldiers who were ordered to hold and work from an ill selected base. Hats off to all of these men.
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on 1 February 2014
One of the best and most in depth studies of the war in Afghanistan. I remember seeing a news article about the incident at COP Keating and as a former soldier thought WHO would site a base there! This tells the story of the 3 units that occupied the base in its relatively short existence. It's told in a page turning but very human way, introducing us to the soldiers as individuals. Culminates in the insurgents attempt to capture the base. I tip my steel helmet to the guys who fought and died there.
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