- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 10 hours and 11 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 15 Nov. 2010
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004CF9WBC
Task Force Black: The Explosive True Story of the SAS and the Secret War in Iraq Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
I am ex-British Army, and currently writing my PhD on the use of intelligence, as well as researching on the use of special forces, and this book is one of the finest texts available to educate. This is because instead of glorifying gun battles and giving us nerdy details of the raids (Andy McNab has unfortunately corrupted the market in this regard) Urban instead details how the SAS operated throughout the Iraq campaign. We get all the detail you could want, tactical level details, through to operational intents, to campaign level strategic thinking. This is most important when hearing how the SAS were brought into the campaign design of General McChrystal. If you treat this book as an edification as to how contemporary counter-terrorist operations were conceived and operated with SOF execution, you will be nothing less than amazed. Incredible stuff, truly.
The book is very detailed both on a strategic level, shows the respect our cousins the US special forces have for the SAS at the highest levels, but also makes the very complex social, political and cultural issues facing US/UK forces, which were compounded by the problems in the UK at a political level understandable... there are eye witness accounts of Special forces raids by some of the operators involved, and the involvement of the main characters behind the planning, Graeme Lamb, Stanley McChrystal and General Petraeus are highlighted and explained....
The book was throughly checked out by the MOD so there are no banana skins to worry about. It has been informative, easy to read and at times gripping and has tranformed my view of the Iraqi conflict and our role there in a big way.
Be warned though, the author is also a well respected military historian (Big Boys Rules, Fusiliers, Rifles, etc) and while the book includes many stories of derring do, its primary role is to tell the history of this particularly nasty theatre of the Iraq War. In this way it is not a "kill and tell" adventure story like Bravo Two Zero or Sniper One.
The one surprise in this book, I found, was the author's pretty damning revelations about the "defeatism" which permeated certain sections of the British Army officer class, particularly senior officers, and which had a detrimental effect on UK relations with the US allies and with the prosecution of the conflict in Southern Iraq ... eventually culminating in what can only be called a Defeat for the UK.
I'm not sure why a previous reviewer gave this only 1 star and had a pop at the author, maybe he read a different book or maybe he has his own agenda in slagging it off, but rest assured he is wrong. This is a SUPERB book and I would thoroughly recommend it to both readers of the more "populist" books like Bravo Two Zero (it has lots of stories of SAS raids) and for those looking for a more distanced analytical review of the Iraq War (it traces the entire Iraq war, though concentrates on the years 2004 to 2007).
Buy this book, you won't regret it.
Urban's book certainly contains enough descriptions of door-kicking assaults, house raids, kidnaps and rescues to satisfy those who like to read about modern warfare but he spends an equal amount of time on military political manoeuvring and the concepts behind the strategies. So whilst we get first hand accounts of the rescue of British hostage Norman Kember and his Christian Peacemaker Team, or the killing of the leading fanatical Islamist Abu al-Zarqawi, we also get to learn about Major-General Stan McChrystal's concept of building networks, or of the Iraqi Awakening movement.
For those interested in the political dimension, Mark Urban uses much terminology of modern political discourse - the kind that seeks to make what is obvious, unclear and murder seem acceptable. When one hundred-plus American soldiers are killed in one month, the losses are referred to as "shockingly high"; when over fifty women and children are killed (not in one incident) this is referred to as merely "regrettable." As a consequence, Urban falls into the pro-war camp, promoting myths supportive of establishment objectives: al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) didn't exist until British and American forces invaded Iraq; the US-UK military presence attracted these fighters to Iraq, the consequence of which provided retroactive justification for why Western soldiers were waging the war in the first place.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant read..Delivered within 24hrs, read over 2 days, riveting. ?Published 1 month ago by simon jones
Too much about the politics. I was looking for something more operations based.Published 2 months ago by Steve Waddington
One of the most boring books on war that i have ever read. Im just not a fan of Urban's report style of writing. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ailingleopard
It wasn't quite what I was expecting but was a very interesting read. I really enjoyed it and it arrived quickly and in good condition which was great.Published 10 months ago by Kev Williams