Lawrence of Arabia meets Sebastian Junger's War in this unique, incendiary, and dramatic true story of heroism and heartbreak in Afghanistan written by a Pulitzer Prize-nominated war correspondent.
Some have called him "Lawrence of Afghanistan". To the Pashtun tribesmen he is "Commander Jim", leader of the "bearded ones". He is Army Special Forces Major Jim Gant, one of the most charismatic and controversial U.S. commanders of modern memory, a man who changed the face of America's war in Afghanistan when his critical white paper, "One Tribe at a Time", went viral at the Pentagon, the White House, and on Capitol Hill in 2009.
A decorated Green Beret who had spent years training indigenous fighters, Jim argued for embedding autonomous units with tribes across Afghanistan: These American soldiers would live among Afghans for extended periods, not only to train and equip tribal militias, but to fight - and even die - alongside them in battle. He argued that we could earn the trust of the Afghans and transform them into a reliable ally with whom we could defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda networks. The military's top brass, including General David Petraeus, then commander of U.S. Central Command and overseeing the war in Afghanistan, and Admiral Eric Olson, head of Special Operations Command, approved the plan and gave Jim the go-ahead to embark on the mission.p>A war story like no other, an unprecedented account of a warrior who took up the cause of villagers as if it were his own, and of a woman on the front lines of a distant war, American Spartan is an unforgettable tale - and one of the most remarkable and emotionally resonant narratives of war ever published.
©2014 Ann Scott Tyson (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers
The story flowed well with the right amount of detail.
Magnificent storytelling of how Special Forces found a way to win the hearts of one tribe at a time in Afghanistan and the unique challenges they faced. The US military should be more open minded rather than strong armed when it comes to trying to win a war. It is obvious only a short term solution is sought. We need to understand people rather than try and change the way they are.
The author digs into how the characters feel. What makes them happy and sad. I had no idea how much a weapon could demonstrate a status among people. If US soldiers go into villages and take weapons from the villagers, this could bring so much shame. We need to be cognizant of this and think of different solutions without bringing emotional harm to the villagers. Major Jim Gant understood the people and worked with them for a common goal.
Thanks to Major Jim Gant for his service to his country. I felt he followed his heart and his country betrayed him with their ego's and political agendas. I hope Mr. Gant finds peace. I pray that he does.
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This is coming from a guy who was in the Army and my father retired from the Army. Major Gant was a soldiers soldier, the type of gung ho officer everyone wanted. After reading this book I'm ashamed that the top brass let this happen!! Did Major Gant break some Army regs.? YES!! Has most every solider in the Army done the same? YES!!! Jim Gant is a true Spartan. He got the job done and never lost a man down range and that is the stuff the Army can't take away. Major Gant's legend will grow and it should. I think Jim did turn tribal but that is what he was asked to do.Taking Ann Scott in was over the top but the heart wants what the heart wants. Drinking beer on christmas and you loose your rank? I was in Kuwait and alcohol and more was available while I was deployed. Everyone who has served in the military world knows Major Jim Gant was shafted. Its sad but Jim Gant can watch my six anytime!!!! One article 15 can't take away what you did for this country. Thanks for all you have done and your service!!!! Major Jim Gant makes me proud to say I was in the Army!!!! Hooah!!!
I don't know Jim Gant, but as far as I can tell I don't know him any better after listening to Ann Scott Tyson's account of him, his career and their apparent exploits together in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The biggest problem with the book in my opinion is that it's written by his lover, a woman obviously deeply enamored with him and appearing to use her book in an attempt to make us feel the same way.
If you believe Ms. Tyson, Major Jim Gant was a warrior's warrior, the only person in the US military hierarchy who knew how to win the war, the only person who really understood, and was capable of understanding, the soldiers he led, the enemy he fought and the tribesmen he so successfully collaborated with. Every tactical decision he made was perfect, every strategic thought was brilliant and if the bureaucrats in Kabul and Washington had put him in charge, or at least left him alone to do...whatever he wanted to do, we would be well on our way to winning instead of losing the war.
All of that may be true. Or maybe not. There is no way to tell. Her effusive and incessant praise of everything Gant did or said, coupled with her equally incessant derision of anyone who disagreed with, got in the way of or didn't support him in precisely the way he, or she, thought he should've been supported calls everything about the book into question. Some of it is undoubtedly factual, corroborated by other sources. But much of the book sounds like a fictional glorification of people and events based somewhat loosely on a true story.
In the end I felt sorry for both of them, not because a noble and brilliant warrior was betrayed by the dishonest, incompetent and jealous bureaucrats of the US military. Again, that may be the case. I feel sorry for them because ultimately her book comes across as a blatant attempt to make us believe that Jim Gant was a great man and a hero, and fails miserably.
No, the book seemed to drag
War and peace
Her perspective was somewhat interesting.
I have never submitted a bad review, until now. I feel very sorry for the mental state of Gant. Vietnam had it's John Paul Van (a better man than Gant) & our mistaken Bush/Chenny bigger error in the Middle East, & our last war had Gant, an out of control man with a giant Napoleon complex. At least the author had the honesty to include Gant's alchol & drug abuses! This Book will appeal to the Beer Belly & misgided so called millitia types, but it will scare normal people. I can't makeup my mind to recomend it or not. I just feel so sorry for Gant's mental issues. I am sure he feels he was right, most fools do. Notre Dame John
PS Chapter 15 woke me up very quickly!
Yes, as she at least is honest. Her intentions are pure but at least in this case her judgement was clouded. I can't understand why she went to Afghanistan under the then conditions! In my 60's War no one would have wanted a person they loved near the place! Human folley.
They made the insanity clearer.
Yes, it made me wish I was 21 again so as to beat some sense into Gant! He hurt a lot of people with his dillusions. So sad. I can picture my Marine squad reacting to a speach as given by a shrimp in Arab garb before we went to battle. He'd of been awaken much sooner! I fully expected suiside, if he really had the guts.
The Army should keep a closer eye on damaged goods! When Gant makes his self serving "I am a Warrior" speaches the Army should have steped in then. I just hope Gant some day faces reality, but I doubt it. ND John
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