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Lions of Kandahar: The Story of a Fight Against All Odds | [Rusty Bradley, Kevin Maurer]

Lions of Kandahar: The Story of a Fight Against All Odds

Southern Afghanistan was slipping away. That was clear to then-Captain Rusty Bradley as he began his third tour of duty there in 2006. The Taliban and their allies were infiltrating everywhere, poised to reclaim Kandahar Province, their strategically vital onetime capital. To stop them, the NATO coalition launched Operation Medusa, the largest offensive in its history. The battlefield was the Panjwayi Valley, a densely packed warren of walled compounds that doubled neatly as enemy bunkers.
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Publisher's Summary

One of the most critical battles of the Afghan War is now revealed as never before. Lions of Kandahar is an inside account from the unique perspective of an active-duty U.S. Army Special Forces commander, an unparalled warrior with multiple deployments to the theater who has only recently returned from combat.

Southern Afghanistan was slipping away. That was clear to then-Captain Rusty Bradley as he began his third tour of duty there in 2006. The Taliban and their allies were infiltrating everywhere, poised to reclaim Kandahar Province, their strategically vital onetime capital. To stop them, the NATO coalition launched Operation Medusa, the largest offensive in its history. The battlefield was the Panjwayi Valley, a densely packed warren of walled compounds that doubled neatly as enemy bunkers, lush orchards, and towering marijuana stands, laced through with treacherous irrigation ditches. A mass exodus of civilians heralded the carnage to come.

Dispatched as a diversionary force in support of the main coalition attack, Bradley’s Special Forces A-team and two others, along with their longtime Afghan Army allies, watched from across the valley as the NATO force was quickly engulfed in a vicious counterattack. Key to relieving it and calling in effective air strikes was possession of a modest patch of high ground called Sperwan Ghar. Bradley’s small detachment assaulted the hill and, in the midst of a savage and unforgettable firefight, soon learned they were facing nearly a thousand seasoned fighters - from whom they seized an impossible victory.

Now Bradley recounts the whole remarkable story as it actually happened. The blistering trek across Afghanistan’s infamous Red Desert. The eerie traces of the elusive Taliban. The close relations with the Afghan people and army, a primary mission focus. Sperwan Ghar itself: unremitting waves of fire from machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades; a targeted truck turned into an inferno; the death trap of a cut-off compound. Most important: the men, Americans and Afghans alike - the “shaky” medic with nerves of steel and a surgeon’s hands in battle; the tireless sergeant who seems to be everywhere at once; the soft-spoken intelligence officer with laser-sharp insight; the diminutive Afghan commander with a Goliath-sized heart; the cool maverick who risks all to rescue a grievously wounded comrade - each unique, all indelible in their everyday exercise of extraordinary heroism.

©2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.; ©2011 Rusty Bradley

What Members Say

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  •  
    Pamela Dale Foster Sykesville, MD 11-04-13
    Pamela Dale Foster Sykesville, MD 11-04-13 Member Since 2010

    I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.

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    "Kandahar Battle Described As Never Before"
    What made the experience of listening to Lions of Kandahar the most enjoyable?

    The experience that made listening to Lions of Kandahar the most enjoyable was that it was a very edge of your seat listen. There was always action, action, action. I don't believe that any of the men who were a participant in the battle of Kandahar ever slept over 3 hours without another man pulling on his boot to wake him up.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Lions of Kandahar?

    One of the most memorable moments of Lions of Kandahar was when the Taliban and American forces were having another fierce battle and two Americans and four Afghans went to the school to conduct surveillance. The school was situated in the compound that had been won in one of the many vicious battles. The Taliban discovered them and they had to flee. The medic left his position to attend to the injured men. He ran across open space without giving any thoughts to the danger he was putting himself in. One of the American men, in the army special ops, was severely injured. One of the bullets had ripped through him and his intestines and other organs were exposed. The medic fixed him up as well as he could to be med evaced out. He was gotten onto the med evac hilo and flown out. Because of the medic's immediate attention, the soldier did survive. The medic was put in for the medal of honor by his commander.


    What does Eric G. Dove bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Eric G. Dove provided reality to the story. The fierceness of the many battles were given more validity then if I had read the words. I could feel the action and suspense. I could see the men's faces, filthy, with sweat running down into their eyes. I could hear the screams on the battlefield of the wounded men. I could see the raging fires caused by the air support dropping bombs on significant specified areas. I could also see the dead Taliban strewn across the battlefield.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    My extreme reaction was tears. This occurred a couple of times during particular scenes that the authors, Rusty Bradley and Kevin Maurer, described so clearly in words and Eric Dove, the narrator, brought to life.


    Any additional comments?

    The capital of Afghanistan, Kandahar, was wanted by both the Taliban and the US. The Army Rangers and Afghan allies, were sent out to help the Canadians, who were losing men of their own special ops and were having great difficulty holding on, at a different battle close by. The battle of Kandahar, raged for four weeks, with no let up. The US had to keep asking for more supplies to be air-lifted in, they called for air defense many times as well as med evac hilos. The days were well over one hundred degrees and the nights could drop to freezing. The men were eating MRE's and drinking so much water, that the supply of water became critical at times. This has been the best described battle that I have read in the many books about the Afghanistan war. I can understand why Captain Rusty Bradley had to take many, many notes and compile them into a book. To allow this battle, that was so crucial to the American's, not to be put into words would have been unthinkable. This one battle illustrates how difficult and hellish war it. War illustrates how the men work together as a team. The men are very aware on one another. These men will do anything to help out one another. There was not one man described, who was not willing to die for their fellow man. These men would make unprecedented rescues of their fallen comrades on the battlefield. They would not leave a man behind, even if it meant their own death. This book is definitely a must read. The book passes by so quickly and to think that these men would not all go home after that battle was over. They were getting their gear together to move on to the next site, where the Canadians were fighting, that was considered worth fighting for. War is definitely not what I would consider the best job but thank you to the men and women who are willing to fight war to keep their fellow man safe and free.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cory Amarillo, TX, United States 12-24-12
    Cory Amarillo, TX, United States 12-24-12 Member Since 2006

    I spend about 55 hours a week driving and really enjoy having a good book to pass the miles.

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    "An excellent story about the war in Afghanistan."

    I really enjoyed this story. You never hear about what these men go through on a daily basis on the news unless it puts them in a bad light. The story is about the ousting of the Taliban from Kandahar and how our special forces troops have to work with the local tribes to attain that goal. It is frustrating to think that they had accomplished it once and had to retake ground that the international allied troops wouldn't protect. The narration is great and the story is fast moving. Buy it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Fremont, CA 05-30-12
    Amazon Customer Fremont, CA 05-30-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Pretty interesting story about the Afghan war"

    It was an interesting story, even if the dialogue was a bit forced at times. The country twang added by the narrator is a bit annoying, but the underlying story is powerful and it told the tale of a key battle in Afghanistan that I didn't even know about.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Calgary, Alberta, Canada 03-15-14
    Steven Calgary, Alberta, Canada 03-15-14 Member Since 2005
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    "Real Combat"

    I'm assuming, having never been in combat, that the author has conveyed what modern warfare is really like from the perspective of a special forces soldier. I think the term Captain Rusty Bradley used with fondness was "warrior". Very intense scenes rich with detail including the tactical thinking of a team leader in battle. Lots of "Rah! Rah! USA" but I could not fault a professional soldier from any nation for being patriotic and proud of his unit.

    The narrator sounded suitably military. I could hear the wop wop of helicopters, concussion of RPG's and the crack of bullets along with the cries of pain or anger on the part of combatants on both sides, but that was just in my imagination. That's quite something for an author / narrator team to accomplish.

    Overall, a worthwhile credit and enjoyable time of listening.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Flavius Morro Bay, CA, United States 02-06-14
    Flavius Morro Bay, CA, United States 02-06-14 Member Since 2009
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    "A Soldier's-Eye View of the Afghanistan Conflict"

    'Lions of Kandahar' brings the combat close--sometimes too close for comfort. It's a gritty, valiant look at one man's experiences in the recent conflict. This unique focus has its advantages and disadvantages. The author's intimate knowledge of the subject makes for a detailed and compelling read, and because the team is so small, it's easy to keep track of the various participants in course of the battles. However, at the same time this narrow focus does not lend itself to an understanding of "the bigger picture" regarding Afghanistan, or how the events depicted in "Lions" fit in to that bigger picture.

    The narration is excellent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marti ARDEN, NC, United States 12-01-12
    Marti ARDEN, NC, United States 12-01-12
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    "This is the real deal"
    Where does Lions of Kandahar rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best I have listened to. I felt like I was right there in the battle through the entire book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was both factual and credible. Having spent 20 years in the Special Forces, I know that this story and the terminology are from real Special Forces soldiers.


    What does Eric G. Dove bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He plays the parts of many of the characters, to include accents.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    As real as it gets.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    deborah hawkins, TX, United States 10-30-12
    deborah hawkins, TX, United States 10-30-12
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    "I enjoyed listening to this book very much."
    What did you love best about Lions of Kandahar?

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book; both the story and the narrator were excellent!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Nor Cal 08-05-14
    Chris Nor Cal 08-05-14 Member Since 2014

    If you see a BMW motorcycle cruising down the road, you can be assured I'm listening to a book from Audible!

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    "Well done"

    I listen to audio books while commuting on my motorcycle, and I found myself dreading reaching my destination while listening to this book! Listen to both this book and the book titled "The Only Thing Worth Dying For" for a complete picture of the SF mission in Afghanistan. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Middleville, Michigan, United States 09-25-12
    Andrew Middleville, Michigan, United States 09-25-12
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    "This was a good book. Not great, but good..."
    What made the experience of listening to Lions of Kandahar the most enjoyable?

    The overall story was interesting and definitley worth a listen if you are into the latest crop of military related books (Lone Survivor, SEAL Team Six, American Sniper, etc.). I have nothing but praise and respect for Mr. Bradley and his team and thank them for their remarkable service. The flow of the story was a bit disjointed in parts with the dialogue sounding a bit forced. As a firearms enthusiast, I did appreciate the detailed descriptions of weapons used by both sides of each conflict. In the later chapters as the fighting intensified, there were many gripping moments when I did not want to turn the car off and stop listenening. I am glad that I purchased this book and spent the time to learn about this important battle and the heroic people involved.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Morris Newmarket, ON, Canada 11-13-12
    Morris Newmarket, ON, Canada 11-13-12
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    "Does what it needs to"

    A standard book about today's combat. A lot of words to finally make it to the end of the book with the final battle scene. Nothing wrong with it just that I've read too many books back to back. Having said that, this is one of the better stories.

    The details leading to the battle was excellent, the battle scene details were ok if not a little to John Wayne like but still a good story.

    And Please do not consider my review a comment on the fighting man. What they do for us is unbelievable and I hold them in the highest regard, my review is only about the book, not the man.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • duncan
    Cheltenham, United Kingdom
    3/22/14
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    "Very American but enjoyable"
    What made the experience of listening to Lions of Kandahar the most enjoyable?

    It is a real story about some very brave men and I think we should now about some heroism that went largely unreported


    Would you recommend Lions of Kandahar to your friends? Why or why not?

    If you like this kind of book, yes, but it doesn't have the charm or wit of 'The junior officers' reading club'. I suspect it is historically accurate and the author never blows his own trumpet.


    What aspect of Eric G. Dove’s performance might you have changed?

    he is what he is and true to the spirit of the author - a bit strange if you are not American but I think authentic


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A fight against all odds


    Any additional comments?

    It was quite 'socially' interesting to reflect on the character of the men in the story and their values

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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