This is the story of a small group of soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division's fabled 502nd Infantry Regiment - a unit known as the Black Heart Brigade. Deployed in late 2005 to Iraq's so-called Triangle of Death, a veritable meat grinder just south of Baghdad, the Black Hearts found themselves in arguably the country's most dangerous location at its most dangerous time. Hit by near-daily mortars, gunfire, and roadside bomb attacks, suffering from a particularly heavy death toll, and enduring a chronic breakdown in leadership, members of one Black Heart platoon - 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion - descended, over their year-long tour of duty, into a tailspin of poor discipline, substance abuse, and brutality.
Four 1st Platoon soldiers would perpetrate one of the most heinous war crimes U.S. forces have committed during the Iraq War - the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the cold-blooded execution of her and her family. Three other 1st Platoon soldiers would be overrun at a remote outpost - one killed immediately and two taken from the scene, their mutilated corpses found days later booby-trapped with explosives.
Black Hearts is an unflinching account of the epic, tragic deployment of 1st Platoon. Drawing on hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews with Black Heart soldiers and first-hand reporting from the Triangle of Death, Black Hearts is a timeless story about men in combat and the fragility of character in the savage crucible of warfare. But it is also a timely warning of new dangers emerging in the way American soldiers are led on the battlefields of the 21st century.
©2010 Jim Frederick (P)2013 Tantor
"Harrowing account of the atmospherics, commission and aftermath of a war crime.... A riveting picture of life outside the wire in Iraq, where '[y]ou tell a guy to go across a bridge, and within five minutes he's dead." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)
Military, war, and detailed audio books are often difficult to listen to verses read due to the amount of names and place that are sometimes hard to keep track of without being able to reference in print, however for Blacks Hearts listening does not take away from it's powerful account of this tragedy in Iraq. My respect for those that served in this book could not be higher.
Frederick states in the prologue something to the effect that there were " good leaders that had bad days, and bad leaders that had good days." And that this account was not an indictment against the leaders decisions that ultimately resulted in this horrific war crime, and it is not, yet does not absolve guilt either.
Black Hearts, is a harrowing tale of war and the impossible situations that leaders and soldiers on the ground experienced. Which unfortunately resulted in, while not unprecedented a preventable war crime.
If you want to know what you're getting into with this book, imagine Karl Marlantes' novel on Vietnam "Matterhorn" meets Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", set in the worst location and time during the Iraq war and sadly nothing about is fiction.
I highly recommend this book, but warn it pack a punch.
The author did a great job with research and is a good storyteller. It's well-read and the narrator doesn't get in the way of the story like some narrators can. Good voice.
Setting fire to waste with JP8 rather than diesel.
The narrator. This book isn't really about consistent characters throughout the book.
This is a depressing book because of the content. War sucks for anyone unfortunate enough to get caught up in one.
This is not an easy listen - these are real people suffering from real consequences of war.
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