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)
It is a good book for leaders that have an organization that is decentralized. It is important to know how far a decentralized organization can go down hill when not properly supervised.
This book isn't one you can read in one day. It's well written (minus too many direct quotes with wording such as "I was like" and "he was like", which got old rather quickly,) well researched, and well read. The topic is very heavy but it's very important. Fantastic read.
An essential read for military leaders or those interested in leadership in general. This is a compelling story with difficult subject matter but it is an important story to tell. The narration is very good - some acronyms are done in a strange way, but overall very good to listen to. Highly recommend.
Although today's life is faster than ever imaginable in the golden age of books, one can still learn, if only they chose to listen...
After listening to this book, I can see why the U.S
Army Infantry School Commander requires it be read/heard before attending the Maneuver Captain's Career Course. Toxic leadership is an epidemic in today's U.S. Army. Criminals will be criminals however, meglamanics have no place in leadership and there are far too many in such positions already.
I am addicted to listening! I have great memories of my dad reading wonderful books to us as we grew up. So, if I'm driving, I'm listening!
Although the story started slowly, it is definitely a must read that displays the horrors of war.
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