Until the war in Iraq, the Special Forces were the military's counterinsurgency experts. Their specialty was going behind enemy lines and training insurgent forces. In Afghanistan, they toppled the Taliban by transforming Northern Alliance fighters into cohesive units. But in the almost nine years since, Special Forces units have forgone their previous mission, instead focusing on offensive raids. With time running short, the Green Berets are going back to their roots and have started to focus on training Afghan security forces and building an Afghan government one village at a time. Award-winning journalist Kevin Maurer traveled with a Special Forces team in Afghanistan, finding out firsthand the inside story of the lives of this elite group of highly trained soldiers. He witnessed the intense brotherhood built upon the Special Forces' rigorous selection process and arduous training that makes them the smartest soldiers on the battlefield. He also discovered the boredom of chasing an elusive enemy and managing third world cops and the infighting that occurs between teammates and other units. Nine years after the start of the Afghan war, Maurer delivers a compelling account of modern warfare and of a fighting force that is doing everything in its power to achieve victory on a complex 21st-century battlefield.
©2012 Kevin Maurer (P)2014 Tantor
"This story brings to life the unique men who form the ranks of the Green Berets and the Herculean tasks they must accomplish." (Rusty Bradley, author of Lions of Kandahar)
The author starts by telling readers that he went to Afghanistan with a plan to write on a particular topic. Once there the author isn't allowed access to the troops needed for the book. So he tries to save the project by doing something different. The bottom line is that he never gets a interesting story. It like watching a pot of water that never boils. Nice try but he should have accepted he didn't have the material for a good book.
In two words: Nothing Happens. No blood and guts, not triumphant victories: NOTHING
Most war books are written by the men who actually fought. This book was written by a reporter who wanted to write a great story about war...but never saw action. Pathetic.
The reader's performance was fine, he simply had nothing to work with.
This book was so dull, I almost want my credit back.
At the end of the book the author said he wanted to write a book like "Dispatches" by Michael Herr. The biggest problem being Herr saw action, and described it better than this author ever could. Again: Nothing Happens In This Book!!!
The author compares his efforts to Robin Moore and Michael Herr. His writing is a far cry from these literary giants. It seems like he tried to stretch a book out of a magazine article.
The narrator was not quite right for this story. He kept reminding me of that scene in Beverly Hills Cop, "We're not gonna fall for a banana in the tailpipe."
The book was well thought out and outlined and gave a great perspective to the realities, flaws and complexities of the US effort in Afghanistan, especially among Green Berets. What the average action craved post 9/11 war book junky craves to read, will find themselves lacking fulfillment with this book, and that is quite alright, if not refreshing for the average reader hoping to find a better sense of education concerning Afghanistan.
The only warning to the next listener is the wariness of the overall plot of the book. This book will not help portray the special forces community into an acceptable light. The "one-uppers" in this book was at times hard to stomach, and the journalist who wrote the book seems to be searching for something to fill the void in his own life. Maybe holding a pen instead of a weapon is a good place to start. Overall though, Maurer gives readers an honest perspective into the special forces community that should be taken into account. The "juice is worth the squeeze" as he quoted.
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