From the New York Times best-selling author of In Harm’s Way comes a true-life story of American soldiers overcoming great odds to achieve a stunning military victory.
Horse Soldiers is the dramatic account of a small band of Special Forces soldiers who secretly entered Afghanistan following 9/11 and rode to war against the Taliban on horses. Outnumbered 40 to 1, they pursued the enemy army across the mountainous Afghanistan terrain and, after a series of intense battles, captured the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, which was strategically essential to defeat their opponent throughout the country.
The bone-weary American soldiers were welcomed as liberators as they rode into the city, and the streets thronged with Afghans overjoyed that the Taliban regime had been overthrown.
Then the action took a wholly unexpected turn. During a surrender of 600 Taliban troops, the Horse Soldiers were ambushed by the would-be POWs. Dangerously overpowered, they fought for their lives in the city’s immense fortress, Qala-i-Janghi, or the House of War. At risk were the military gains of the entire campaign: If the soldiers perished or were captured, the entire effort to outmaneuver the Taliban was likely doomed.
Deeply researched and beautifully written, Stanton’s account of the Americans’ quest to liberate an oppressed people touches the mythic. The soldiers on horses combined ancient strategies of cavalry warfare with 21st-century aerial bombardment technology to perform a seemingly impossible feat. Moreover, their careful effort to win the hearts of local townspeople proved a valuable lesson for America’s ongoing efforts in Afghanistan.
©2009 Doug Stanton (P)2011 Simon & Schuster
“A fascinating account…This is not just a battle story - it’s also about the home front. An important book.” (The Today Show)
“A thrilling action ride of a book.” (Bruce Barcott, cover of The New York Times Book Review)
I can not even imagin riding those mountain trails and then into battle. I thought this book was very well written and well read. Today when we think of Cavalry it's usually 1st Air Cav sweeping in to save the day not men on actual horses. Warfare on a horse seems like it would be something those who put together this engagement would have to go back a 150 years or so and relearn. It was a good thing in this book to see the modern American Soldier and a Afgan man and his horses come together for a common purpose. I thank Mr. Stanton for doing this book otherwise these men and their story might have been lost to us. I was not familiar with this narrator but I thought he did a great read and I would enjoy hearing more from him.
This book tells the story of the initial military response to the attack on US soil from Al Qaeda before it was sidetracked by the military misadventure in Iraq and America's return to Afghanistan with large numbers of military forces on the ground. American special forces who were sent into Afghanistan to help the warlords that composed the Northern Alliance fight and defeat their Taliban enemies. The books title is somewhat a misnomer. Northern Alliance forces rode horses into battle and therefore so did those American special forces personnel. 13th century society used 13th century technology to transport their forces into battle. American special forces were in Afghanistan to call in American air power and it is American air power that is the crucial factor in the Northern alliance victory. It is a story told simply from the perspective of those American special forces. We learn little about the warlords American forces are helping to win. We learn little about the strategic imperatives or tactical goals that bring these special forces to this region. This is the story of the fighters and their experience. It is not the story of the generals to whom they report or their civilian superiors in Washington.
The book is a tad tendentious. The forces of good triumph over the bad. The Taliban do perfidious acts but in the end that perfidy does not win the day. There is no investigation of those forces we are helping, little about the 13th century we are encountering, nor the political forces in Pakistan that we will later have to deal. There is no attention giving to the military expertise of these Northern Alliance forces. Tactical and strategic decisions are accepted without comment. Their bravery is presented as a fact, though no mention of why they were on the way toward defeat prior to American intervention might challenge this assumption. American power is seen as great and insurmountable. The first American warrior to die in this conflict is a CIA officer and its from friendly fire. There are limitations to even smart bombs dropped from 20,000 ft.
This is not a good book, let alone a great book. It will be of interest of those of us who like stories about American military success and triumphalism. If you were unaware of the facts of the initial American entry into the Afghan civil war then this will be a useful book worth reading. If you are looking for a book with a larger perspective this is not it. If you want to read the intimate story of those special force soldiers who helped the Northern Alliance forces capture victory then this is a book you will want to read.
Anyone who is interested in military history will want to read this.
In interested in science, history and international studies. I'm currently a graduate Student and work full time in the energy industry.
Not by Jack Garret no.
I couldn't make it more than an hour into the book. The narration just grated on me.
Not that I could find.
Right at the beginning of the audiobook its referred to as a novel. It isn't. This confused me and I had to double check that it was indeed a nonfiction work. Not exactly the best way to inspire confidence.
The core story I really enjoyed. Military facts etc. were also very interesting. I'm glad I bought the book, as I enjoy this subject. However the audiobook is not without flaws. This book is read by a speaker that is attempting to impersonate the "coolest man in the world", and this is irritating. The book itself leans heavily towards glorifying war, lots of lines in the book that basically pound in the idea that soldiers love War, their Wife's and Kids and the USA. Which I'm sure is 100% true but don't pound it into me. The history is great and I still recommend the book, but it is no Charlie Wilson's War and I wish it was of the same caliber.
"Horse Soldiers - Amazing!"
This was a fantastic read - well written and with complete empathy for the main characters. The author captured the essence of these incredibly able and brave men and accurately showed their intelligence which often one assumes is not high in the military lexicon - but for Special Forces personnel and the missions they undertook, intelligence is a pre-requisite in addition to the awesome physical endurance
Takes it's time to get going but once it does its very exciting. I was very keen to hear the story behind the famous pictures of the guys on horseback and this book relates it in good detail in a very engaging way.
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