At 6:00 a.m. on the morning of October 3, 2009, Combat Outpost Keating was viciously attacked by Taliban insurgents. The 53 U.S. troops, having been stationed at the bottom of three steep mountains, were severely outmanned by nearly 400 Taliban fighters. Though the Americans ultimately prevailed, their casualties made it one of the war's deadliest battles for U.S. forces. And after more than three years in that dangerous and vulnerable valley a mere 14 miles from the Pakistan border, the U.S. abandoned and bombed the camp. A Pentagon investigation later concluded that there was no reason for Outpost Keating to have been there in the first place.
The Outpost is a tour de force of investigative journalism. Jake Tapper exposes the origins of this tragic and confounding story, exploring the history of the camp and detailing the stories of soldiers heroic and doomed, shadowed by the recklessness of their commanders in Washington, D.C., and a war built on constantly shifting sands.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2012 Jake Tapper (P)2012 Simon & Schuster Audio
Very detailed everything from the bigger picture to the soldiers day to day lives. He also did a great job leaving politics out and letting you the reader decide for themselves but moreover this is a book about our troops and their sacrifice along with their families.
All of the men mentioned in this book and also those who may not have been mentioned.
I've never listened to this narrator but he did a excellent job, he keeps the same voice throughout not changing for different characters but I found this to be a good thing not only because nothing sounded silly but it also does not put a "fake" voice to those that sacrificed, not unless the narrator knew exactly what these men and women's voices sounded like should he attempt their voice, and he does not.
I wanted to but couldn't so I did it in two.
If you like books like Lone Survivor, American Sniper etc. then you will most likely enjoy this book, it reminded me more of the Vietnam book Matterhorn which was excellent.
Here it is the wee hours of the morning and I just finished this book and I am searching for words for this review. The ANA reminded very much of the ARVN in Viet Nam; that our young men and women are even sent out alongside men that are cowards such as the ANA in this book really made me angry. Tapper did not pull his punches. He gave a bold.truthful look at situational SNAFU's the men of Camp Keating had to endure. Endured from the land, the enemy, the villigers,and the fools somewhere up the Chain of Command who thought this was a good location even for an Outhouse much less an Outpost. Tapper introduces us to real people and true events not invented characters and made up missions.
This narrator is new to me but I thought his voice was pleasing and his style of delivery smooth. I am very glad he did not try to give these men 'voices' for that would have distracted from the meat of the story.
If you are looking for a Vince Flynn or Brad Thor type book then "The Outpost" is not for you but if you want a honest account of this one slice of the Afghan War then you will really appreciate this book.
This book brought me right back to my own time in Afghanistan during around the same time period. I was located in the same part of the country these guys were in and I can vouche for just how accurate the portrayal of the land, the Afghan people, the Taliban, and the hard-ships soldiers endured during my tour there (which was very different compared to my tour in Iraq as the author indicated).
My favorite was Lt. Keating. He actions and subsequent death proved just how stubborn some higher ups can be when it comes to listening to common sense v/s carrying out orders. I hope all can learn a lesson from this, though I'm not as optimistic about the army and government learning as I once was...
His reading really brought out the emotion that was going on during the battles depicted in this book. I felt like I was right there in the action with them.
The ultimate sacrafice that so many of these men paid moves me, but what moved me more and saddened me to the core is my belief that most people in America do not relate or seem to care to acknowledge their sacrafice and others in the military, including my own. (Especially corporate America)
I think that every adult should give this book a full listen, whether or not they believe in the wars being faught, just so they can get a glimpse of what it is like to be a true Combat Veteran. Then, and only then, should they form their opinions about the military men and women that serve them.
Having never read (or listened) anything that Mr. Tapper had written I figured this would just be another "reporters eye view" of the war. What I found was a jewel that is so powerful I wish every man or woman who might have the power to send our armed forces into battle be required to read it.
More than once I was brought to tears as Mr. Tapper described the gut wrenching emotions of those who waited at home, and of the incredible personal sacrifice these soldiers were (and are) willing to make for one another on a battlefield whose tactical goals have become so muddled by politicians there can be no good result.
Woven into the fabric of this book is a look at the frustrating bureaucracy that has evolved due to the United States attempts to mix politics and the use of military force. The blatant disregard for the most basic rules of tactical planning and execution cast a dark shadow over the senior military officers who were at the root cause of this tragedy. It is hard for me, as a veteran, to understand how we can put men and women in harms way and then hobble them with ridiculous rules of engagement.
War is a very nasty business and needs to be fought with overwhelming force, violence and clear tactical goals. After Desert Storm I believed our leadership, both military and political, had relearned the key lessons of World War II, that being that you simply cannot fight a limited war and expect any good result. It is apparent they have not.
Mr.Tapper does a brilliant job of making that point over and over again in each of the many battle segments.
This is a great book and I hope that it will become required reading for both political and military leadership as a tool to remind all of the horrible costs our soldiers must pay when leadership forgets the basics.
Buy it, read it, and tell your friends about it. The more Americans who become enlightened about what this war has evolved into the sooner, I would hope, we will be able to make the decision to fish or cut bait.
I listened to the Audible.com version of this book. It is an eye-opener. You have to wonder how the U.S. Army promotes officers to general, when they decide to build a small base with less than 200 soldiers at the base of three mountains, near the Pakistan border, so remote that it takes close to an hour for air support to arrive (when the aircraft are available, since the geniuses Bush and Cheney started a second war and sent most of the resources to Iraq). Add a misconceived "hearts and mind" doctrine and rules of engagement that prohibit our troops from shooting unless the target has a rifle in hand. Even if they've just taken fire from that Hahji.
The book is realistic in its depiction of the troops on the ground. He doesn't describe them in the usual stereotypes - heroes, patriots, etc. Some of them did join for patriotic reasons, some because the alternative was a dead end job at Taco Bell, or going to jail. The author shows the pain and sacrifice of the soldiers' families, dreading a phone call in the middle of the night, or the worst, when two officers knock on the door to tell them their husband or son have been killed.
After months of attrition, losing men to snipers and IED's, the higher-ups decide to close the outpost. The Taliban and the local Afghans our soldiers have been trying to help surround the outpost from three sides, well concealed in the mountains, and attack. The Afghan Army soldiers, our "allies," bug out, some of them giving their weapons to the enemy.
So many good Americans died, or were horribly maimed, all for nothing.
The author has done a real service to our troops. The men on the ground served with courage and integrity. The generals who conceived this disaster should all be cashiered.
I like this book so much, and it is so well written and full of vital information and human drama, I am listening to it a second time, and going to buy the print version.
I am the most amazing version of myself that I have ever met.
The bravery of the men was remarkable. They should not be forgotten.
There are several errors in the audio file, where the narration will skip or bounce around. I re-downloaded the book thinking that I had an erroneous file to no avail. The story is great, and as I mentioned, I applaud Jake Tapper for telling that story. My only complaint lies in the errors of the audio file, and the fact that the book jumps around from character to character so rapidly that it is often difficult to track.
God Bless our Troops, thats all I have to say.
There are some books where the content is good, but the narration sucks and totally takes you out of the book (I'm looking at you Washington; A Life). This isn't one of those books. The book itself is very powerful, taking you into the lives of the troops on the front line of America's forgotten war. You get to know personalities and the hopes and desires and fears of those soldiers and you get to see the impact on their families back home.
The narration is just solid. You are not brought out of the narrative by the narration, which means it is just about perfect.
It is sometimes hard to listen to because the story itself is intense and emotionally tough, but I think it is important to hear these stories and know this bit of our history.
a "must" for you military enthusiast
Stories of our troops in action. The politics of some of our decisions. The work of some exceptional soldiers. The sadness of our lost warriors. and the families who endured.
My daughter just returned from working as a soldier at an outpost in Southern Afghanistan. She is a changed person. I doubt if she'll talk about it. But it gives me an insight of what she had gone thru. Short supply of water. Primitive conditions. 4 weeks of no showers nor change of clean uniforms. I could go on but the stories in the book gave me a lot of insight of what she has done and gone through.
Jake Tapper was exceptional in his research. An exhaustive interview of all the soldiers involved. And Narrator Rob Shapiro was outstanding in presenting the material. Held my attention through out the book. Great work. Rob. Thank you Jake, your book came at a good time for me.
The first of three parts seemed repetitious, predictable (it is). The more personal information we learn about a soldier, the more we know he's going to be killed or injured in short order. (It's like the movie cliche where the guy shows a picture of his girlfriend, talks about what he's going to do after the war....) This is a flaw. I almost stopped listening, but.... Second part, a bit more of the same, but there's a build up of my commitment to these soldiers.
By the third part, when the inevitable attack finally came, the only reason I'd pause might be to punch a politician or general.
This is such an interesting topic. I wanted to like the book so much. I deeply respect the brave soldiers whose ordeals were relayed in this book. The book needed to do them more justice. It seemed to drag. The part where the base was overrun with Taliban fighters was a great piece of story telling. I could not imagine what it would have been like to been there. I only wish that Mr. Tapper could have made this story tighter. Americans need to know about these episodes of success within failure as well. A better book would make this story better circulated. One day we will be speaking to our children and grandchildren about these wars and our decisions to send our children overseas to fight and die in them.
No Easy Day
Sadness at the loss of life. Unfortunate decisions that are not well grounded end up being defended with blood and life. I am in full support of the military. I would hope that their decisions would consider future implications. I would feel Angry if I had a son lose a life at this base, it seemed senseless. These soldiers are so brave, it makes me feel very proud to be an American.
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