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
I was in Afghanistan from 06-08. The culture of the Army is "I will fight were I am told to fight, and I will win where I fight" and Afghanistan tested that culture and expounded on why it doesn’t always benefit the Soldiers.
I'm not sure if someone who wasn't there would understand some of the underlying themes in this book. If you are listening to the book for the battles or for an understanding of how we fought the war, this is a pretty good account. However, if you experienced the war, it will just validate how under manned and under resourced we were. I personally got sick to my stomach listening to this book but it was a rewarding experience at the end.
This book on our troops fighting in Afghanistan stands out among most of the war history books I've read. The author's research is phenomenal and his attention to detail is appreciated. From politics to battle scenes to families morning the loss of loved ones, this book tells all and doesn't hold much back. The book will move you in some fashion.
Yes, I would listen to this again. It's a very complex and interesting story of brave men and women willing to sacrifice for there country. This novel is also great at understanding the cultural differences and how our soldiers tried to win this war.
Book almost reads like fiction, very interesting and easy to get into. The stories of family and friends finding out someone has died was heartbreaking, but necessary. I feel I understand at least a little of how these guys have suffered for this country.
He has a very conversational style about how he reads the book. I can imagine the soldier standing in front of me repeating what he has said.
The lengths we went to to avoid fighting with the afghans, counterinsurgency, etc.
Very emotional in two words.
It made me feel as if I was there.
There was not a favorite per se.
Everyone should read this book and everyone should be donating or volunteering for a group that does something for our active military and for our veterans.
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
The Outpost is a heartbreaking chronicle of the rotation of soldiers asked to oversee an underfunded, often thankless mission. The goal was to expand the U.S. Army's reach into the remote northeastern Nuristan Province, where insurgents were streaming in from the Pakistan border. But even at the onset, it was clear to those involved that the outpost was one step short of a death trap, situated at the bottom of a valley with difficult access by air and road.
The narration was superb, and the story (after awhile) seemed to blend together. Personal stories of the soldiers, only to eventually find out their common fate.
It was nice to not have to read another Special Forces, Navy Seal, Delta Force etc. self absorbed book. With those books, a common theme surfaces and it ends up being a self love fest of how great they think they are. These guys are REGULAR SOLDIERS, which are the majority of the American military. This is a close look to what life is like for enlisted soldiers (and a few good officers) who scrub toilets in the morning, and fight battles in the evening.
Tapper writes with a journalistic approach, as if you're reading a long article in Newsweek for example.
This is one of the better books out there on the Afghan War, and if you're interested in further reading, definitely check out "Outlaw Platoon."
I would definitely listen to this again. The heroic and heartbreaking story of these brave and determined Soldiers is gripping and emotional and reminds me that the US Soldier is the most capable, flexible, and resilient Soldier in the world. I was in Jalalabad, working for the brigade 3-61 CAV fell under when all this went down, and I can tell you that the story treated all of the Officers and Enlisted men of the Brigade/Squadron/Troops/Platoon very fairly.
The history behind the creation of the outpost is compelling, as are the men and women who were involved. I was fascinated as the local dynamics shifted with each new unit. Then, when the final battle was told, I found myself sitting in my driveway for long periods of time with this book on the radio. I just couldn't tear myself away.
I cannot point out one single person as my favorite in the story. So many of the Soldiers were distinctive, with functions and personalities that were fascinating.
Overall, Rob Shapiro was uninspired in his reading. Much of the time, he either sounded tired or bored. If the story wasn't so very gripping, I'd have had to put the book aside.
For the story, yes. For the reader, no.
Watch out as this book is laced with a thinly disguised political agenda, so much so that it is distracting from the actual story of the Heroes. I'm not one who likes to have the story of Soldiers used for personal agenda - using their words out of context for political motives. But get by that and the story is incredible, and well told.
This book is a great telling of a very disappointing story in the history of our government. While it is accepted that people are sacrificed in war for the betterment of society or to avoid a greater number of deaths, this book tells a story of high ranking officers, sending men to an undefendable outpost, and failing to support it to an extent which might have saved many lives. It is riveting, well told in story and naration, and well worth the read.
Yes. Just to be able to put myself back with the brave men and women who fight our wars without question. This writing truely placed you in the outposts next to our soldiers.
The American soldiers.
This book tells the stories of our young people, that were sent to remote outposts in Afghanistan, so remote that not only were they undefensable, but they couldnt even get regular shipments of supplies. Sometimes they were lacking even in that most basic of necessity-dinking water. While it was said that the US would not take "half measures", this war in Afghanistan clearly became an afterthought, once the main show got underway in Iraq. It was a half measure from the beginning. These soldiers are fighting the very people who attacked the World Trade Center, yet the main interest was in Iraq. They were spread out so thinly that they could not get any momentum. A unified strategy and Intelligence are clearly lacking. Most of the time they dont even know who they are fighting. They recognize the enemy as foreigners, who come in through Pakistan. Interpreters dont understand the language the fighters speak. This is the very obvious theme of the book- young soldiers sent to fight a war that wasnt the center of attention for the military and government leaders. For me, Another theme became quite obvious. The management structure of our military is antiquated. High level officers have completely free reign to do whatever they want, with absolutely no oversight. Generals can plan missions for a purpose that seems to be to decorate the pages of their year end review, or just to show they are a hardass (at least an armchair). One mission is focused on in detail, to send a large truck to a remote outpost on roads that could barely support a humvee, in an area swarming with fighters, for the purpose as the General says, to show it could be done. Two people died after the road caves in and the truck goes off the edge. One of the dead was an officer of particular high promise, who died attempting to demonstrate a large truck could be driven on mountain roads made for horse-drawn buggys. Prior to the mission, lower level officers who actually had experiece on the ground in Afghanistan, tried to explain the risk of the mission to the general who came up with the idea. The general turned and walked away, rather than to have a serious discussion of his underling's concerns. If this happened in a Fortune 500 company, there would be serious repercussions. The military treats these soldiers as expendables, which not only is a moral outrage, but will be the downfall of our military, as soldiers realize they are expendible, and despite their obvious expertise gained from on the ground experience, their ieas count for nothing. We will lose the best and brightest, the truly heroic, as they are either killed, maimed, suffer from mental illness, or become so disheartened that they decide the military is not the place for them. Corporate management in this country has been transformed into an enlightened syle of management over the past 30 years, where people's opinions are considered based on merit, regardless of rank. The open door policy is commonplace, where management cannot simply turn away whenever underlings want to discuss the merits of a planned action. And most important, the oversight of managers comes both from the bottom up and the top down. In the military it seems the high level officers have an unspoken policy of agreeing not to critique each other's performance. With this antiquated management structure in the military, and the ability of a loose cannon president to do what Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld did, to engage in warS with no serious critical oversight, with forward movement fueled purely by the momentum of a heavily politicized foreign policy. It seems to me that if things dont change drastically, this country has the potential to decay just like the Roman empire. This is Vietnam all over again. There is no clear mission. Our young people are sent to remote areas of Afghanistan, to hang out, and serve as targets for the radical muslims of any number of countries. When a persons tour is up, there is no mechanism to capture his learnings. There is no review of the disasters, no attempt to install corective measures, based on the learnings from a study of our mistakes. We always end up being the policemen. We will stay there, suffering the casualites, the deaths, and the injures, the wounds that cannot be seen - mental illness. Eventually it will end just as it does time and time again. We will decide its not worth it. We will leave, and Afghanistan will once again go its own way. I am so sad to see once again, the lives of our young heroes squandered needlessly.
This book does a good job of illustrating the issues US forces face in Afghanistan and why our mission there seems to have gotten nowhere. It also does a good job of illustrating the valor of the US warrior.
Sebastian Younger's War. I think The Outpost and War compliment each other nicely. The Outpost does a better job of illustrating the challenges US troops face while War does a very nice job of enlightening the reader to the psychology of why individual combat troops are willing to do what they do.
First time I've heard Shapiro. He does a good job.
Although the death of every soldier in the book was moving, I found the stories of the effect on their families particularly wrenching.
Kudos to Jake Tapper on a great piece of work. This book gives what appears to be an honest account of the activities of the outpost and the challenges our soldiers face. Some successes and the failures of leadership in the field, in theater and all the way up to D.C. (The Bush and the Obama administrations) Dont look for a feel good story or a praising or bashing of anyone's agendas, just an honest look at what some of our troops faced on our behalf. Typical Tapper, tough, straightforward and honest. This book should be read by every adult American, especially those who find they want to express opinions on the War in Afghanistan or vote one way or the other based on wars and their outcomes. It may or may not change your mind one way or the other about that war. It will certainly enlighten you to the issues and challenges faced by those who we send there on our behalf. It will also make you think about our decision making process for sending troops into harms way.
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