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The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor | [Jake Tapper]

The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

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  •  
    Pete Rohnert Park, CA, United States 02-09-13
    Pete Rohnert Park, CA, United States 02-09-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Great introduction to war in Afghanistan."
    Would you listen to The Outpost again? Why?

    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.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    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.


    What does Rob Shapiro bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    The lengths we went to to avoid fighting with the afghans, counterinsurgency, etc.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary 01-23-13
    Mary 01-23-13
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    "Surprisingly Very enjoyable even for me, a female"
    If you could sum up The Outpost in three words, what would they be?

    Very emotional in two words.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It made me feel as if I was there.


    Which character – as performed by Rob Shapiro – was your favorite?

    There was not a favorite per se.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Not sure.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick 01-10-13
    Patrick 01-10-13

    The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

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    "The hard truth of modern warfare"

    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."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Allen 01-03-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Great but for reader mistakes and political agenda"
    Would you listen to The Outpost again? Why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    Did Rob Shapiro do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    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.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    For the story, yes. For the reader, no.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 01-03-13
    David 01-03-13 Member Since 2014
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    "A very good, depressing but enlightening book"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken United States 01-02-13
    Ken United States 01-02-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Superbly written description of the Afgan war!"
    Would you listen to The Outpost again? Why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The American soldiers.


    Have you listened to any of Rob Shapiro’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Excellent


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theodore San Diego, CA, United States 12-28-12
    Theodore San Diego, CA, United States 12-28-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Half Measures"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mick Nampa, ID, United States 12-21-12
    Mick Nampa, ID, United States 12-21-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Typical Tapper"
    What did you love best about The Outpost?

    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.


    What other book might you compare The Outpost to and why?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Rob Shapiro’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    First time I've heard Shapiro. He does a good job.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Although the death of every soldier in the book was moving, I found the stories of the effect on their families particularly wrenching.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DECLO 68 12-19-12
    DECLO 68 12-19-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Makes the Afghan War Real &Exposes Brass Stupidity"
    What made the experience of listening to The Outpost the most enjoyable?

    I can see why a nation needs to pay for the wars they fight and not charge it to the next generation. If we were feeling the financial cost of this war we would be more focused on the real cost and tragedy of losing so many great young men and women. I hope our President and the congress read this book!


    Any additional comments?

    Profanity and violence are abundant but they are appropriate considering the situation and dialogue.I felt Trapper revealed a little too much prejudice against religions and the powerful influence for good they are in the military. I especially take issue with his inaccurate portrayal of the LDS Church's stand on war and the military.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Derry, NH, United States 03-03-13
    Steve Derry, NH, United States 03-03-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Liberal Views"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Left Wingers


    Has The Outpost turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I think it was the writing.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Any book about American Heros I am all for. However this one was not for me.


    Any additional comments?

    I was over in the Gulf twice. I only met a couple of what I would call complainers. I toned this down for this review. I met thousands of military members that were proud of the job and the reason we were there. And to all the complaners over there in the military you were not drafted. I believe this book reflects a negitive view on thier mission.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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