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Publisher's Summary

"A thrilling action ride of a book" (The New York Times Book Review) - from Jerry Bruckheimer in theaters everywhere January 19, 2018 - the New York Times best-selling, true-life account of a US Special Forces team deployed to dangerous, war-ridden Afghanistan in the weeks following 9/11.

Previously published as Horse Soldiers, 12 Strong is the dramatic account of a small band of Special Forces soldiers who secretly entered Afghanistan following 9/11 and rode to war on horses against the Taliban. Outnumbered 40 to one, they pursued the enemy army across the mountainous Afghanistan terrain and, after a series of intense battles, captured the city of Mazar-i-Sharif. The bone-weary American soldiers were welcomed as liberators as they rode into the city. 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.

"A riveting story of the brave and resourceful American warriors who rode into Afghanistan after 9/11 and waged war against Al Qaeda" (Tom Brokaw), Doug Stanton's account 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. With "spellbinding...action packed prose...The book reads more like a novel than a military history...the Horse Soldier's secret mission remains the US military's finest moment in what has since arguably been a muddled war" (USA Today).

©2009 Reed City Productions; ©2009 Simon and Schuster, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"...a great read - a riveting story of the brave and resourceful American warriors who rode into Afghanistan after 9/11 and waged war against Al Qaeda. We're hearing many of these stories for the first time - and from those who waged a war worthy of Rudyard Kipling, James Bond, and Davy Crockett." (Tom Brokaw)

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Roy
  • Beaumont, TX, United States
  • 10-19-10

What an Abridgement Should Be

This is absolutely a keen account of what happens when US soldiers find themselves deployed in a unit dependent upon horse power (no pun intended). Journalist Doug Stanton tells the story of the first forces into Afghanistan, how they adapted, and their day-to-day sacrifice. It is a tale of those who laid-it-all-on-the-line to complete their mission. The writing, well it could be better. The story, however, will hit the listener between the eyes. This is not literature - so read it as a journalist's report and you will receive great benefit. Now about the format --- This is an abridged version of the book. Frankly, I find the abridgements available disjointed at best and cut-and-paste at worst. The abridgement of Horse Soldiers, however, was easy to listen to. The abridgement did not distract from the story. Enjoy.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kevin
  • Front Royal, VA, USA
  • 07-23-09

pretty good, but jumpy

It was a very interesting book, well told. I kept getting the feeling though, that I was missing something, perhaps due to the abridgement. The narration is good.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Keith
  • Rochester, MN, USA
  • 06-01-09

Great story...well told

This is an exciting tale of the first US Special Forces (US Army Rangers) into Afghanistan after 9/11, and working with CIA officers already in Afghanistan--including the American ultimately killed with the prison riot at Masar-i-Sharif. There is also a parallel story of John Walker Lindh, the young American fighting with the Taliban.

This book reads well as an ABRIDGED version; undoubtedly, an UNABRIDGED version would be preferable, but is not avaialable.

12 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Heroes All but....

A flawed book about great Americans. It read in varying time spans and locations making hard to follow. Try Worth Dying For and Lions of Kandahar if you are a SOF fan.

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The Ultimate Reality Adventure

Would you consider the audio edition of Horse Soldiers to be better than the print version?

I didn't read the print version but the audio retelling is spectacular. One can only imagine that this is the adventure of a lifetime for the soldiers in the story--those that survive. What else in their lives will ever give them a rush like this experience. You want to hear more adventures but are chasened by the knowledge that these adventures are truely real and cost lives.

What did you like best about this story?

The story was true to news accounts during that time thus we have more agreement with history than disagreement. That validates the story as told.

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

Horse Soldiers of 9/11

Any additional comments?

Most of us have adventures of our youth to remember but Horse Soldiers is certainly at a new level, a level most of us never get to These soldiers brought training, skills, heart, pain and perseverance to bear for their country--for us. This, is the real thing! Young people in search of advenure should read this book and think about whether they could, or even want to, perform at that level. That could help them with the decision, "what do I want to do when I grow up."

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  • Charles
  • 10-08-12

Horse soldiers

A great book. I really enjoyed it. It is amazing how high tech. can change a war and how to fight it. It was really a fast turn around as to just how quick we can react to war or an attack on our government. Great Book.

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Would you try another book from Doug Stanton and/or Dennis Boutsikaris?


Any additional comments?

I thought the book was excellent when I listened to it. It had been recommended by a friend who read it. I was disappointed to learn that I had listened to an abridged version. I usually stay away from abridged versions and just didn't notice it. If I had, I would have read it on my Kindle.

  • Overall

Horse Soldiers

This book is strong in its details and at moments you feel as if you are setting there and experiencing everything.

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  • Matthew
  • Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • 06-17-09

Extremely interesting

Not a lot of new facts or anything, but very interesting and well written.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful