Black Hearts

One Platoon's Descent into Madness in Iraq's Triangle of Death
Narrated by: Corey Snow
Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (783 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This is the story of a small group of soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division's fabled 502nd Infantry Regiment - a unit known as the Black Heart Brigade. Deployed in late 2005 to Iraq's so-called Triangle of Death, a veritable meat grinder just south of Baghdad, the Black Hearts found themselves in arguably the country's most dangerous location at its most dangerous time. Hit by near-daily mortars, gunfire, and roadside bomb attacks, suffering from a particularly heavy death toll, and enduring a chronic breakdown in leadership, members of one Black Heart platoon - 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion - descended, over their year-long tour of duty, into a tailspin of poor discipline, substance abuse, and brutality.

Four 1st Platoon soldiers would perpetrate one of the most heinous war crimes U.S. forces have committed during the Iraq War - the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the cold-blooded execution of her and her family. Three other 1st Platoon soldiers would be overrun at a remote outpost - one killed immediately and two taken from the scene, their mutilated corpses found days later booby-trapped with explosives.

Black Hearts is an unflinching account of the epic, tragic deployment of 1st Platoon. Drawing on hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews with Black Heart soldiers and first-hand reporting from the Triangle of Death, Black Hearts is a timeless story about men in combat and the fragility of character in the savage crucible of warfare. But it is also a timely warning of new dangers emerging in the way American soldiers are led on the battlefields of the 21st century.

©2010 Jim Frederick (P)2013 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Harrowing account of the atmospherics, commission and aftermath of a war crime.... A riveting picture of life outside the wire in Iraq, where '[y]ou tell a guy to go across a bridge, and within five minutes he's dead." ( Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

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  • Overall
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Sadness

In a word, this piece of history deeply saddens my heart. It angers me the Green took his own life. However, I welcome the idea that God will punish him for his actions and in that I find content. This is an incredible story and solidified how messed up the Army is and the type of leadership it fosters. As a Marine, I know we are also not exempt from such horrible acts, but I can’t help but think of how many tools we are given and the standard we hold ourselves to lessons the chances of this sort of event from occurring. In the end, the horrible and tragic event of this book rests on the shoulders of the four weak men who do not deserve any title as a Warrior or Soldier. With that said, the Bn, and Co leadership failed these men by allowing the environment to fall into decent with toxic and an intolerant environment. I find two other things very disgusting besides the focus of this book. One, I cannot believe the Army Promoted the Bn CO to Colonel. This man should have been fired and forced to retire. He is garbage and by no means a leader! The second, is the fact the jury did not give him the death penalty. My conclusion is not based on emotion. All four should have been executed for their actions. They stole and destroyed the lives of more than just four people that day. Green got off easy. His suicide shows how weak he really was. I hope to see him in hell! Short of that, this book is well written and narrated. Often times, the writing took me back to my 2003 and 2004 deployments to Iraq. To the author, thank you for telling throw story. Thank you for showing the toxic environment created by very shitty men and what they call leadership. There were very good leaders discussed in this book who did the best they could with what they were allowed to do, and the tools given. Col Kunk and SgtMaj Edwards were also villains in this story. Semper Fi!

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Real military life

This book does a great job of outlining how one man with a lot of power can ruin the lives of so many. The lower enlisted will always be a scape goat for those higher up and even though each man is responsible for their own actions, it could have all been avoided by firing the man at the head of the snake

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Looking for more

Started slow for me, but sucked me in and kept me wanting more. I had to read/ Listen to this for professional development. I was reluctant at first, but soon the story kept me interested

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excellent book

it grabs you and keeps you entertained. highly recommended as a book to listen to on the way to work or school.

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Raw and eye opening

I recommend this to all levels of leadership in the military. Heartbreaking story of the rigors of war and the toll it takes on men.

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This is my current unit

1-502IN this is great information 2BCT 101st (aaslt) Strike, first strike, Air Assault. I was in a similar situation 3-21IN 1-25SBCT 2011-2012

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Great Book Overall and a mustfor Aspiring Leaders

The book an in Depth analysis of the war in Iraq and the consequences of poor planning, execution, and follow up. This book is a must for any aspiring Leader and especially aspiring Armed Forces Candidates.

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outstanding.10/10

this was well written and narrated. I recommend it so so many people. thank you

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When war goes wrong

An amazing story told in depth about the real-life tragedy of the black heart platoon.... where members raped and killed an Afghan family. It starts off slow and very detailed about little things that seemed inconsequential..... but turn out to be key factors in the end. It took a while for the book to grab my attention, but once it did..... it really did! Highly recommend!

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Excellent book on leadership and war.

Classic example of a failure in leadership. God bless the men of B Company. They deserved better leadership and support.