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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 Doug Stanton (P)2011 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

“A fascinating account…This is not just a battle story - it’s also about the home front. An important book.” ( The Today Show)
“A thrilling action ride of a book.” (Bruce Barcott, cover of The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Book! But the narrator...

What did you love best about Horse Soldiers?

Fantastic Story! Great read, check it out.

What about Jack Garrett’s performance did you like?

I hated Jack Garretts performance. He sounded like he belongs in a Michael Bay movie. His attempt at a gritty dramatic dialog reminded me of the most cliche 80's action drama. It was so stupid it actually detracted from the story; which is a bummer since the story is very well written.

Any additional comments?

I hope Jack Garrett gets trampled by the the wildebeest with strep throat that he was trying to sound like.

30 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Terrible Narrator

I really looked forward to this book. I had wanted to pick it up in hardback, but found it here on audible and had credit. I regret downloading it because Jack Garrett did a terrible job reading . He plays it up like he's narrating some overly dramatic film trailer, which ruins the book. The story speaks for itself; just read like a normal human being.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Detailed and exciting initial push into Afghanista

If you could sum up Horse Soldiers in three words, what would they be?

Detailed, riveting, and exciting

What was one of the most memorable moments of Horse Soldiers?

SF and CIA agents being blown up by their own ordinance and surviving the blast that threw them more than 60 yards from their original position.

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

Great emphasis in just the right spots of the story that make you feel as if you really know the people and their families.

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

When the flintstones met the Jetsons.

Any additional comments?

Really terrific and detailed account of the initial surge into Afghanistan. The topic is very politically charged and the book is not overbearing in one political view or another. The acts of heroism on the battlefield are incredible and a testament to what these organizations can do with just a little support.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • NOKWISA
  • Garland, Texas, United States
  • 02-12-13

Wild Ride

I can not even imagin riding those mountain trails and then into battle. I thought this book was very well written and well read. Today when we think of Cavalry it's usually 1st Air Cav sweeping in to save the day not men on actual horses. Warfare on a horse seems like it would be something those who put together this engagement would have to go back a 150 years or so and relearn. It was a good thing in this book to see the modern American Soldier and a Afgan man and his horses come together for a common purpose. I thank Mr. Stanton for doing this book otherwise these men and their story might have been lost to us. I was not familiar with this narrator but I thought he did a great read and I would enjoy hearing more from him.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lynn
  • Montgomery, IN, United States
  • 10-28-16

Life changing

My heart goes out every time to the boys that have fought to keep our country free....at any cost and thank you to these brave horseman who willing answered the call. If you want to know anything about who has helped to make this country great.....don't hesitate to read this book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome story - dulled by the writing.

This is an awesome story of the courage, determination, and humanity of the U.S. Special Operations. If you take nothing more from this review, then know this is an amazing story.

Unfortunately, the author's writing style of bouncing between the teams and back-and-forth to their pre-deployment life was difficult for me to follow. There were so many characters that I found myself asking, "Wait. Was that the same guy as...?" As a result, there were portions to which I had to listen and re-listen only to become confused again two or three chapters later. This made it difficult (for me) to form any emotional connection with the characters. Without that connection, the book was a disappointment.

As for the narrator, with so many characters and with so few spoken words, there is very little voice acting to be performed. The book is written as a simple narration. In my oponion, the narrator neither added to nor took away from my enjoyment of the book. The narration is a reflection of the writing. The writing is dull, therefore the narration is dull.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A story with many branches

I overall really liked the book. It's an interesting tale of the first months of Americas war in Afghanistan, with a very interesting point with regards to why this part of the conflict was so successful.
That being said, I often struggled with names and places until the last few chapters or so. We're being introduced to many soldiers, who visit multiple locations, in different combinations. As the action takes place simultaneously, the author tries to juggle all of these without too much luck. This impacted my overall understanding of events and I found myself loosing focus. It didn't help that a shift in place or perspective often takes place in the middle of a chapter without any explicit notice - or that the author sometimes will use a person's first name and at other times his last.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Smooth Read.

Been a fun read after watching 12 STRONG, a lot more info on military history.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing

Great book. What these men went through is amazing. I can't imagine what America would be like without men like this

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Riveting story!

I was reminded through this story of Lawrence of Arabia. The strategy and tactic utilized by the SF in this military conflict is almost a mirror image of how Lawrence worked with the Arabs in WW1 to defeat the Ottoman Empire in the Arabian Peninsula. Every bit the rousing adventure of real men overcoming impossible odds through their teamwork and indomitable character.
The narration of the story was a bit annoying at the start, but action of the story, for me, completely blotted out any lack in the narration within the first couple of chapters.

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Profile Image for Chaoslu
  • Chaoslu
  • 03-15-18

Not quit as interesting as I had hoped.

I had hoped for a interesting re telling of the events after 9.11. but fund my self not very engaged in the story. The story line jumps between characters and within the timeline which can be confusing. I found myself not focusing on the story frequently. I would say the the story would have benefitted from beeing condensed and more focused. maybe cutting the first hours and alot of the what is happening back home parts. a order timeline would have helped too. Also if you dont want to hear a very very American tale of heroism you should give this a pass.

I am not saying this is a bad book, I do not regret buying it. but I would definitely call it flawed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-16-18

Way too much filler!!!!

if you want to know what the active soldiers wife had for breakfast the day before he travelled abroad, then this is the book for you. if you want a clear insightful story with details and facts then stay clear. i got so tired of waiting for the story to start i returned it before getting there. the narrator sounds like Zap Brannigan from Futurama and added nothing to the story.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Thomas Tobias Dinsen Hove
  • Thomas Tobias Dinsen Hove
  • 03-19-18

Good story but better suited for page

Good story but there are a lot of moving parts and people that are difficult to keep track of. Needs several listens in order to get the most out of it.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rose
  • Rose
  • 03-14-18

Am I really still awake?

I’ve barely read anything of this book just now and yet already I feel I can review it in safety but that’s because it is so tedious and yet interesting in its way. Let me elaborate just a little. It is mind numbingly detailed to the point of tedious which some people might like. It seems to me though that doug Stanton has watched too many drama documenntaries and he’s going in to far too much backstory and boring stuff of no interest to anyone just for padding. Who, after all, unless you are in to such things say, a pilot or engineer, wants to be bothered to hear about video screens or have the proverbial spoon rammed down your proverbial throat with such detail in other words being spoon fed the absolute obvious or boring? Anyway that’s this book, I hate it and yet, I want to learn more of the history of what happened with these men and so I must endure. I hope somebody else has better joy with this than I will. Often the details are repeated time and again and the narator doesn’t help with his bored tired voice. See, even he’s bored out of his mind and he’s being paid to record this.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mr. Alan R. Jenkins
  • Mr. Alan R. Jenkins
  • 03-11-18

superb story of gallant men

excellent story (probably nothing like the planned film) with outstanding descriptions of the efforts of 12 men and their cooperation with afghan groups fighting in Afghanistan. Heroism is not enough to describe the daily strain these men endured ahead of main operations by US forces. Detailed and explicit, and intriguing from start to finish. Highly recommended

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Martin Ehrensvard
  • Martin Ehrensvard
  • 02-22-18

Very interesting, but too many details

Very interesting general story, but I was quite bored at times with the endless details

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Matt
  • Matt
  • 02-19-16

A should listen, to win does not mean to conquer

In modern conflict, our choice must be to enable those that we believe in our hearts should win, to win.

This group of individuals exemplifies this sentiment and deserve to be admired and supported for their personal sacrifice.

When policy is decided, someone needs to make it happen.

I Thank you all.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-13-13

Horse Soldiers - Amazing!

This was a fantastic read - well written and with complete empathy for the main characters. The author captured the essence of these incredibly able and brave men and accurately showed their intelligence which often one assumes is not high in the military lexicon - but for Special Forces personnel and the missions they undertook, intelligence is a pre-requisite in addition to the awesome physical endurance

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jamie
  • Jamie
  • 01-17-13

Thrilling stuff

Takes it's time to get going but once it does its very exciting. I was very keen to hear the story behind the famous pictures of the guys on horseback and this book relates it in good detail in a very engaging way.