One Million Steps

A Marine Platoon at War
By: Bing West
Narrated by: Ray Porter
Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: History, Military
4.5 out of 5 stars (427 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Battalion 3/5 suffered the highest number of casualties in the war in Afghanistan. This is the story of one platoon in that distinguished battalion.

Aware of U.S. plans to withdraw from the country, knowing their efforts were only a footprint in the sand, the fifty Marines of 3rd Platoon fought in Sangin, the most dangerous district in all of Afghanistan. So heavy were the casualties that the Secretary of Defense offered to pull the Marines out. Instead, they pushed forward. Each Marine in 3rd Platoon patrolled two and a half miles a day for six months - a total of One Million Stepsin search of a ghostlike enemy that struck without warning. Why did the Marines attack and attack, day after day?

Every day brought a new skirmish. Each footfall might trigger an IED. Half the Marines in 3rd Platoon didn’t make it intact to the end of the tour. One Million Steps is the story of the fifty brave men who faced these grim odds and refused to back down. Based on Bing West’s embeds with 3rd Platoon, as well as on their handwritten log, this is a gripping grunt’s-eye view of life on the front lines of America’s longest war. Writing with a combat veteran’s compassion for the fallen, West also offers a damning critique of the higher-ups who expected our warriors to act as nation-builders - and whose failed strategy put American lives at unnecessary risk.

Each time a leader was struck down, another rose up to take his place. How does one man instill courage in another? What welded these men together as firmly as steel plates?

This remarkable book is the story of warriors caught between a maddening, unrealistic strategy and their unswerving commitment to the fight. Fearsome, inspiring, and poignant in its telling, One Million Steps is sure to become a classic, a unique and enduring testament to the American warrior spirit.

©2014 Bing West (P)2014 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"One Million Steps should be mandatory reading for every citizen who wants to understand the reality of the war we are in with those who would destroy our civilization and kill us. It is a stunning, sobering, and brilliantly written book. Every presidential candidate should read it and then meet with Bing West. It is a first step to rethinking the thirteen years of strategic failure we have been engaged in." (Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives and author of A Nation Like No Other: Why American Exceptionalism Matters)
"One Million Steps transcends combat narrative: It is an epic of contemporary small-unit combat that in austere prose depicts the old fighting virtues of selflessness, skill, and perseverance. It is, at the same time, a stinging indictment of our strategy in Afghanistan that inspires reflection on wars upon which we have closed one chapter, but not, in all probability, the book." (Eliot A. Cohen, author of Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime)
"Bing West has created another masterpiece of war reporting. His first, The Village, was his personal account of leading a Marine rifle platoon in Vietnam. Now he has done it again. If you want a firsthand account of small-unit infantry combat, this book is it, and few others will ever top it." (Colonel Gian Gentile, U.S. Army (retired), author of Wrong Turn: America’s Deadly Embrace of Counterinsurgency)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    318
  • 4 Stars
    81
  • 3 Stars
    22
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    295
  • 4 Stars
    79
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    302
  • 4 Stars
    69
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Humbling

This is one of the best books I have ever read. You get to see what drives our brave men and women and you will be in awe of their heroic service. Highly recommend!

4 people found this helpful

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

Excellent

There is a documentary out about this very book and watching combined with reading really telegraphs the experiences well and unlike most imbedded journalist books this one stands out as a true story of a battle on the front lines and isn't focused on the journalist but rather the soldiers in the field and they're tactics and experiences

2 people found this helpful

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

To Remember Is To Honor

This is a true story of the life of Marines living and fighting a tactical battle in a very dangerous part of Afghanistan in the closing days of the US presence there, and includes the fecklessness of America's leadership in the high ranks of both military and political.

The narrator does a great job. He reads in tones that are very appropriate to the scenes of the story. I would listen to him again.

The story was riveting, and the proverbial page turner. My heart cried out many times with sorrow, indignation, and anger. I think this is one of the truest retelling of the events surrounding this conflict, a conflict I deem as lost. The conflict was lost not because of the fighters but because of the leadership and their lack of a true goal.

You get a a thorough understanding of individual Marines. You engage in their thoughts, their hardships, their courage, and their honor despite the knowledge that the overall strategy, goals, and ROE of the conflict were well past FUBAR. These were normal men that became Marines as the Marines before them were, and you get to see this transformation.

I served in the Army during peace time. I never feared anything more than having to clean my vehicle after field training. This leaves me with a bit of shame as I know I was something less of a soldier than the men that fight. My son asked me once when he was young why I watched war movies, and read war book. He thought I had a blood thirst. The truth of the matter is that I want to feel or understand how much I owe to our warriors. I want to understand what they went/go through.

Our warriors are different Americans but simply Americans. Today the ranks are filled with volunteers that know they may go to a place that can kill or maim them. These volunteers are young, smart, and tough. To read this is to honor them. To read this is to remember why you should help the ones that come home wounded physically or mentally, and those unable to find work. To read this book will help you to remember that you and your family have such a cushy life because the world know that if they mess with the US our warriors will come to 'Get Some'.

I recommend this book to all.

The political views of the author concerning this conflict is that both presidents and all high level military leadership failed.

2 people found this helpful

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

Stunning look at Afghanistan and the Marine Corps

Where does One Million Steps rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

For non-fiction it's absolutely in the top three.

What did you like best about this story?

Like is a hard word to use. It's a hard story, which clearly points out how military "leaders" in Washington fubar-ed the troops with boots on the ground. I was deeply moved by the stories of the individual Marines, their heroism, bravery and loyalty to each other.

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

Yes. Ray Porter is an audio god. If he reads a book, I listen. He is, in my opinion, the finest voice in audiobooks.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It certainly gave me a lot to think about.

Any additional comments?

This is a stunning book. Read it, prepared to be both disgusted by our government and proud to the point of tears for all the members of the United States Marine Corps.

2 people found this helpful

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

Ray porter plus war memoir equals awesome

Another of my favorites lots of action but expertly written from both a frontline and macro-geopolitical perspective. Oh and Ray Porter is hands down the best actor-narrator-voice on Audible.

1 person found this helpful

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

Thank God for the Marines !!!!!!

And we thought we would never fight another limited war. How wrong we were. It just goes to show that our Marines fight no matter what
It shows that even top brass cant make up there mind to win. And that the guy's who fight die and lose limbs have a better understanding of how to win a war than the people they take orders from.

1 person found this helpful

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

Great book, and I’m no book person.

I’m not the type of person to read or even listen to a book. But I loved this one a ton.

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

Great story to tell

Fantastic depiction and unbelievable courage and valor of are great Marines do yourself a favor and listen to this story of hero’s

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

Excellent platoon level look at small unit combat operations

As a former Tank and Scout Platoon Leader in Iraq from 2003-2004 and then serving as an advisor to the Marines and NATO in Helmand in 2010, I thought this book did an excellent job describing the fight at the platoon level. It wasn’t an action book (too many idiot “war hero” books with play by play descriptions meant to fatten the pages out there these days), but an intelligently written look at the situation those young Marines were in at the time and the political goat rodeo they were forced to participate in. I enjoyed the story, the narrator was excellent, and feel it was worth the listen. I would recommend it to others with an interest in the topic.

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

USMC "Grunt" reality in Afghanistan

This is a brutally honest presentation of what happened to the military who conducted the fight in Sangin. The torturous experiences of the Marine infantry, who labored under US political imperatives rather than wartime logic, is mind boggling. And these orders were supported by some senior military, including Marines, who sometimes told one story to the civilian population in the US and a different one to the Grunts. To undertake objectives with idiotic constraints (you can't fire unless fired upon, etc.) almost makes you believe that civilian authority over the military should be abolished, It's a sobering book but one that makes you proud of those who served and certainly those who came home maimed or died before getting here.