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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

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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 of 4 people found this review helpful

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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 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • Saint Charles, MO, United States
  • 11-13-14

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 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen
  • United States
  • 10-11-14

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 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Lest you forget the cost of war...

Great book. A tale of incredible loss, tenacity, and brotherhood amid an uncertain political climate and an even murkier strategy.

Porter does an autstanding job narrating, adding emphasis and recounting accents with verve.

West does a phenomenal job recounting 3d Plt's story. Drawing upon his experience as a Marine Lieutenant in Vietnam, he puts their story in perspective, all the while not robbing them of their well-earned place in World History. As a platoon commander myself, I am easily able to relate to the discussions in this book.

A tale of incredible loss exists within these pages. If you are reading this searching for leadership lessons, there are a few, but the biggest take-away is the price of warfare that is all too easily forgotten.

All Marine infantry unit leaders should read this book.

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Wow!

I couldn't stop listening. You are warriors 3/5. I'd like to hear more about 3/5 in Sangin

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The very best narration I've ever listened to.

Great story with very best narration I've ever listens to. Captivating and honest. Semper Fi.

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Touching

I served with 1st Battalion 5th Marines Bravo Co. 1st platoon. And we replaced this Battalion and I was at PbFires. This book brings back a lot of memories, some of which I have forgotten. I recommend this book so our story and what we been through can be heard. ... All gave some, some gave all.

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Great Book

Great Book about brave men! If only they were allow to fight to win like in WWII. The REO need to change