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A riveting, action-filled account that sheds light on the realities of working in a war-torn country, this is the first book on the war in Iraq by a South African.
Johan Raath and a security team were escorting American engineers to a power plant south of Baghdad when they were ambushed. He had first arrived in Iraq only two weeks before. This was a small taste of what was to come over the next 13 years while he worked there as a private military contractor (PMC). His mission? Not to wage war but to protect lives. Raath acted as a bodyguard for VIPs and, more often, engineers who were involved in construction projects to rebuild the country after the 2003 war. His physical and mental endurance was tested to the limit in his efforts to safeguard construction sites that were regularly subjected to mortar and suicide attacks. Key to his survival was his training as a Special Forces operator, or Recce.
Working in places called the Triangle of Death and driving on the ‘Hell Run’, Raath had numerous hair-raising experiences. As a trained combat medic he also helped to save people’s lives after two suicide bomb attacks on sites he then worked at.
Night after night, he guided the U.S. Navy SEALs through Iraq's most dangerous regions. A translator operating under the code name "Johnny Walker," he risked his life on more than a thousand missions and became a legend in the U.S. special-ops community. But in the eyes of Iraq's terrorists and insurgents, he and his family were marked for death because he worked with the Americans. Fearing for Johnny's safety, the SEALs heroically took it upon themselves to bring him and his family to the United States. With inside details on SEAL operations and a deeply personal understanding of the tragic price paid by ordinary Iraqis, Code Name: Johnny Walker is a gripping and unforgettable true story that reveals a side of the war that has never been told before. Includes a new afterword on the rise of ISIS
Now a major motion picture directed by Clint Eastwood.
From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. His fellow American warriors, whom he protected with deadly precision from rooftops and stealth positions during the Iraq War, called him "The Legend"; meanwhile, the enemy feared him so much they named him al-Shaitan ("the devil") and placed a bounty on his head.
Kyle, who was tragically killed in 2013, writes honestly about the pain of war—including the deaths of two close SEAL teammates—and in moving first-person passages throughout, his wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their family, as well as on Chris. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle's masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.
Includes new material by Taya Kyle about the making of the American Sniper film.
Beginning by drawing parallels between the author's experiences at the British Embassy in Kabul from 2010 to 2013 and her grandfather's experiences of the same just after Indian Independence from 1948 to 1950, this book takes a thematic approach to analyse the role of Britain in Afghanistan since the conclusion of the Second World War. This examination uncovers a little-known story about how Britain's imperial withdrawal from Afghanistan in the late 1940s helped fuel the early Cold War, and why it has proved so difficult to 'rebuild' Afghanistan recently. At the heart of the book are the people and buildings of the former British Embassy, once a potent symbol of imperial might and now occupied by Pakistan to project its own regional ascendancy in the next chapter of Afghanistan's troubled story.
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'His masterpiece' Antony Beevor, Spectator 'A masterful performance' Sunday Times 'By far the best book on the Vietnam War' Gerald Degroot, The Times, Book of the Year Vietnam became the Western world's most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create an epic narrative of an epic struggle. He portrays the set pieces of Dienbienphu, the Tet offensive, the air blitz of North Vietnam, and less familiar battles such as the bloodbath at Daido, where a US Marine battalion was almost wiped out, together with extraordinary recollections of Ho Chi Minh's warriors. Here are the vivid realities of strife amid jungle and paddies that killed 2 million people. Many writers treat the war as a US tragedy, yet Hastings sees it as overwhelmingly that of the Vietnamese people, of whom forty died for every American. US blunders and atrocities were matched by those committed by their enemies. While all the world has seen the image of a screaming, naked girl seared by napalm, it forgets countless eviscerations, beheadings and murders carried out by the communists. The people of both former Vietnams paid a bitter price for the Northerners' victory in privation and oppression. Here is testimony from Vietcong guerrillas, Southern paratroopers, Saigon bargirls and Hanoi students alongside that of infantrymen from South Dakota, Marines from North Carolina, Huey pilots from Arkansas. No past volume has blended a political and military narrative of the entire conflict with heart-stopping personal experiences, in the fashion that Max Hastings' readers know so well. The author suggests that neither side deserved to win this struggle with so many lessons for the 21st century about the misuse of military might to confront intractable political and cultural challenges. He marshals testimony from warlords and peasants, statesmen and soldiers, to create an extraordinary record.
Winds, Waves, and Warriors examines the oceanographic conditions that U.S. military planners considered, or should have considered, when landing troops and vehicles on the beach at three historic amphibious assaults: Normandy, Tarawa, and Inchon. Oceanographer Thomas M. Mitchell brings welcome insight into a little-studied yet extraordinary aspect of ground warfare by explaining why certain tidal and weather conditions existed at those specific places and times, and how they affected the Army and Marine foot soldiers fighting to get ashore. Mitchell offers easy-to-understand descriptions of basic oceanographic concepts and applies them to actual amphibious operations. Winds and waves hampered the Allies' efforts on D-Day but less than they would have had the soldiers attempted storming the beach at Normandy the day before or after. Coral reefs and tides contributed to high Marine casualties at Tarawa Atoll in the Pacific. General Douglas MacArthur used the element of surprise by attacking the North Koreans at Inchon despite treacherous soft mud bottoms and unfavorable tidal conditions. Mitchell details how wartime necessity led to the development of clever methods to estimate such factors as water depth, beach slope, and underwater shoals, all of which affected troops' assaults and potentially changed the outcomes of key battles. An Army Air Corps lieutenant, for example, dug a hole on the beach at Normandy to help him predict tides more accurately. The Army's Beach Erosion Board and research groups such as the Scripps Institution of Oceanography exploited elementary principles of physical oceanography to develop crude but effective instruments and techniques for ocean remote sensing and forecasting. Indeed, soldiers, Marines, staff planners, commanders, oceanographers, meteorologists, and researchers all contributed to some of the largest and most important military invasions in history. Winds, Waves, and Warriors tells of the U.S. military's struggles with a foe that was sometimes just as formidable and unpredictable as the opposing army. When unheeded, unfavorable weather and ocean conditions could lead to tragic and avoidable deaths. The threat posed by the ocean at these three historic battles was an important factor not only in the outcomes of these operations but also to the survival of the troops who fought there.
The Vietnam War - a conflict defined by an ever-evolving mixture of conventional and guerrilla warfare and mass politics - has often been called a ""war without fronts."" In fact, Vietnam had a multitude of fronts, as insurgents and counterinsurgents wrestled for control throughout 44 provinces, 250 districts, and more than 11,000 hamlets. In The Control War, Martin G. Clemis focuses on South Vietnam, where a highly complex politico-military struggle fragmented the battlefield along countless divergent points of conflict as both sides sought spatial and political hegemony. Complicating the conventional view that the Vietnam War was about winning ""hearts and minds,"" Clemis argues that both sides were more interested in asserting control over the people - and resources - of the countryside. As in other revolutionary civil conflicts, the key to winning political power in South Vietnam was to control the physical world of territory, population, and resources, as well as the ideational world of political organization and long-term legitimacy. Despite their countervailing purposes, both insurgency and pacification provided the means to exert this control. Proponents of each approach pursued the same goals, relying on a blend of military force, political violence, and socioeconomic policy to achieve them. Revealing the unique spatiality of the Vietnam War, The Control War analyzes the ways that both sides of the conflict conceptualized and used geography and the environment to serve strategic, tactical, and political ends. Clemis shows us that the operational environment of Vietnam, both natural and human-made, was far more than a backdrop to two decades of war.
'A riveting, unvarnished and wholly unforgettable portrait of America's most storied commandos at war.' - Joby Warrick, author of Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction A stirringly evocative, thought-provoking, and often jaw-dropping account of SEAL Team Operator Robert O'Neill's awe-inspiring 400-mission career. O'Neill describes his idyllic childhood in Butte, Montana; his impulsive decision to join the SEALs; the arduous evaluation and training process; and the even tougher gauntlet he had to run to join the SEALs' most elite unit. The Operatordescribes the nonstop action of O'Neill's deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, evoking the black humor of years-long combat, and reveals firsthand details of the most discussed anti-terrorist operation in military history.
The Prisoner in His Palace is an evocative and thought-provoking account of how the lives of twelve young American soldiers deployed to Iraq are upended when they're asked to guard the most 'high-value detainee' of all, the notorious dictator Saddam Hussein. What the self-dubbed 'Super Twelve' experience in the autumn of 2006 is cognitive dissonance at its most extreme. Expecting to engage with the enemy 'outside the wire', they're suddenly tasked with guarding and protecting a notorious dictator until he can be hanged. Watching over Saddam in a former palace the soldiers dub 'The Rock' and regularly transporting their prisoner to his raucous trial, they gradually begin to question some of their firmest beliefs. Rather than the snarling beast they expect, Saddam proves confoundingly complex - voluble, charming and given to surprising displays of affection. Perhaps most shockingly, in his Spartan stoicism and the courage he shows in facing death he eventually becomes a role model. Employing a timeline that switches between present and past, The Prisoner in His Palace contrasts the man entrusted to the Super Twelve's care - a grandfatherly figure who proves 'good company' - with a younger version of Saddam who is unspeakably ruthless, views murder and torture as legitimate tools and constantly keeps those around him in a blind panic. The magic of this book is that Bardenwerper keeps us on edge even though we know how it will end. We immediately sense that the Super Twelve will be forever changed by their experience, and we wonder if we ourselves will. In this artfully constructed narrative, Saddam, the 'man without a conscience', manages to get everyone around him to examine theirs.
Half-Hispanic, half-Yaqui Indian, and an orphan, Roy Benavidez fought his way out of poverty and bigotry to serve with the U.S. Army s elite the Airborne and the Special Forces. Seriously wounded in Vietnam, he was told he would never walk again. Benavidez not only conquered his disability but demanded to return to combat.On his second tour, when twelve of his comrades on a secret CIA mission in Cambodia were surrounded by hundreds of North Vietnamese regulars, Benavidez volunteered to rescue them. Despite severe injuries suffered in hand-to-hand combat, Benavidez personally saved eight men. His actions ensured his everlasting place as one of the great heroes of the war. In February 1981, President Reagan awarded him the Medal of Honor.
Ed Macy is an elite pilot, one of the few men qualified to fly Apache helicopters, the world's deadliest fighting machines. This is his account of a fearless mission behind enemy lines in Afghanistan. After a brutal accident forced him out of the Paras, Ed Macy refused to go down quietly. He bent every rule to sign up for the Army's gruelling Apache helicopter programme and was one of the handful to pass the nightmare selection process. Dispatched to Afghanistan's notorious Helmand Province in 2006, his squadron were on hand when a marine went MIA behind enemy lines - and they knew they were his only hope. From the cockpit of the mighty Apache helicopter comes this incredible true story of a rescue mission so dangerous they said it couldn't be done, and of the man who dared to disagree.
For members of U.S. Army's ""Task Force Faith"" and the First Marine Division, the Battle of Chosin Reservoir is an epic story of survival, courage, and ingenuity. Their exploits are well known - woven into the storied histories of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. Now, for the first time, Attack at Chosin recounts this battle from the Chinese perspective, describing the advance that forced General MacArthur to reorient his strategy, which not only marked a turning point in the Korean War but impacted events in Asia in ways that still resonate today. The Battle of Chosin Reservoir, as the Chinese commanders foretold, determined the fate and length of the Korean War. Author Xiaobing Li describes the fighting that began on November 27, 1950, when 150,000 soldiers from the Chinese Ninth Army Group attacked the First Marines and elements of the 7th Infantry Division in the remote mountains of North Korea. It was a calculated attempt to repel MacArthur's ""home-by-Christmas"" offensive and to deter UN forces from further advances toward the Chinese border. The fierce fighting that followed, combined with the bitter cold, made Chosin one of the deadliest battles of the war. By December 17, after suffering more than 40,000 casualties and failing to achieve their campaign objectives to destroy the American divisions, the Ninth Army Group was forced to withdraw. One day later, on December 18, 1950, the remaining survivors were recalled to China. As the first book to explore the role of command and control, technology, and combat effectiveness from the point of view of the Chinese, and to examine cooperation and friction between Beijing and Pyongyang, Attack at Chosin sheds new light on the ultimate military success of the UN forces during the Korean conflict. Li also provides invaluable insights into Chinese military doctrine, strategy, and tactics that continue to influence foreign policy and American military institutions today.
The Struggle for Iraq is a vivid personal account of the Iraqi people's fight for democracy and justice by an American political scientist. Thomas M. Renahan arrived in southern Iraq just three days before the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003; later he worked in Baghdad through the dark days of the country's sectarian violence and then in Iraqi Kurdistan. One of the few Americans to serve in all three major regions of Iraq, he spearheaded projects to develop democratic institutions, promote democracy and elections, and fight corruption. With inside accounts of two USAID projects and of a Kurdish government ministry, this engrossing and cautionary story highlights efforts to turn Baathist Iraq into a democratic country. Renahan examines the challenges faced by the Iraqi people and international development staff during this turbulent time, revealing both their successes and frustrations. Drawing on his on-the-ground civilian perspective, Renahan recounts how expatriate staff handled the hardships and dangers as well as the elaborate security required to protect them, how Iraqi staff coped with the personal security risks of working for Coalition organizations, and the street-level mayhem and violence, including the assassinations of close Iraqi friends. Although Iraq remains in crisis, it has largely defeated the ISIS terrorists who seized much of the country in 2014. Renahan emphasizes, however, that reconciliation is still the end game in Iraq. In the concluding chapters he explains how the United States can support this process and help resolve the complex problems between the Iraqi government and the independence-minded Kurds, offering hope for the future.
The Horse Soldiers is the true, dramatic account of a small band of Special Forces soldiers who entered Afghanistan immediately following September 11, 2001 and, riding to war on horses, defeated the Taliban. Heavily outnumbered, they nonetheless succeed in capturing the strategic Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif, where they are welcomed as liberators as they ride on horseback into the city, the streets thronged with Afghans overjoyed that the Taliban have been kicked out. The soldiers rest easy, as they feel they have accomplished their mission. Then the action takes a wholly unexpected turn. During a surrender of Taliban troops, the Horse Soldiers are ambushed by the would-be P.O.W.s and, still dangerously outnumbered, they must fight for their lives in the city's ancient fortress known as Qala-I Janghi, or the House of War...
Deep in the jungles of Vietnam, Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry, the famed Blackhorse Regiment, was a specialized cavalry outfit equipped with tanks and armored assault vehicles. On the morning of March 26, 1970, they began hearing radio calls from an infantry unit four kilometres away that had stumbled into a hidden North Vietnamese Army stronghold. Outnumbered at least six to one, the ninety-man American company was quickly surrounded, pinned down, and fighting for its existence. Helicopters could not penetrate the dense jungle, and artillery and air support could not be targeted effectively. Captain John Poindexter, Alpha Troop's twenty-five-year-old commander, realized that his outfit was the only hope for the trapped company. It just might be possible that they could "bust" enough jungle by nightfall to reach them. With the courage and determination that makes legends out of ordinary men, they affected a daring rescue and fought a pitched battle - at considerable cost. Thirty years later, Poindexter was made aware that his award recommendations, and even the records of the battle, had somehow gone missing. Thus began a "battle" to ensure that his brave men's accomplishments would never be forgotten again. President Obama stepped to the podium on October 20, 2009, to award Alpha Troop with the Presidential Unit Citation: the highest combat award that can be given to a military unit.
Since the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, the challenges of sectarianism and militarism have weighed heavily on the women of Iraq. In this book, Zahra Ali foregrounds a wide-range of interviews with a variety of women involved in women's rights activism, showing how everyday life and intellectual life has developed since the US-led invasion. In addition to this, Ali offers detailed historical research of social, economic and political contexts since the formation of the Iraqi state in the 1920s. Through a transnational and postcolonial feminist approach, this book also considers the ways in which gender norms and practices, Iraqi feminist discourses, and activisms are shaped and developed through state politics, competing nationalisms, religious, tribal and sectarian dynamics, wars, and economic sanctions. The result is a vivid account of the everyday life in today's Iraq and an exceptional analysis of the future of Iraqi feminisms.
Vietnam became the Western world’s most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create an epic narrative of an epic struggle. He portrays the set pieces of Dienbienphu, the Tet offensive, the air blitz of North Vietnam, and less familiar battles such as the bloodbath at Daido, where a US Marine battalion was almost wiped out, together with extraordinary recollections of Ho Chi Minh’s warriors. Here are the vivid realities of strife amid jungle and paddies that killed 2 million people.
Many writers treat the war as a US tragedy, yet Hastings sees it as overwhelmingly that of the Vietnamese people, of whom forty died for every American. US blunders and atrocities were matched by those committed by their enemies. While all the world has seen the image of a screaming, naked girl seared by napalm, it forgets countless eviscerations, beheadings and murders carried out by the communists. The people of both former Vietnams paid a bitter price for the Northerners’ victory in privation and oppression. Here is testimony from Vietcong guerrillas, Southern paratroopers, Saigon bargirls and Hanoi students alongside that of infantrymen from South Dakota, Marines from North Carolina, Huey pilots from Arkansas.
No past volume has blended a political and military narrative of the entire conflict with heart-stopping personal experiences, in the fashion that Max Hastings’ readers know so well. The author suggests that neither side deserved to win this struggle with so many lessons for the 21st century about the misuse of military might to confront intractable political and cultural challenges. He marshals testimony from warlords and peasants, statesmen and soldiers, to create an extraordinary record.
From the author of The Perfect Storm, a gripping book about Sebastian Junger's almost fatal year with the 2nd battalion of the American Army. For 15 months, Sebastian Junger accompanied a single platoon of thirty men from the celebrated 2nd battalion of the U.S. Army, as they fought their way through a remote valley in Eastern Afghanistan. Over the course of five trips, Junger was in more firefights than he could count, men he knew were killed or wounded, and he himself was almost killed. His relationship with these soldiers grew so close that they considered him part of the platoon, and he enjoyed an access and a candidness that few, if any, journalists ever attain. But this is more than just a book about Afghanistan or the 'War on Terror'; it is a book about the universal truth of all men, in all wars. Junger set out to answer what he thought of as the 'hand grenade question': why would a man throw himself on a hand grenade to save other men he has probably known for only a few months? The answer is elusive but profound, and goes to the heart of what it means not just to be a soldier, but to be human. 'War' is a narrative about combat: the fear of dying, the trauma of killing and the love between platoon-mates who would rather die than let each other down. Gripping, honest, intense, it explores the neurological, psychological and social elements of combat, and the incredible bonds that form between these small groups of men.
The aircraft carrier USS Forrestal was preparing to launch attacks into North Vietnam when one of its jets accidentally fired a rocket into an aircraft occupied by pilot John McCain. A huge fire ensued, and McCain barely escaped before a 1,000-pound bomb on his plane exploded, causing a chain reaction with other bombs on surrounding planes. The crew struggled for days to extinguish the fires, but, in the end, the tragedy took the lives of 134 men. For thirty-five years, the terrible loss of life has been blamed on the sailors themselves, but this meticulously documented history shows that they were truly the victims and heroes.
Not Even My Name is a rare eyewitness account of the horrors of a little-known, often denied genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of Armenian and Pontic Greek minorities in Turkey were killed during and after World War I. As told by Sano Halo to her daughter, Thea, this is the story of her survival of the death march at age ten that annihilated her family, and the mother-daughter pilgrimage to Turkey in search of Sano's home seventy years after her exile. Sano, a Pontic Greek from a small village near the Black Sea, also recounts the end of her ancient, pastoral way of life in the Pontic Mountains.
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