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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.
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.
'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 year is 1970; the war in Vietnam is five years from over. The women's movement is newly resurgent, and feminists are summarily reviled as "libbers." Inette Miller is one year out of college-a reporter for a small-town newspaper. Her boyfriend gets drafted and is issued orders to Vietnam. Within their few remaining days together, Inette marries her US Army private, determined to accompany him to war. There are obstacles. All wives of US military are prohibited in country. With the aid of her newspaper's editor, Miller finagles a one-month work visa and becomes a war reporter. Her newspaper cannot afford life insurance beyond that. After thirty days, she is on her own. As one of the rare woman war correspondents in Vietnam and the only one also married to an Army soldier, Miller's experience was pathbreaking. Girls Don't shines a light on the conflicting motives that drive an ambitious woman of that era and illustrates the schizophrenic struggle between the forces of powerful feminist ideology and the contrarian forces of the world as it was. Girls Don't is the story of what happens when a twenty-three-year-old feminist makes her way into the land of machismo. This is a war story, a love story, and an open-hearted confessional within the burgeoning women's movement, chronicling its demands and its rewards.
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.
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.
All 60,000 words of the key findings of the British government's inquiry into the 2003 Iraq War in an affordable paperback book. Deals with Tony Blair's handling of Parliament, intelligence about weapons of mass destruction, and the reconstruction of Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Published under Open Government Licence.
A tale of survival, love, hardship, family, heartbreak and triumph. This is the incredible story of 89-year-old Chelsea Pensioner Sergeant Major Colin Thackery who, in 2019, made history by becoming the oldest person to win Britain's Got Talent. The show gave a glimpse into Colin's history, but the truth of his unique and eventful life is far more gripping and surprising than viewers could have imagined. Enthralling, poignant and inspiring, this book tells Colin's story, from being a child helping Air Raid Wardens during The Blitz, through fighting in the Korean War, touring the world with the army, becoming a widower after 66 years of marriage, life as a Chelsea Pensioner and touching the nation's hearts with his show-winning singing in honour of his late wife, Joan. Ultimately, Colin's story is a tale of triumph: of resilience in the hardest of times; of hope in the face of despair; and of everlasting love.
In 1965, Gene Basset, a well-known political cartoonist, was sent to Vietnam by his newspaper publishing syndicate. His assignment: to sketch scenes of the increasingly controversial war in order to help the newspaper-reading public better understand the events occurring in Southeast Asia. In much the same way that M.A.S.H. gave viewers an irreverent, wry view of war and its devastating effects on citizens as well as soldiers, Basset's sketches portray the everyday, often mundane, aspects of wartime with an intimate touch that eases access to the dark subject matter. In this affectionately curated collection, author, doctor, and longtime friend of the artist, Thom Rooke, deftly leads us through more than eighty of Basset's cartoons, organizing his insights according to the well-known stages of grief, from denial to acceptance, and demonstrating how Basset's images convey moments of trauma, coping, and healing. From scenes of American GIs haggling with Vietnamese street vendors to a medic dressing the wounds of a wide-eyed soldier, Basset's endearing sketches and Rooke's friendly prose humanize life during wartime. The seriocomic vignettes and analyses are delivered with wit, compassion, and subtle charm sure to please academic, artistic, and casual readers alike.
In 1963, the U.S. Army began developing the 1st Calvary Division for jungle fighting in Vietnam. It would be the first division fully dependent on helicopters for assault and support. During the 1968 Tet Offensive, Ed Corlew served as a crew chief and door gunner aboard a CH-47 "Chinook," based 15 miles from the DMZ. Well armed and capable of deploying platoon-sized infantry units, the tandem-rotored Chinook and it's crew were a formidable weapon in jungle warfare-large and lightly armored, they also presented easy targets. Corlew was shot down three times: in the Battle of Hue, the Battle of Quang Tri, and in the A Shau Valley. His memoir relates harrowing missions over landing zones beset with hidden enemy positions, his return home and his reflection on the war.
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.
In February 1989, the CIA's chief in Islamabad famously cabled headquarters a simple message: "We Won." It was an understated coda to the most successful covert intelligence operation in American history. In What We Won , CIA and National Security Council veteran Bruce Riedel tells the story of America's secret war in Afghanistan and the defeat of the Soviet 40th Red Army in the war that proved to be the final battle of the cold war. He seeks to answer one simple question - why did this intelligence operation succeed so brilliantly? Riedel has the vantage point few others can offer: He was ensconced in the CIA's Operations Center when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on Christmas Eve 1979. The invasion took the intelligence community by surprise. But the response, initiated by Jimmy Carter and accelerated by Ronald Reagan, was a masterful intelligence enterprise. Many books have been written about intelligence failures - from Pearl Harbor to 9/11. Much less has been written about how and why intelligence operations succeed. The answer is complex. It involves both the weaknesses and mistakes of America's enemies, as well as good judgment and strengths of the United States. Riedel introduces and explores the complex personalities pitted in the war - the Afghan communists, the Russians, the Afghan mujahedin, the Saudis, and the Pakistanis. And then there are the Americans - in this war, no Americans fought on the battlefield. The CIA did not send officers into Afghanistan to fight or even to train. In 1989, victory for the American side of the cold war seemed complete. Now we can see that a new era was also beginning in the Afghan war in the 1980s, the era of the global jihad. This book examines the lessons we can learn from this intelligence operation for the future and makes some observations on what came next in Afghanistan - and what is likely yet to come.
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.
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.
With words and photographs, Rain in Our Hearts takes readers into Alpha Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry, 196th LIB, Americal Division in 1969-1970. Jim Logue, a professional photographer, was drafted and served as an infantryman; he also carried a camera. "In order to take my mind off the war," he would say, "I took pictures." Logue's photos showcase the daily lives of infantrymen: setting up a night laager, chatting with local children, making supply drops, and "humping" rucksacks miles each day in search of the enemy. His camera records the individual experiences and daily lives of the men who fought the war. Accompanying Logue's over 100 photographs is the narrative written by Gary D. Ford. Wanting to reconstruct the story of Alpha Company during the time in which Logue served, Ford and Logue trekked across America to meet with and interview every surviving member whom they could locate and contact. Each chapter of Rain in Our Hearts focuses on the viewpoint and life of one member of Alpha Company, including aspects of life before and after Vietnam. The story of the Company's movements and missions over the year unfold as readers are introduced to one soldier at a time. Taken together, Rain in Our Hearts offers readers a window into the words and sights of Alpha Company's Vietnam War.
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...
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.
Widely heralded on publication as a "must-read" (Military Review) and "important window on America's battle with al-Qaeda" (Washington Post), Ali Soufan's revelatory account of the war on terror as seen from its front lines changed the way we understand al-Qaeda and how the United States prosecuted the war-and led to hard questions being asked of our leaders. When The Black Banners was published in 2011, significant portions of the text were redacted. After subsequent review by the Central Intelligence Agency, those redactions have been lifted. Their removal corrects the record on how vital intelligence was obtained from al-Qaeda suspects and brings forth important new details on the controversial use of enhanced interrogation techniques (torture) to extract information from terror suspects. For many years, proponents of the use of these techniques have argued that they produced actionable intelligence in the war on terror. This edition of The Black Banners explodes this myth; it shows Soufan at work using guile and intelligent questioning-not force or violence-to extract some of the most important confessions in the war, and it vividly recounts the failures of the government's torture program. Drawing on Soufan's experiences as a lead operative for the FBI and declassified government records, The Black Banners (Declassified) documents the intelligence failures that lead to the tragic attacks on New York and Washington, DC, and subsequently how torture derailed the fight against al-Qaeda. With this edition, eighteen years on from the first sanctioned enhanced interrogation technique, the public can finally read the complete story of what happened in their name after the events of 9/11. The Black Banners (Declassified) includes a new foreword from Ali Soufan that addresses the significance of the CIA's decision to lift the redactions.
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.
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