Wednesday, 13 October 2010
Book recommendation: Horse Soldiers
A book recommendation is an unusual post in my blog, but I think this one is defintely worthwhile recommnending.
The strory of this book starts a couple of weeks ago I was left stranded in JFK for a day due to a tropical storm hitting N.York ... in October!! (...and still some guys out there claim that climate change doesn't exist). Being on a short three day business trip I took very little reading with me (a novel that planned to finish in the inbound trip mainly), I happened to find a small bookshop in the British Airways terminal (note: bookshops in NYC are beocming an endangered species) and browsing around my eyes juts stopped on a book titled "Horse Soldiers- The extraordinary story of a band of US soldiers who rode to victory in Afghanistan".
I'm a fan of military history but I reckon that anything after 1945 really bores me to death. But on a first reaction of curiosity because of the title I took the book in my hands and start reading the comments printed in the back cover. Having found no other more interesting stuff, I finally bought it.
And what a fortunate decision!! Doug Stanton really made one of the most engaging and interesting military stories I've read for a long time. The book describes the life of a first two-dozen or so US Special Forces soliders and CIA members who were the first to land in Afghanistan after 9/11.
Thier initial mission was to link with the highly scattered and sometimes rioting warlods of the Northern Alliance, organise a jopint war effort and assess the support needs from the US to topple the Taliban government..
Lacking other means of transport, the guys only choice was to horse ride together with Northern Alliance armies all the way to Qala-i-Janghi , a city in the North of the country and the key to dominate the rest of Afghanistan. The main actors in the play (the officers commanding the Special Forces teams in Afghan soil) thanks to its training and dedication create very strong bounds with the Northern Alliance leaders. And to the surprise of many, in just a few weeks the Taliban goverment was ousted.
The book goes into a good level of detail on small actions in which the Special Forces teams role was basically to accurately guide the bombs of the US Air Force fighters into the enemy strongholds.
The book conmludes with the fight around the Qala-i-Janghi Fortress, where several hundred captive Talibans revolted and got control of a decommissioned weapons deposit; this uprising ended up in a true blood bath and caused the first KIA of an American in the country (Mike Spann, a CIA agent).
I can recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding the first involvement in Afghanistan but also to anyone with an intrest in ultra-modern warfare. The kind of actions and narrative along the book can also inspire interesting "á la Lardie" scenarios.