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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.
'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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 Sunday Times Bestseller At the age of 23, Brian Wood was thrust into the front line in Iraq, in the infamous Battle of Danny Boy. Ambushed, he led a charge across open ground with insurgents firing at just five soldiers. On his return, he was awarded the Military Cross. But Brian's story had only just begun. Struggling to re-integrate into family life, he suffered from PTSD. Then, five years later, a letter arrived: it summoned him to give evidence at the Al-Sweady Inquiry into allegations of war crimes by British soldiers during the Iraq invasion of 2003. After years of public shame, Brian took the stand and delivered a powerful testimony, and following the tense inquiry room scenes, justice was finally served. Phil Shiner, the lawyer who made the false accusations, was struck off and stripped of an honorary doctorate. In this compelling memoir, Brian speaks powerfully and movingly about the three battles in his life, from being ambushed with no cover, to the mental battle to adjust at home, to being falsely accused of hideous war crimes. It's a remarkable and dark curve which ends with his honour restored but, as he says, it was too little, too late.
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.
This is the story of modern Britain, focusing on twelve formative days in the history of the United Kingdom over the last five decades. By describing what happened on those days and the subsequent consequences, Andrew Hindmoor paints a suggestive - and to some perhaps provocative - portrait of what we have become and how we got here. Everyone will have their own list of the truly formative moments in British history over the last five decades. The twelve days selected for this book are: - The 28th of September 1976. The day Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan renounced Keynesian economics. - The 4th of May 1979. The day Margaret Thatcher became Britain's first female prime minister. - The 3rd of March 1985. The day the miners' strike ended. - The 20th of September 1988. The day of Margaret Thatcher's 'Bruges speech'. - The 18th of May 1992. The day the television rights for the Premier League were sold to BskyB. - The 22nd of April 1993. The day that young black teenager Stephen Lawrence was murdered by racist thugs. - The 10th April 1998. The day of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. - The 11th of September 2001. The day of the Al Qaeda attacks on the United States. - The 5th of December 2004. The day Chris Cramp and Matthew Roche became the first gay couple in the UK to become civil partners under the Civil Partnership Act. - The 13th of September 2007. The day the BBC reported that the Northern Rock bank was in trouble. - The 8th of May 2009. The day The Daily Telegraph began to publish details of MPs' expense claims. - The 1st of February 2017. The day the House of Commons voted to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.
Naval and air power were crucial to the United Nations' success in the Korean War, as it sought to negate the overwhelming Chinese advantage in manpower. In what became known as the 'long hard slog', naval aviators sought to slow and cut off communist forces and support troops on the ground. USS Leyte (CV-32) operated off Korea in the Sea of Japan for a record 93 continuous days to support the Marines in their epic retreat out of North Korea, and was crucial in the battles of the spring and summer of 1951 in which the UN forces again battled to the 38th Parallel. All of this was accomplished with a force that was in the midst of change, as jet aircraft altered the entire nature of naval aviation. This paperback edition of Holding the Line chronicles the carrier war in Korea from the first day of the war to the last, focusing on front-line combat, while also describing the technical development of aircraft and shipboard operations, and how these all affected the broader strategic situation on the Korean Peninsula.
In the opening campaign of the Korean War, the First Provisional Marine Brigade participated in a massive effort by United States and South Korean forces in 1950 to turn back the North Korean invasion of the Republic of Korea. The brigade's actions loom large in marine lore. According to most accounts, traditional Marine Corps discipline, training, and fighting spirit saved the day as the marines rescued an unprepared U.S. Eighth Army, which had been pushed back to the ""Pusan Perimeter"" at the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula. Historian and retired marine Kenneth W. Estes undertakes a fresh investigation of the marines' and Eighth Army's fight for Pusan. Into the Breach at Pusan corrects discrepancies in earlier works (including the official histories) to offer a detailed account of the campaign and place it in historical context. Drawing on combat records, command reports, and biographical materials, Estes describes the mobilization, organization, and operations of First Brigade during the first three months of American participation in the Korean War. Focusing on the battalions, companies, and platoons that faced the hardened soldiers of the North Korean army, he brings the reader directly to the battlefield. The story he reveals there, woven with the voices of soldiers and officers, is one of cooperation rather than interservice rivalry. At the same time, he clarifies differences in the organizational cultures of the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps. Into the Breach at Pusan is scrupulously fair to both the army and the marines. Estes sets the record straight in crediting the Eighth Army with saving itself during the Pusan Perimeter campaign, but he also affirms that the army's suffering would have been much greater without the crucial, timely performance of the First Provisional Marine Brigade.
When American and British forces invaded Iraq in March 2003, select teams of special forces and intelligence operatives got to work looking for the WMD their governments had promised were there. They quickly realized no such weapons existed. Instead they faced an insurgency--a soaring spiral of extremism and violence that was almost impossible to understand, let alone reverse.
Facing defeat, the Coalition waged a hidden war within a war. Major-General Stan McChrystal devised a campaign fusing special forces, aircraft, and the latest surveillance technology with the aim of taking down the enemy faster than it could regenerate. Guided by intelligence, British and American special forces conducted a relentless onslaught, night after night targeting al-Qaeda and other insurgent groups.
In "Task Force Black, " author Mark Urban reveals not only the intensity of the secret fight that turned the tide in Baghdad but the rivalries and personal battles that had to be overcome along the way. Incisive, dramatic, exceptionally revealing, the war in Iraq cannot be understood without this book.
Admiral William H. McRaven is a part of American military history, having been involved in some of the most famous missions in recent memory, including the capture of Saddam Hussein, the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, and the raid to kill Osama bin Laden.Sea Stories begins in 1960 at the American Officers' Club in France, where Allied officers and their wives gathered to have drinks and tell stories about their adventures during World War II -- the place where a young Bill McRaven learned the value of a good story. Sea Stories is an unforgettable look back on one man's incredible life, from childhood days sneaking into high-security military sites to a day job of hunting terrorists and rescuing hostages.Action-packed, inspiring, and full of thrilling stories from life in the special operations world, Sea Stories is a remarkable memoir from one of America's most accomplished leaders.
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