Black Ops: The Rise of Special Forces in the CIA, the SAS, and Mossad

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Overview

A hard-hitting history of special-forces operations over the past fifty years in the United States, United Kingdom, and Israel.After eight challenging years in Afghanistan, the new U.S. strategy, aimed at winning hearts and minds rather than search-and-destroy, refocuses the conflict on Special Forces: unorthodox soldiers who work outside of traditional military forces to combine secret military operations with nation building.Tony Geraghty, an expert author in this field for almost thirty years, unveils the ...
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Black Ops: The Rise of Special Forces in the CIA, the SAS, and Mossad

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Overview

A hard-hitting history of special-forces operations over the past fifty years in the United States, United Kingdom, and Israel.After eight challenging years in Afghanistan, the new U.S. strategy, aimed at winning hearts and minds rather than search-and-destroy, refocuses the conflict on Special Forces: unorthodox soldiers who work outside of traditional military forces to combine secret military operations with nation building.Tony Geraghty, an expert author in this field for almost thirty years, unveils the extraordinary evolution of this refined style of war-making from its roots in anti-guerrilla warfare in Ireland and Palestine, by way of the creation of the C.I.A., the S.A.S., the Green Berets, America’s Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.), and many others, including Mossad.This history is more than a tale of derring-do, although James Bond-like characters stalk every page. It is a sweeping examination of Black Ops at a time when they represent the future of an open-ended global war against terrorism.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Geraghty, an expert in the evolution of war tactics, explores the building blocks that propelled the creation of special forces wings within the American, English, and Israeli military. Geraghty begins with an examination of tactics used in two conflicts: Vietnam and Afghanistan. Initially viewed as primitive by the Americans, the Vietnamese soldiers had success because of their knowledge of the jungle terrain and their experience with militaristic infiltration of towns and villages. Geraghty then turns his attention to military veterans like Green Beret captain Charlie Beckwith, whose idea to create "a force of doers" came to him after he took part in a British SAS operation in 1962 (exhaustively detailed in Beckwith's own book, Delta Force, as well as many others). In Geraghty's comprehensive view, the evolution of secretive military might was a movement from fringe to standard operating procedure. He touches on everything from the Bay of Pigs to the Afghan drug trade, and details operations both successful and failed (some famously), but ultimately covers familiar ground. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
A brief history of special-forces units, examining how they have altered the ways in which governments approach difficult military problems. Special-forces units are small, highly skilled groups of soldiers trained for secret operations outside the parameters of traditional military forces. Some of these have connections to organizations such as the Central Intelligence Agency, the United Kingdom's Special Air Service or Israel's Mossad. Ex-soldier and Guardian contributor Geraghty (Soldiers of Fortune: A History of the Mercenary in Modern Warfare, 2009, etc.) looks at their post-World War II origins. During the Cold War, special-forces units allowed governments to carry out espionage-related military missions without full-scale war. Similar elite forces developed as an effective way to take on guerrilla warriors and terrorists, particularly in Ireland, Vietnam and Israel. The author entertainingly narrates the tales of various forces and their missions, but he never shies away from the morally gray areas that such units often inhabit. "Much of the history of Special Forces-anyone's Special Forces," he writes, "is a story of dirty, morally reprehensible-if effective-work." Sometimes special-forces operations have failed spectacularly, as when an aborted 1980 attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran led to the deaths of several American soldiers. But there have also been impressive successes, including the famous rescue of terrorist-held hostages by Israeli soldiers at Entebbe Airport in Uganda in 1976. Geraghty effectively shows how the precision allowed by special forces is now being used as part of the U.S. military's strategy in Afghanistan. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, chosen by President Obama to lead the forces in Afghanistan, is a special forces veteran, and the president, in a landmark speech on Afghanistan military strategy, said that the military will have to be "nimble and precise" to be effective. "For ?nimble and precise' read ?Special Operations Forces' " Geraghty writes. An engaging overview bolstered by intriguing appendices, including the August 2009 "McChrystal Report on Afghanistan."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605982892
  • Publisher: Pegasus
  • Publication date: 3/12/2012
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 1,362,616
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Tony Geraghty has a lifetime’s experience as a soldier, airman, and war correspondent. He is the author of Soldiers of Fortune and Black Ops, and is a writer for The Guardian and The Sunday Times in London.
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    I think this book was great. I like the fact that it was written

    I think this book was great. I like the fact that it was written by a former elite army officer is even better. This book is my all time favorite.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Book

    After reading this book I have decided that although as a heavy reader in this genre I have read most of the information before not in this manner and in this method. It was well written and a great great read. If you think you might be interested in this book I recommend getting it once you start you will be blow away by some things you might have already known but not yet thought about.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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