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"A specific, technical study of the U.S. military’s special operations against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in the weeks after 9/11. Sticking to the record, retired Marine Corps veteran Camp (Battle for the City of the Dead: In the Shadow of the Golden Dome, Najaf, August 2004, 2011, etc.) does not impart judgment to this extraordinary story of the U.S. expulsion of Taliban forces in the space of several weeks after 9/11. Maps, chronology and photos all relay the historian’s sense of meticulous research without heeding stylistic embellishments. Camp paints the grim background by depicting the brutal Soviet invasion of the country in 1979 and the disastrous 10-year occupation, resulting in many dead, billions spent and little gained. Emerging from the squalid refugee camps and supported by Pakistan intelligence, the mujahideen were proud, fearless guerrilla fighters who formed small, mobile units that roamed the countryside laying ambush. They were highly effective over the rugged terrain against the lumbering Soviet juggernaut, and would be again when enlisted by the U.S. against the Taliban. The attacks on 9/11 underscored what the Americans should have seen coming: The Taliban (still supported by Pakistan), militarized by Osama bin Laden, had issued jihad against America, as evidenced by the suicide bomb on the USS Cole in 2000 and other attacks. Camp delves into the Bush Administration’s war machinations led by Donald Rumsfeld, and though the military detail can occasionally become overwhelming, the big events unfurl methodically, climaxing in U.S.-backed Hamid Karzai’s taking of Kandahar, and the pursuit of al-Qaeda troops to the border of Pakistan. Operation Anaconda officially closed in March 2002, before the U.S. turned its attention to Iraq. A workmanlike, nuts-and-bolt account of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.
“Camp is a superb military historian and author. His writing style sweeps the reader along with vivid descriptions of unusual battles. One can almost taste the swirling dust as the bullets whiz past the rider. Dick Camp has combined his flowing narrative and supporting photos with the first-person oral testimony of its participants to create this historical masterwork. Ever seeking to go the extra mile, Camp includes a first-rate set of supporting maps. To this illustrious purpose, Camp teamed with artist, now mapmaker, Lieutenant Colonel Richard “Wild Bill” Cody, USMC (Ret) with masterful effect. With much more of the Afghan story left to be told, we can imagine that Dick Camp is toiling away to bring us the next segment of his complex, and often baffling, war.” -Leatherneck
“It’s difficult to write an accurate history of a war as it unfolds, but historian and former combat veteran Marine Dick Camp succeeds brilliantly with his latest book “Boots on the Ground.” While “Boots on the Ground” details the remarkable campaign that initially drove the Taliban and Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan, its real value goes beyond; “Boots on the Ground” is a comprehensive study of recent Afghanistan history, the courage and ingenuity of the American fighting men, and the continued importance of “small wars” styled personal relationships in an otherwise hi-tech world.” – The Gazette