The Only Thing Worth Dying For

The Only Thing Worth Dying For

4.4 204
by Eric Blehm
     
 

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Eric Blehm, author of the award-winning The Last Season, is back with another true adventure story, The Only Thing Worth Dying For. Set in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, The Only Thing Worth Dying For chronicles the untold story of the team of Green Berets led by Captain Jason Amerine that conquered the Taliban and helped bring Hamid

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Overview

Eric Blehm, author of the award-winning The Last Season, is back with another true adventure story, The Only Thing Worth Dying For. Set in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, The Only Thing Worth Dying For chronicles the untold story of the team of Green Berets led by Captain Jason Amerine that conquered the Taliban and helped bring Hamid Karzai to power in Afghanistan. In the tradition of Black Hawk Down, The Only Thing Worth Dying For is, in the words of former Congressman Charlie Wilson (from Charlie Wilson's War), "the one book you must read if you have any hope of understanding what our fine American soldiers are up against in Afghanistan."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The early, relatively heroic days of the conflict in Afghanistan are memorialized in this engrossing if glamorized war saga. Blehm (The Last Season, a B&N Discover Award winner) follows the exploits of Capt. Jason Amerine’s Special Forces team Alpha 574, which choppered into Afghanistan in November 2001 to help future Afghan president Hamid Karzai organize anti-Taliban insurgents in the south. The team’s mission—to turn chaotic and perpetually stoned Pashtun tribesmen into effective soldiers—seems impossible and, ultimately, proved unnecessary. Indeed, according to Blehm’s account, the Green Berets’ worst enemies were other Americans: meddling CIA honchos and army brass, a do-nothing Marine officer, and the air force spotter who mistakenly called in an air strike on 574’s position, with ghastly results. The author overplays the comradely bond between Karzai and Amerine, who come off as a latter-day Washington and Lafayette, but doesn’t quite succeed in wringing a military epic out of what was essentially a turkey shoot. Still, Blehm’s warts-and-all account of the U.S. military machine in action is full of tension, color, and real pathos. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
Another stirring account of American Special Forces heroics. After 9/11, America could not rush a conventional army into Afghanistan to wreak vengeance on al-Qaeda, so it sent elite Special Forces teams. In Horse Soldiers (2009), Doug Stanton chronicled the soldiers who assisted Northern Alliance forces in crushing the Taliban. Blehm (The Last Season, 2006) recounts Green Beret exploits in southern Afghanistan where no organized anti-Taliban opposition existed. Worse, the population was Pashtun, the majority tribe that refused to accept a government dominated by the non-Pashtun Northern Alliance. With no alternative, American leaders decided to support Hamid Karzai (Afghanistan's president today), at the time an obscure Pashtun who had returned from exile to gather support. Blehm delivers biographies of team members and their leaders as well as the nuts-and-bolts preparation for the mission. In November 2001, helicopters dropped the team inside Taliban-controlled southern Afghanistan where it joined Karzai and his few supporters. Within a month this small band had assembled a guerilla army that fought its way to Kandahar, the Taliban capital in the south, and forced its surrender-though the mission was marred by a gruesome friendly-fire incident that killed and crippled many team members. The author provides a minute-by-minute account of this dramatic campaign, and the page never flags. Some readers, however, may wince at the author's narrative style, which features dialogue and inner thoughts as recounted to the author by the soldiers involved. Blehm extols these men's laudable courage and sacrifice, but he ignores larger issues, including the sad fact that America squandered thisvictory and the Taliban have returned to dominate southern Afghanistan. Lowbrow history, but a gripping story of admirable men. Agent: Christy Fletcher/Fletcher & Company

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061959790
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/19/2010
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
424
Sales rank:
14,688
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

The Only Thing Worth Dying For is not only brilliant, it's the one book you must read if you have any hope of understanding what our fine American soldiers are up against in Afghanistan. --Former Congressman Charlie Wilson, of Charlie Wilson's War

Through careful reporting and crisp narrative pacing, Eric Blehm has given us a thrilling, forgotten drama from the opening chapter of the war in Afghanistan. The Only Thing Worth Dying For will become an enduring classic of this extraordinary theater, where so much hangs in the balance. --Hampton Sides, bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers and Blood and Thunder

Eric Blehm has written a literary masterpiece about modern war. The whole witches' brew is here: valor, honor, heroism, cowardice, incompetence, stupidity, triumph, blood, death and despair. That America has soldiers like these should fill every American heart with pride. Read this book! --Stephen Coonts, bestselling author of Flight of the Intruder and The Disciple

The work of elite Special Forces is the subject of endless commentary, usually by those who know nothing about it. Blehm provides powerful and unflinching insight into a real-life mission that ended in tragedy but left an indelible mark on history. From the comic moments to the bleakest hour, it's a testament to how a small team of well-trained men can shape a nation's destiny. --Stephen Grey, award-winning author of Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA's Torture Program and Operation Snakebite: The Story of an Afghan Desert Siege

No other book has gone to such depths in research, nor been so descriptive in recounting this critical mission during the earliest days after 9/11 when the US Army Special Forces successfully waged unconventional warfare in Afghanistan. --Sergeant Major Billy Waugh, (US Army Special Forces Retired), author of Hunting the Jackal and Isaac Camacho, An American Hero

The greatest story of a small unit's battle through an untamed land since Lawrence of Arabia. --Adam Makos, editor, Valor Magazine

A captivating account of our heroic warriors -- a remarkable U.S. Army Special Forces unit's hard-fought success against incredible odds. It reads with the thrill of fiction -- but this is the damned deadly real deal. --W.E.B. Griffin & William E. Butterworth IV, bestselling authors of The Traffickers and The Honor of Spies

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Meet the Author

Eric Blehm is the former editor of Transworld SNOWboarding, author of Agents of Change: The Story of DC Shoes and Its Athletes, and coauthor of P3: Pipes, Parks, and Powder. The Last Season was a Book Sense bestseller and a Barnes & Noble Discover selection. He lives in southern California with his wife and son.

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