Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan

Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan

by Doug Stanton
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Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan by Doug Stanton

From the New York Times-bestselling author of In Harm's Way comes a true-life story of American soldiers overcoming great odds to achieve a stunning military victory.

Horse Soldiers is the dramatic account of a small band of Special Forces soldiers who secretly entered Afghanistan following 9/11 and rode to war on horses against the Taliban. Outnumbered forty to one, they pursued the enemy across mountainous terrain and, after a series of intense battles, captured the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, which was strategically essential if they were to defeat the Taliban.

The bone-weary American soldiers were welcomed as liberators, and overjoyed Afghans thronged the streets. Then the action took a wholly unexpected turn. During a surrender of six hundred Taliban troops, the Horse Soldiers were ambushed. Dangerously outnumbered, they fought for their lives in the city's immense fortress, Qala-i-Janghi, or the House of War. At risk were the military gains of the entire campaign: if the soldiers perished or were captured, the effort to defeat the Taliban might be doomed.

As the Americans struggled to hold the fortress, they faced some of the most intense urban warfare of our time. But until now the full story of the Horse Soldiers has never been told. Doug Stanton received unprecedented cooperation from the U.S. Army's Special Forces soldiers and Special Operations helicopter pilots, as well as access to voluminous after-battle reports. In addition, he interviewed more than one hundred participants and walked every inch of the climactic battleground.

This exciting story is filled with unforgettable characters: brave Special Forces soldiers, tough CIAoperatives, cunning Afghan warlords, anxious stateside soldiers' wives who do not know where their husbands have gone, and humble Afghan boys spying on the Taliban.

Deeply researched and beautifully written, Stanton's account of America's quest to liberate an oppressed people touches the mythic. The Horse Soldiers combined ancient strategies of cavalry warfare with twenty-first-century aerial bombardment technology to perform a seemingly impossible feat. Moreover, their careful effort to win the hearts of local townspeople and avoid civilian casualties proved a valuable lesson for America's ongoing efforts in Afghanistan.

Horse Soldiers is a big-hearted and thrilling read, with an epic story that reaches not just across the cold mountains of Afghanistan but into the homes of small-town America, and confirms Doug Stanton as one of our country's preeminent storytellers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416580522
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 05/11/2010
Pages: 407
Sales rank: 178,195
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Doug Stanton is the author of the New York Times bestsellers In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors and Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan, which is the basis for a Jerry Bruckheimer–produced movie by the same name, starring Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon, to be released by Warner Bros. in 2018. He attended Hampshire College and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Time, The Washington Post, Men’s Journal, The Daily Beast, Newsweek, Esquire, and Outside, where he has been a contributing editor. Stanton is a founder of the National Writers Series, a year-round book festival, and lives in his hometown of Traverse City, Michigan, with his wife, Anne Stanton, and their three children, John, Katherine, and Will.

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Horse Soldiers 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 153 reviews.
MAK-Attack More than 1 year ago
As he did "In Harm's Way", Doug Stanton has written another factual, thrilling account; this time about a small band of Special Forces soldiers ordered to Afghanistan on a secret mission shortly after 9/11 to assist local warlords in the fight against the Taliban in the northern part of the country. The soldiers pursued the enemy on horseback, riding over brutal terrain and fighting battles along the way, to capture the city of Mazar-i-Sharif. The book culminates with the exciting battle at the city's fortress Qala-i-Janghi, which will hold your attention and take your breath away. It seems like you are right there watching the soldiers fight an enemy that greatly outnumbered them. In "Horse Soldiers" you get to know individual soldiers and their families. While the men faced unsurmountable odds in Afghanistan, their families waited at home in great anticipation to hear from their loved ones. Can the soldiers trust the Afghan generals who are leading them into the battles? Are the people in the villages members of the Taliban? The soldiers must be constantly cautious and on alert. Stanton's narrative is researched exceptionally well; the book reads like a novel. Stanton has included a list of key players at the beginning of the book, which I found helpful and referred to often. Also, maps and drawings help you better understand different vital locations. Beliefs are contrasted between CIA Paramilitary Officer Mike Spann, loyal to the U.S., and the young American found fighting alongside the Taliban, John Walker Lindh. The Horse Soldiers combined strategies of calvary warfare with 21st century aerial bombardment technology. The soldiers make an effort to befriend the local townspeople and avoid civilian casualties. That they did so serves as a valuable lesson for America's fight in Afghanistan today. For the most part, this is a country of a proud people fighting oppression by the Taliban and in search of its place in the modern world, in pursuit of humanity for all its citizens. Stanton's "Horse Soldiers" is a book with heart, with an unforgettable message.
PaulHosse1 More than 1 year ago
Doug Stanton has written the gripping true story of American Special Forces fighting against and sometimes along side Afghan warlords in their hunt for the Taliban in what can only be described as the Wild West meets High Tech in his bestseller, "Horse Soldiers". I remember when this story first broke a few years ago. I followed it closely on Fox News and CNN with both pride and fascination as I watched US Special Forces units, along with a host of colorful and often deadly array of individuals battling the Taliban from the air, ground, and on horseback as they transverse some of the most beautiful and inhospitable land on the planet. Doug Stanton has done a wonderful job of relating their stories. Written from the perspectives of those who participated, "Horse Soldiers" provides outstanding examples of how to merge the high tech of today's military with the needs of the mission, which in some cases, required US troops to take a backseat to the egos of Afghanistan's ruling warlords who, without their assistance, we stood no chance of success. What I personally enjoyed the most as former military, was that in writing the book, Stanton doesn't allow himself to get in the way of those telling the story, namely those who took on and fought the Taliban a some journalist do. Kudos to Stanton! I can easily see this book becoming required reading at any of our nation's military academies. As I commented to friend of mine recently, "Horse Soldiers" is like a Tom Clancy novel, only this is real! So, if you're someone who is interested in the war on terrorism or simply enjoy high adventure, this book is for you.
JimDean More than 1 year ago
First I would like to state my relevant personal life experience as it applies. For more than a decade I was a civilian engineer working with and around DoD special operations personnel in various capacities. I was NOT an operator, however. Not even close. Having said that, I can say that this expedition in Afghanistan was, in my opinion, what Special Operations is all about. It may have been US SpecOps' finest hour, but there have been many fine hours for SpecOps, so that statement would quite likely be contradictory among knowledgeable SpecOps personnel. But it shows the type of results that can be acheived with just a few dedicated, elite, highly trained, and superbly selected individuals. The author, unfortunately, was so agog at the type of heroism that is common among these people that he neglected to give an adequate top level overview of the events as they unfolded. This made it difficult for me to follow as I read through the various anecdotes. Nevertheless, he has heralded an incredible story that desperately needs to be told to all Americans. When these events were unfolding, they could never have been chronicled, for a number of reasons, so the American public has not had even a glimmer of what occurred. But now enough time has passed that the story can be told without getting mired down in spin, politics, or petty recriminations, to say nothing of causing serious suffering to those heroic soldiers who would have been dangerously compromised by earlier publicity. And what a story it is! I would recommend it for all Americans who would like to be proud of their country and what some have done for it.
JOEJW More than 1 year ago
I'm a Vietnam Vet, Combat Infantryman, so I can sure understand their heavy loads carried on their backs. As was pointed out in the book, you can't carry enough ammo. This is a very good read, my thanks to the Doug Stanton for telling their story. SFC Joseph H Wolfe, Jr. USA (RET)
CHWOOLANDS More than 1 year ago
If you think you're a tough guy read this book. Afterwards, if you still think you're a tough guy you're probably in the book.
LPN More than 1 year ago
This story is from headlines in the last 10 years, but is likely to be a history lesson for future studies of the Afghan war effort since 2001. So much is written of WWII heroic efforts, Vietnam and Korea's plusses and minuses, but current history often neglected. The Iraq and Afghanistan war efforts have modern day heroes that are beginning to show up in non-fiction literature. "Eight lives down" is an example in the Iraq theatre, and "Horse Soldiers" will bring the effort of US Special Forces to light in a way not recognized by the press. Stanton's chronological account of brave and brilliant US service men integrating themselves into the Afghan tribal war saga and with few men, and significant strategy accomplish more the tens of thousands of troops will do under less competant but higher level authority. This account leaves you with a respect and admiration for today's career military, extraordinary telling of a present day military success that will linger long after the last page.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a good book and gave lots of details about the beginnings of the war in Afghanistan. There are a lot of names to keep track of so I would recommend a cheat sheet if you have a bad memory like me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Funest game ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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OMOCAM More than 1 year ago
Meticulously written, and a fascinating read! This book will inspire and later infuriate you as we had Osama within our grasp only to let him squirm away. Nevertheless, the Horse Soldiers' tale of commitment and bravery under overwhelming conditions deserves your undivided attention!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
EGHunter01 More than 1 year ago
Reading this book allows those of us that may not have or may not know someone in our present day wars some insight into the thoughts behind the events that have occurred in the last ten years with our American troops in the Eastern world. We read about the events, as we now know them, that occurred on September 11, 2001 and how America has responded from the point of view of the troops. This book offers readers a worth-while view of the events and offers insight, valuable information, and allows us to "see" the war from "inside" at the point of the war and how this war has an impact not just on the American troops, but troops of the Afghan people. In reading this book "Horse Soldiers" a sense of compassion and caring may come into your emotions and assist readers to understand a little more the mental and emotional toll of war.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Never given five stars before but this book deserved it. Any book that can expand your knowledge on a subject and be a "light" read is a great book. I have been reading a few books on Afghanistan and as of yet have not read anything positive about the Afghan army. Most of the other books have been written by the soldiers in the story. This book is different. I have learned many things about Afghanistan and it's people, soldiers and the beginning of USA army involvement in that war. Action scenes are gripping. The soldiers are and were brave. The loss of so many people is heartbreaking. A story about war that will bring the scenes right into your home.
KPAC More than 1 year ago
Everyone should read this story.
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bntt1 More than 1 year ago
have not finished it yet, but; so far it is outstanding.
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aspoe093 More than 1 year ago
This was the 1st book I read about the Afghanistan War and it truly amazed me. This book is way different then reading press clippings or internet articles about the war. It gives an in-depth view of the 1st couple of months after 9/11 and what the US did. It's an amazing story that has so many twists and turns. Who could have known that the US worked with warlords or had Special Forces ride on horseback through the country? It is an amazing read and I recommend it to anyone. Great page turner
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