Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll
Publisher: Penguin Books
Provides an overview of CIA and other covert operations in Afghanistan, from the Soviet invasion in 1979 through the summer of 2001, detailing efforts to capture or kill bin Laden and the failure to stop the events of September 11th.
Afghanistan: A History from 1260 to the Present by Jonathan L. Lee
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Located at the intersection of Asia and the Middle East, Afghanistan has been strategically important for thousands of years. Its ancient routes and strategic position between India, Inner Asia, China, Persia, and beyond has meant the region has been subject to frequent invasions, both peaceful and military. As a result, modern Afghanistan is a culturally and ethnically diverse country, but one divided by conflict, political instability, and by mass displacements of its people. In this magisterial illustrated history, Jonathan L. Lee tells the story of how a small tribal confederacy in a politically and culturally significant but volatile region became a modern nation state. Drawing on more than forty years of study, Lee places the current conflict in Afghanistan in its historical context and challenges many of the West’s preconceived ideas about the country. Focusing particularly on the powerful Durrani monarchy, which united the country in 1747 and ruled for nearly two and a half centuries, Lee chronicles the origins of the dynasty as clients of Safavid Persia and Mughal India: the reign of each ruler and their efforts to balance tribal, ethnic, regional, and religious factions; the struggle for social and constitutional reform; and the rise of Islamic and Communist factions. Along the way he offers new cultural and political insights from Persian histories, the memoirs of Afghan government officials, British government and India Office archives, and recently released CIA reports and Wikileaks documents. He also sheds new light on the country’s foreign relations, its internal power struggles, and the impact of foreign military interventions such as the “War on Terror.”
Three Wise Men: A Navy SEAL, a Green Beret, and How Their Marine Brother Became a War's Sole Survivor by Beau Wise
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
From Beau Wise and Tom Sileo comes Three Wise Men, an incredible memoir of family, service and sacrifice by a Marine who lost both his brothers in combat--becoming the only "Sole Survivor" during the war in Afghanistan. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, three brothers by blood became brothers in arms when each volunteered to defend their country. No military family has sacrificed more during the ensuing war, which has become the longest ever fought by America’s armed forces. While serving in Afghanistan, US Navy SEAL veteran and CIA contractor Jeremy Wise was killed in an al Qaeda suicide bombing that devastated the US intelligence community. Less than three years later, US Army Green Beret sniper Ben Wise was fatally wounded after volunteering for a dangerous assignment during a firefight with the Taliban. Ben was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, while Jeremy received the Intelligence Star—one of the rarest awards bestowed by the U.S. government—and also a star on the CIA’s Memorial Wall. United States Marine Corps combat veteran Beau Wise is the only known American service member to be pulled from the battlefield after losing two brothers in Afghanistan. Told in Beau’s voice, Three Wise Men is an American family’s historic true story of service and sacrifice.
Dustoff 7-3: Saving Lives under Fire in Afghanistan by Erik Sabiston
Publisher: Warriors Publishing Group
Chief Warrant Officer Erik Sabiston tells the story of his four-man flight crew's experiences evacuating wounded soldiers from the mountains of Afghanistan in their unarmed medevac helicopter, known as Dustoff 7-3.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - A clear-eyed account of learning how to lead in a chaotic world, by General Jim Mattis--the former Secretary of Defense and one of the most formidable strategic thinkers of our time--and Bing West, a former assistant secretary of defense and combat Marine. Call Sign Chaos is the account of Jim Mattis's storied career, from wide-ranging leadership roles in three wars to ultimately commanding a quarter of a million troops across the Middle East. Along the way, Mattis recounts his foundational experiences as a leader, extracting the lessons he has learned about the nature of warfighting and peacemaking, the importance of allies, and the strategic dilemmas--and short-sighted thinking--now facing our nation. He makes it clear why America must return to a strategic footing so as not to continue winning battles but fighting inconclusive wars. Mattis divides his book into three parts: Direct Leadership, Executive Leadership, and Strategic Leadership. In the first part, Mattis recalls his early experiences leading Marines into battle, when he knew his troops as well as his own brothers. In the second part, he explores what it means to command thousands of troops and how to adapt your leadership style to ensure your intent is understood by your most junior troops so that they can own their mission. In the third part, Mattis describes the challenges and techniques of leadership at the strategic level, where military leaders reconcile war's grim realities with political leaders' human aspirations, where complexity reigns and the consequences of imprudence are severe, even catastrophic. Call Sign Chaos is a memoir of a life of warfighting and lifelong learning, following along as Mattis rises from Marine recruit to four-star general. It is a journey about learning to lead and a story about how he, through constant study and action, developed a unique leadership philosophy, one relevant to us all.
Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan by Sean Parnell
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
At twenty-four years of age, U.S. Army Ranger Sean Parnell was named commander of a forty-man elite infantry platoon, the 10th Mountain Division—a unit that came to be known as the Outlaws. Tasked with rooting out Pakistan-based insurgents from a valley in the Hindu Kush, Parnell assumed they would be facing a ragtag bunch of civilians until, in May 2006, a routine patrol turned into a brutal ambush. Through sixteen months of combat, the platoon became Parnell's family. The cost of battle was high for these men. Not all of them made it home, but for those who did, it was the love and faith they found in one another that ultimately kept them alive.
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