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Iraq War (2003-)

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  1. 22.4 hrs • 5/24/2016 • Unabridged

    A powerfully written firsthand account of the human costs of conflict, The Mirror Test asks that we as a nation look in the mirror and address hard questions about America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. J. Kael Weston spent seven years on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan working for the State Department. The US government sent him to some of the most dangerous frontline locations. Upon his return home, traveling the country to pay respect to the killed and wounded, he asked himself: How and when will these wars end? How will they be remembered and memorialized? What lessons can we learn from them? Questions with no quick answers, but perhaps ones that might lead to a shared reckoning worthy of the sacrifices of those, troops and civilians alike, whose lives have been changed by more than a decade and a half of war. With a novelist’s eye, Weston takes us from Twenty Nine Palms in California to Fallujah in Iraq, Khost to Helmand in Afghanistan, Maryland to Colorado, Wyoming to New York City, as well as to out-of-the-way places in Iowa and Texas. We meet generals, corporals and captains, senators and ambassadors, NATO allies, Iraqi truck drivers, city councils, imams and mullahs, Afghan schoolteachers, madrassa and college students, former Taliban fighters and ex–Guantanamo Prison detainees, a torture victim, SEAL and Delta Force teams, and many Marines. The overall frame for the book, from which the title is taken, centers on soldiers who have received a grievous wound to the face. There is a moment during their recovery when they must look upon their reconstructed appearance for the first time. This is known as “the mirror test.” Here, like grains of sand, Weston gathers these voices and stories—Iraqi, Afghan, and American—and polishes them into a sheet of glass, one he offers to us as a national mirror. What Neil Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie did for Vietnam, The Mirror Test does for Iraq and Afghanistan. An unflinching and deep examination of the interplay between warfare and diplomacy, it is an essential book—a crucial look at America now, how it is viewed in the world, and how the nation views itself.

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    The Mirror Test

    22.4 hrs • 5/24/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 0 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5
    3.0 hrs • 5/24/2016 • Unabridged

    Based on a Vanity Fair article from June 2015, Tribe is a look at post-traumatic stress disorder and the challenges veterans face returning to society. Using his background in anthropology, Sebastian Junger argues that the problem lies not with vets or with the trauma they’ve suffered, but with the society to which they are trying to return. One of the most puzzling things about veterans who experience PTSD is that the majority never even saw combat—and yet they feel deeply alienated and out of place back home. The reason may lie in our natural inclination, as a species, to live in groups of thirty to fifty people who are entirely reliant on one another for safety, comfort, and a sense of meaning: in short, the life of a soldier. It is one of the ironies of the modern age that as affluence rises in a society, so do rates of suicide, depression, and of course PTSD. In a wealthy society people don’t need to cooperate with one another, so they often lead much lonelier lives that lead to psychological distress. There is a way for modern society to reverse this trend, however, and studying how veterans react to coming home may provide a clue to how to do it. But it won’t be easy.

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    Tribe

    3.0 hrs • 5/24/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 7.1 hrs • 4/5/2016 • Unabridged

    Consequence is the story of Eric Fair, a kid who grew up in the shadows of crumbling Bethlehem Steel plants nurturing a strong faith and a belief that he was called to serve his country. It is a story of a man who chases his own demons from Egypt, where he served as an Army translator, to a detention center in Iraq, to seminary at Princeton, and eventually, to a heart transplant ward at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2004, after several months as an interrogator with a private contractor in Iraq, Eric Fair’s nightmares take new forms: first, there had been the shrinking dreams; now the liquid dreams begin. By the time he leaves Iraq after that first deployment (he will return), Fair will have participated in or witnessed a variety of aggressive interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, diet manipulation, exposure, and isolation. Years later, his health and marriage crumbling, haunted by the role he played in what we now know as “enhanced interrogation,” it is Fair’s desire to speak out that becomes a key to his survival. Spare and haunting, Eric Fair’s memoir is both a brave, unrelenting confession and a book that questions the very depths of who he, and we as a country, have become.

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    Consequence

    Read by Eric Fair
    7.1 hrs • 4/5/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 9.5 hrs • 1/12/2016 • Unabridged

    A dramatic insider account of the world of private military contracting. Armored cars, burner phones, top-notch weaponry and top-secret missions—this is the life of today’s private military contractor. Like author Simon Chase, many PMCs were once the world’s top military operatives, and since retiring from outfits like US Navy SEAL TEAM Six and the UK’s Special Boat Service, they have devoted their lives to executing sensitive and hazardous missions overseas. Working at the request of US and British government entities as well as for private clients, he takes on jobs that require “zero footprint,” with no trace of their actions left behind. Chase delivers first-hand accounts of tracking Bin Laden in Afghanistan and being one of the first responders after the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi. We see his teams defuse terrorist bombs, guard dignitaries, and protect convoys traveling through perilous territory—and then there are the really big jobs: top-secret “zero footprint” missions that include searching for High Value Targets and setting up arms shipping networks. The missions in Zero Footprint will shock readers, but so will the personal dangers. Chase and the men he works with operate without government backup or air rescue. If they die serving their country—they remain anonymous. There are no military honors or benefits. Contractors like Simon Chase are the unsung heroes in the war against terrorism, a strong, but largely invisible force—until now.

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    Zero Footprint

    9.5 hrs • 1/12/16 • Unabridged
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  5. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    6.2 hrs • 10/27/2015 • Unabridged

    The #1 international bestseller—a heroic and heartwarming story of an RAF bomb-sniffing dog from his best friend and handler, perfect for fans of Dogs of War and Trident K9 Warriors “With some dogs you share a boil in the bag breakfast and maybe a blanket on a cold desert floor. Some you wouldn’t leave in charge of your Grandma unless you wanted to find out just how fast the old girl could run. But, if you’re very, very lucky there will be the one dog you would lay down your life for—and for me that dog is Buster.” Buster, an English springer spaniel who has served his comrades and his country with unstinting devotion, has saved thousands of lives. This is the story of his partnership with RAF Police Sergeant Will Barrow, told by Will himself, describing how each came to save the other’s life. It is a relationship that produced some heroic feats—including sniffing out explosive vests that led to the arrests of two suicide bombers—in the dust and desert heat of Afghanistan and beyond. Buster, uniquely, has served five tours of duty in three theaters of war (Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan)—more than any other military dog. He also won the prestigious Crufts Friends for Life Award in 2012 and has gone on to become the official lifetime mascot of the RAF Police, the only dog in history to have been honored in that manner. A best friend in dog’s clothing, an RAF dog with his mossy feet firmly on the ground, Buster is truly a dog in a million.

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    Buster by RAF Police Flight Sergeant Will Barrow, Isabel George

    Buster

    6.2 hrs • 10/27/15 • Unabridged
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  6. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    13.3 hrs • 5/15/2015 • Unabridged

    In a move that would forever alter the map of the Middle East, Israel captured the West Bank, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip, and Sinai Peninsula in 1967’s brief but pivotal Six Day War. Cursed Victory is the first complete history of the war’s troubled aftermath—a military occupation of the Palestinian territories that is now well into its fifth decade. Drawing on unprecedented access to high-level sources, top secret memos and never-before-published letters, the book provides a gripping and unvarnished chronicle of how what Israel promised would be an “enlightened occupation” quickly turned sour and the anguished diplomatic attempts to bring it to an end. Bregman sheds fresh light on critical moments in the peace process, taking us behind the scenes as decisions about the fate of the territories were made, and more often, as crucial opportunities to resolve the conflict were missed. As the narrative moves from Jerusalem to New York, Oslo to Beirut, and from the late 1960s to the present day, Cursed Victory provides vivid portraits of the key players in this unfolding drama, including Moshe Dayan, King Hussein of Jordan, Bill Clinton, and Yasser Arafat. Yet Bregman always reminds us how diplomatic and backroom negotiations affected the daily lives of millions of Arabs and how the Palestinian resistance, especially during the first and second intifadas, in turn shaped political developments. As Bregman concludes, the occupation has become a dark stain on Israel’s history and an era when international opinion of the country shifted decisively. Cursed Victory is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the origins of the ongoing conflict in the region.

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    Cursed Victory by Ahron Bregman

    Cursed Victory

    13.3 hrs • 5/15/15 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
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  7. 8.1 hrs • 1/26/2015 • Unabridged

    A tale of the selfless courage and humanity of a few men and women living dangerously for all the right reasons, Babylon’s Ark is an inspiring and uplifting true-life adventure of individuals on both sides working together for the sake of magnificent wildlife caught in a war zone. When the Iraq war began, conservationist Lawrence Anthony could think of only one thing: the fate of the Baghdad Zoo, caught in the crossfire at the heart of the city. Once Anthony entered Iraq, he discovered that hostilities and uncontrolled looting had devastated the zoo and its animals. Working with members of the zoo staff and a few compassionate US soldiers, Anthony defended the zoo, bartered for food on war-torn streets, and scoured bombed palaces for desperately needed supplies. Babylon’s Ark chronicles Anthony’s hair-raising efforts to save a pride of Saddam’s lions, close a deplorable black-market zoo, run ostriches through shoot-to-kill checkpoints, and rescue the dictator’s personal herd of thoroughbred Arabian horses.

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    Babylon’s Ark

    8.1 hrs • 1/26/15 • Unabridged
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  8. 13.7 hrs • 11/11/2014 • Unabridged

    John McCain’s evocative history of Americans at war, told through the personal accounts of thirteen remarkable soldiers who fought in major military conflicts, from the Revolutionary War of 1776 to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a veteran himself, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and a long-time student of history, John McCain brings a distinctive perspective to this subject. Thirteen Soldiers tells the stories of real soldiers who personify valor, obedience, enterprise, and love. You’ll meet Joseph Plumb Martin, who at the tender age of fifteen fought in the Revolutionary War; Charles Black, a freeborn African American sailor in the War of 1812; and Sam Chamberlain, of the Mexican American War, whose life inspired novelist Cormac McCarthy. Then there’s Oliver Wendell Holmes, an aristocratic idealist disillusioned by the Civil War, and Littleton “Tony” Waller, court-martialed for refusing to massacre Filipino civilians. Each account illustrates a particular aspect of war, such as Mary Rhoads, an Army reservist forever changed by an Iraqi scud missile attack during the Persian Gulf War, and Monica Lin Brown, a frontline medic in rural Afghanistan who saved several lives in an ambushed convoy. From their acts of self-sacrifice to their astonishing bravery, these thirteen soldiers embody the best America has to offer.

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    Thirteen Soldiers

    13.7 hrs • 11/11/14 • Unabridged
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  9. 6.1 hrs • 11/4/2014 • Unabridged

    A celebration of the extraordinary courage, dedication, and sacrifice of this generation of American veterans on the battlefield and their equally valuable contributions on the home front Because so few of us now serve in the military, our men and women in uniform have become strangers to us. We stand up at athletic events to honor them, but we hardly know their true measure. Here, Starbucks CEO and longtime veterans’ advocate Howard Schultz and National Book Award finalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran of the Washington Post offer an enlightening, inspiring corrective. The authors honor acts of uncommon valor in Iraq and Afghanistan, including an Army sergeant who repeatedly runs through a storm of gunfire to save the lives of his wounded comrades; two Marines who sacrifice their lives to halt an oncoming truck bomb and protect thirty-three of their brothers in arms; and a sixty-year-old doctor who joins the Navy to honor his fallen son. We also see how veterans make vital contributions once they return home, drawing on their leadership skills and commitment to service. There are former soldiers who aid residents in rebuilding after natural disasters, a former infantry officer who trades in a Pentagon job to teach in an inner-city neighborhood, a retired general leading efforts to improve treatments for brain-injured troops, and the spouse of a severely injured soldier assisting families in similar positions. These powerful, unforgettable stories demonstrate just how indebted we are to those who protect us and what they have to offer our nation when their military service is done.

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    For Love of Country

    6.1 hrs • 11/4/14 • Unabridged
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  10. 10.5 hrs • 2/11/2014 • Unabridged

    In this illuminating and informative memoir, an Iraqi translator who risked his life working with Navy SEAL and American Sniper author Chris Kyle tells his remarkable and inspiring story, offering a refreshing new perspective on the Iraq War A translator for the American military during the Iraq War, Johnny Walker is a true hero—a paragon of bravery and unwavering dedication who played a crucial role aiding Americans in the conflict. Devoted to establishing freedom and democracy in his country, he helped soldiers like Chris Kyle and his SEAL team navigate the language barrier and unfamiliar cultural terrain, sometimes even fighting beside them. Thanks to Johnny Walker, US forces successfully executed a number of operations, and his contributions, including providing crucial intelligence, saved numerous American lives. But it was a job that made him and his family targets for both Iraqi fighters and foreign terrorists. To survive, they fled their homeland and today live in California, where Johnny Walker continues to work with the military, training new SEALs. Code Name: Johnny Walker is his memoir—a stirring tale of courage and convictions, brotherhood and blood, love and war. Featuring the vivid imagery and gritty down-to-earth appeal of the New York Times bestseller American Sniper, it adds a fascinating and insightful new dimension to the history of the Iraq War.

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    Code Name: Johnny Walker

    By Johnny Walker, with Jim DeFelice
    Read by Peter Ganim
    10.5 hrs • 2/11/14 • Unabridged
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  11. 1 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5 (1)
    25.6 hrs • 1/14/2014 • Unabridged

    From the former secretary of defense comes a strikingly candid, vividly written account of his experience serving Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Before Robert M. Gates received a call from the White House in 2006, he thought he’d left Washington politics behind: after working for six presidents in both the CIA and the National Security Council, he was happy in his role as president of Texas A&M University. But when he was asked to help a nation mired in two wars and to aid the troops doing the fighting, he answered what he felt was the call of duty. Now, in this unsparing memoir, meticulously fair in its assessments, he takes us behind the scenes of his nearly five years as a secretary at war: the battles with Congress, the two presidents he served, the military itself, and the vast Pentagon bureaucracy; his efforts to help Bush turn the tide in Iraq; his role as a guiding, and often dissenting, voice for Obama; and the ardent devotion to and love for American soldiers—his “heroes”—he developed on the job. In relating his personal journey as secretary, Gates draws us into the innermost sanctums of government and military power during the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, illuminating iconic figures, vital negotiations, and critical situations in revealing, intimate detail. Offering unvarnished appraisals of Dick Cheney, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Presidents Bush and Obama, among other key players, Gates exposes the full spectrum of behind-closed-doors politicking within both the Bush and Obama administrations. He discusses the great controversies of his tenure—surges in both Iraq and Afghanistan, how to deal with Iran and Syria, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” Guantánamo Bay, WikiLeaks—as they played out behind the television cameras. He brings to life the Situation Room during the bin Laden raid. And, searingly, he shows how congressional debate and action or inaction on everything from equipment budgeting to troop withdrawals was often motivated, to his increasing despair and anger, more by party politics and media impact than by members’ desires to protect our soldiers and ensure their success. However embroiled he became in the trials of Washington, Gates makes clear that his heart was always in the most important theater of his tenure as secretary: the front lines. We journey with him to both war zones as he meets with active-duty troops and their commanders, awed by their courage, and also witness him greet coffin after flag-draped coffin returned to US soil, heartbreakingly aware that he signed every deployment order. In frank and poignant vignettes, Gates conveys the human cost of war and his admiration for those brave enough to undertake it when necessary. Duty tells a powerful and deeply personal story that allows us an unprecedented look at two administrations and the wars that have defined them.

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    Duty

    25.6 hrs • 1/14/14 • Unabridged
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  12. 12.4 hrs • 11/5/2013 • Unabridged

    Decorated US Navy SEAL lieutenant Jason Redman served his country courageously and with distinction in Colombia, Peru, Afghanistan, and Iraq, where he commanded mobility and assault forces. He conducted over forty capture/kill missions with his men in Iraq, locating more than 120 Al-Qaeda insurgents. But his journey was not without supreme challenges—both emotional and physical. Redman is brutally honest about his struggles to learn how to be an effective leader, yet that effort pales beside the story of his critical wounding in 2007 while leading a mission against a key Al-Qaeda commander. On that mission his team was ambushed and he was struck by machine-gun fire at point-blank range. During the intense recovery period that followed, Redman gained national attention when he posted a sign on his door at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, warning all who entered not to "”feel sorry for [his] wounds.” His sign became both a statement and a symbol for wounded warriors everywhere. From his grueling SEAL training to his search for a balance between arrogance and humility, Redman shares it all in this inspiring and unforgettable account. He speaks candidly of the grit that sustained him despite grievous wounds, and of the extraordinary love and devotion of his wife, Erica, and his family—without whom he would not have survived. Vivid and powerful, emotionally resonant and illuminating, The Trident traces the evolution of a modern warrior, husband, and father—a man who has come to embody the never-say-die spirit that defines the SEALs, one of America’s elite fighting forces

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    The Trident

    By Jason Redman, with John Bruning
    12.4 hrs • 11/5/13 • Unabridged
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  13. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    9.2 hrs • 6/25/2013 • Unabridged

    As commander of the Carnivore—the most lethal Bradley Fighting Vehicle of the Iraq War—Dillard Johnson was at the forefront of the 2003 invasion. Awarded a Silver Star with Valor for his heroic efforts to save the crew of a crippled Bradley, he was personally responsible for 2,000 confirmed enemy kills. But surviving the enemy was only the beginning. Johnson would use the intensity, focus, and humor that kept him alive on the battlefield to fight stage-three Hodgkin’s Lymphoma—which developed from the radiation poisoning he suffered discharging 5,000 uranium rounds in combat—despite learning he had a 25% chance of survival. A man determined not to die, Johnson made a miraculous recovery—and then returned to Iraq for a second combat tour as an Army sniper. Providing protection for his fellow troops, he is officially credited with 121 snipers kills, believed to be the most ever by a US Army sniper and second only (across all branches) to Chris Kyle. After finishing his 21-year career in the military in 2006, Johnson became a private contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, in Carnivore, this decorated hero tells his amazing story. Funny and exciting, Carnivore offers fresh insight into the mind and heart of a warrior and offers a look at the lives of troops on the ground not seen before. It is the story of a poor kid from Kentucky who has beaten extraordinary odds and a loving husband and a devoted father of four children, including a son with cerebral palsy—a story only one man can tell.

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    Carnivore

    9.2 hrs • 6/25/13 • Unabridged
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  14. 9.2 hrs • 5/7/2013 • Unabridged

    On October 3, 2005, Kapacziewski and his soldiers were coming to the end of their tour in Northern Iraq when their convoy was attacked by enemy fighters. A grenade fell through the gunner’s hatch and exploded, shattering Kapacziewski’s right leg below the knee, damaging his right hip, and severing a nerve and artery in his right arm. He endured more than forty surgeries, but his right leg still wasn’t healing as he had hoped, so in March 2007, Kapacziewski chose to have it amputated with one goal in mind: to return to the line and serve alongside his fellow Rangers. One year after his surgery, Kapacziewski accomplished his goal: he was put back on the line, as a squad leader of his Army Ranger Regiment. On April 19, 2010, during his ninth combat deployment (and fifth after losing his leg), Kapacziewski’s patrol ran into an ambush outside a village in eastern Afghanistan. After a fellow Ranger fell to withering enemy fire, shot through the belly, Sergeant Kap and another soldier dragged him seventy-five yards to safety and administered first aid that saved his life while heavy machineguns tried to kill them. His actions earned him an Army Commendation Medal with “V” for Valor. He had previously been awarded a Bronze Star for Valor, and a total of three Purple Hearts for combat wounds.

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    Back in the Fight

    9.2 hrs • 5/7/13 • Unabridged
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  15. 7.6 hrs • 4/15/2013 • Unabridged

    As a Navy SEAL during a combat deployment in Iraq, Mike Ritland saw a military working dog in action and instantly knew he’d found his true calling. Ritland started his own company training and supplying dogs for the SEAL teams, U.S. Government, and Department of Defense. He knew that fewer than one percent of all working dogs had what it takes to contribute to the success of our nation’s elite combat units, and began searching the globe for animals who fit this specific profile. These specialized canines had to pass rigorous selection tests before their serious training could begin. The results were a revelation: highly trained working dogs capable of handling both detection and apprehension work in the most extreme environments and the tensest of battlefield conditions. Though fiercely aggressive and athletic, these dogs develop a close bond with the handlers they work side by side with and the other team members. Truly integrating themselves into their units, these K9 warriors are much like their human counterparts—unwavering in their devotion to duty, strong enough and tough enough to take it to the enemy through pain, injury, or fear. For the first time ever, Trident K9 Warriors gives listeners an inside look at these elite canines—who they are, how they are trained, and the extreme missions they undertake saving countless lives, asking for little in the way of reward. From detecting explosives to eliminating the bad guys, these powerful dogs are also some of the smartest and most highly skilled working animals on the planet.

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    Trident K9 Warriors

    7.6 hrs • 4/15/13 • Unabridged
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  16. 12.2 hrs • 3/25/2013 • Unabridged

    From Jim Frederick comes an unflinching account of the Black Heart Brigade’s tragic descent in the Iraq War. Black Hearts is the story of a small group of soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division’s fabled 502nd Infantry Regiment—a unit known as the Black Heart Brigade. Deployed in late 2005 to Iraq’s so-called Triangle of Death, a veritable meat grinder just south of Baghdad, the Black Hearts found themselves in arguably the country’s most dangerous location at its most dangerous time. Hit by near-daily mortars, gunfire, and roadside bomb attacks, suffering from a particularly heavy death toll, and enduring a chronic breakdown in leadership, members of one Black Heart platoon—1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion—descended, over their year-long tour of duty, into a tailspin of poor discipline, substance abuse, and brutality. Four 1st Platoon soldiers would perpetrate one of the most heinous war crimes United States forces have committed during the Iraq War—the rape of a fourteen-year-old Iraqi girl and the cold-blooded execution of her and her family. Three other 1st Platoon soldiers would be overrun at a remote outpost—one killed immediately and two taken from the scene, their mutilated corpses found days later booby-trapped with explosives. Black Hearts is an unflinching account of the epic, tragic deployment of 1st Platoon. Drawing on hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews with Black Heart soldiers and first-hand reporting from the Triangle of Death, Black Hearts is a timeless story about men in combat and the fragility of character in the savage crucible of warfare. But it is also a timely warning of new dangers emerging in the way American soldiers are led on the battlefields of the twenty-first century.

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    Black Hearts

    12.2 hrs • 3/25/13 • Unabridged
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