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Afghan War (2001-)

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  1. 11.1 hrs • 8/23/2016 • Unabridged

    With a Foreword by Bill O’Reilly, here is the incredible memoir of a former Marine who returns to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan three decades after leaving the Corps. Terry McGowan had been a beat cop, a Marine captain, and a special agent for the FBI before retiring at the age of fifty. But when tragedy struck the United States on September 11, 2001, Terry felt an undiminished sense of duty to protect and serve his country. Six years later, he was in Iraq as a member of a team of high-ranking retired and active-duty military working for the highest level of Marine military intelligence. His success in Iraq led to a position as a Law Enforcement Professional with the Marines in Afghanistan. There he found himself the oldest member of a platoon on the front line; a platoon that was under strength and under fire. While an eighteen-year-old Marine can’t look at a crowd of Afghans and pick out the guilty party, with his years of experience in law enforcement, Terry had developed an eye for the “felony look.” His training as a Marine officer combined with his experience as an FBI agent made him a unique asset as he struggled to keep up with young Marines while they humped over the mountains. In The Silence of War, Terry recounts the many trials of his life of service, providing an intimate glimpse into the horrible realities of modern military conflict.

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    The Silence of War

    Foreword by Bill O’Reilly
    Read by Pete Larkin
    11.1 hrs • 8/23/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 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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  3. 12.5 hrs • 5/3/2016 • Unabridged

    The only comprehensive, firsthand account of the thirteen-hour firefight at the Battle of Keating by Medal of Honor recipient Clinton Romesha, for readers of Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden and Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell “‘It doesn’t get better.’ To us, that phrase nailed one of the essential truths, maybe even the essential truth, about being stuck at an outpost whose strategic and tactical vulnerabilities were so glaringly obvious to every soldier who had ever set foot in that place that the name itself—Keating—had become a kind of backhanded joke.” In 2009, Clinton Romesha of Red Platoon and the rest of the Black Knight Troop were preparing to shut down Command Outpost Keating. It had been built only three years prior, the most remote and inaccessible in a string of bases built by the US military in Nuristan and Kunar in the hope of preventing Taliban insurgents from moving freely back and forth between Afghanistan and Pakistan, but it was already apparent that it was simply too isolated and too dangerous to defend. On October 3, 2009, after years of constant smaller attacks, the Taliban finally decided to throw everything they had at Keating. The ensuing fourteen-hour battle—and eventual victory—cost eight men their lives. Red Platoon is the riveting firsthand account of the Battle of Keating, told by Romesha, who spearheaded both the defense of the outpost and the counterattack that drove the Taliban back beyond the wire, and received the Medal of Honor for his actions.

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    Red Platoon

    Introduction read by Clinton Romesha
    Read by Will Damron
    12.5 hrs • 5/3/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 3.5 hrs • 4/12/2016 • Unabridged

    Electrifying investigation of White House lies about the assassination of Osama bin Laden In 2011, an elite group of US Navy SEALS stormed an enclosure in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad and killed Osama bin Laden, the man the United States had begun chasing before the devastating attacks of 9/11. The news did much to boost President Obama’s first term and played a major part in his reelection victory of the following year. But much of the story of that night, as presented to the world, was incomplete, or a lie. The evidence of what actually went on remains hidden. At the same time, the full story of the United States’ involvement in the Syrian civil war has been kept behind a diplomatic curtain, concealed by doublespeak. It is a policy of obfuscation that has compelled the White House to turn a blind eye to Turkey’s involvement in supporting ISIS and its predecessors in Syria. This investigation, which began as a series of essays in the London Review of Books, has ignited a firestorm of controversy in the world media. In his introduction, Hersh asks what will be the legacy of Obama’s time in office. Was it an era of “change we can believe in” or a season of lies and compromises that continued George W. Bush’s misconceived War on Terror? How did he lose the confidence of the general in charge of America’s forces who acted in direct contradiction to the White House? What else do we not know?

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    The Killing of Osama Bin Laden

    3.5 hrs • 4/12/16 • Unabridged
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  5. 10.5 hrs • 1/19/2016 • Unabridged

    Two years before the action in Lone Survivor, a Green Berets A-Team conducted a very different, successful mission in Afghanistan’s notorious Pech Valley. Led by Captain Ronald Fry, Hammerhead Six applied the principles of unconventional warfare to “win hearts and minds” and fight against the terrorist insurgency. In 2003, the Special Forces soldiers entered an area later called, “the most dangerous place in Afghanistan.” Here, where the line between civilians and armed zealots was indistinct, they illustrated the Afghan proverb: “I destroy my enemy by making him my friend.” Fry recounts how they were seen as welcome guests rather than invaders. Soon after their deployment ended, the Pech Valley reverted to turmoil. Their success was never replicated. Hammerhead Six finally reveals how cultural respect, hard work, and the occasional machine gun burst were more than a match for the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

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    Hammerhead Six

    Read by Ronald Fry
    10.5 hrs • 1/19/16 • Unabridged
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  6. 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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  7. 7.0 hrs • 11/3/2015 • Unabridged

    Patrick Robinson, coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestseller Lone Survivor shares the gripping untold story of Mohammed Gulab, the Pashtun warrior who defied the Taliban and saved the life of American hero and Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell. Bestselling author Patrick Robinson helped Marcus Luttrell bring his harrowing story of survival in Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 to the page and the big screen. But the Afghani man who saved his life was always shrouded in mystery. Now, with The Lion of Sabray, Robinson reveals the amazing backstory of Mohammed Gulab—the brave man who forever changed the course of life for his Afghan family, his village, and himself when he discovered Luttrell badly injured and barely conscious on a mountainside in the Hindu Kush just hours after the firefight that killed the rest of Luttrell’s team. Operating under the 2,000-year-old principles of Pashtunwali—the tribal honor code that guided his life—Gulab refused to turn Luttrell over to the Taliban forces that were hunting him, believing it was his obligation to protect and care for the American soldier. Because Gulab was a celebrated Mujahedeen field commander and machine-gunner who beat back the Soviets as a teenager, the Taliban were wary enough that they didn’t simply storm the village and take Luttrell, which gave Gulab time to orchestrate his rescue. In addition to Gulab’s brave story, The Lion of Sabray cinematically reveals previously unknown details of Luttrell’s rescue by American forces—which were only recently declassified—and sheds light on the ramifications for Gulab, his family, and his community. Going beyond both the book and the movie versions of Lone Survivor, The Lion of Sabray is a must-read for anyone who wants to know more about the brave man who helped the Lone Survivor make it home.

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    The Lion of Sabray

    7.0 hrs • 11/3/15 • Unabridged
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  8. 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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  9. 9.4 hrs • 6/9/2015 • Unabridged

    The page-turning, inside account of how three kids from Florida became big-time weapons traders—and how the United States government turned on them In January of 2007, three young stoners from Miami Beach won a $300 million Department of Defense contract to supply ammunition to the Afghanistan military. Incredibly, instead of fulfilling the order with high-quality arms, Efraim Diveroli, David Packouz, and Alex Podrizki—the dudes—bought cheap Communist-style surplus ammunition from Balkan gunrunners. The dudes then secretly repackaged millions of rounds of shoddy Chinese ammunition and shipped it to Kabul—until they were caught by Pentagon investigators and the scandal turned up on the front page of the New York Times. That’s the “official” story. The truth is far more explosive. For the first time, journalist Guy Lawson tells the thrilling true tale. It’s a trip that goes from a dive apartment in Miami Beach to mountain caves in Albania, the corridors of power in Washington, and the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan. Lawson’s account includes a shady Swiss gunrunner, Russian arms dealers, corrupt Albanian gangsters, and a Pentagon investigation that impeded America’s war efforts in Afghanistan. Lawson exposes the mysterious and murky world of global arms dealing, showing how the American military came to use private contractors like Diveroli, Packouz, and Podrizki as middlemen to secure weapons from illegal arms dealers—the same men who sell guns to dictators, warlords, and drug traffickers. This is a story you were never meant to read.

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    Arms and the Dudes

    9.4 hrs • 6/9/15 • Unabridged
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  10. 10.8 hrs • 1/20/2015 • Unabridged

    In a breathtaking chronicle, acclaimed journalist Anand Gopal traces in vivid detail the lives of three Afghans caught in America’s war on terror. He follows a Taliban commander, who rises from scrawny teenager to leading insurgent; a US-backed warlord, who uses the American military to gain personal wealth and power; and a village housewife trapped between the two sides, who discovers the devastating cost of neutrality.  Through their dramatic stories, Gopal shows that the Afghan war, so often regarded as a hopeless quagmire, could in fact have gone very differently. Top Taliban leaders actually tried to surrender within months of the US invasion, renouncing all political activity and submitting to the new government. Effectively, the Taliban ceased to exist—yet the Americans were unwilling to accept such a turnaround. Instead, driven by false intelligence from their allies and an unyielding mandate to fight terrorism, American forces continued to press the conflict, resurrecting the insurgency that persists to this day.  With its intimate accounts of life in war-torn Afghanistan, Gopal’s thoroughly original reporting lays bare the workings of America’s longest war and the truth behind its prolonged agony. A heartbreaking story of mistakes and misdeeds, No Good Men Among the Living challenges our usual perceptions of the Afghan conflict, its victims, and its supposed winners.

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    No Good Men among the Living

    10.8 hrs • 1/20/15 • Unabridged
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  11. 6.7 hrs • 11/10/2014 • Unabridged

    No Hero is the second book by former Navy SEAL Mark Owen, following his multimillion-copy classic about the bin Laden mission No Easy Day, in which he tells the stories from his career that were most personal to him and that made him the operator and the person he is today. While Mark Owen’s instant New York Times bestseller No Easy Day focused on the high-profile targets and headline-grabbing chapters of the author’s career, No Hero is an account of the most personally meaningful missions from Owen’s thirteen years as a SEAL, including the moments in which he learned the most about himself and his teammates, in both success and failure. Mark Owen describes his intentions for his second book best: “I want No Hero to offer something most books on war don’t: the intimate side of it, the personal struggles and hardships and what I learned from them. The stories in No Hero will be a testament to my teammates and to all the other active and former SEALs who have dedicated their lives to freedom. In our community, we are constantly taught to mentor the younger generation and to pass the lessons and values we’ve learned on to others so that they can do the same to the guys coming up after them. This is what I plan to do for the reader of No Hero.” Every bit as action-packed as No Easy Day and featuring stories from the training ground to the battlefield, No Hero offers readers an unparalleled close-up view of the experiences and values that make Mark Owen and the men he served with capable of executing the missions we read about in the headlines.

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    No Hero

    6.7 hrs • 11/10/14 • Unabridged
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  12. 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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  13. 7.5 hrs • 9/9/2014 • Unabridged

    Battalion 3/5 suffered the highest number of casualties in the war in Afghanistan. This is the story of one platoon in that distinguished battalion. Aware of US plans to withdraw from the country, knowing their efforts were only a footprint in the sand, the fifty Marines of 3rd Platoon fought in Sangin, the most dangerous district in all of Afghanistan. So heavy were the casualties that the Secretary of Defense offered to pull the Marines out. Instead, they pushed forward. Each Marine in 3rd Platoon patrolled two and a half miles a day for six months—a total of one million steps—in search of a ghostlike enemy that struck without warning. Why did the Marines attack and attack, day after day? Every day brought a new skirmish. Each footfall might trigger an IED. Half the Marines in 3rd Platoon didn’t make it intact to the end of the tour. One Million Steps is the story of the fifty brave men who faced these grim odds and refused to back down. Based on Bing West’s embeds with 3rd Platoon, as well as on their handwritten log, this is a gripping grunt’s-eye view of life on the front lines of America’s longest war. Writing with a combat veteran’s compassion for the fallen, West also offers a damning critique of the higher-ups who expected our warriors to act as nation-builders—and whose failed strategy put American lives at unnecessary risk. Each time a leader was struck down, another rose up to take his place. How does one man instill courage in another? What welded these men together as firmly as steel plates? This remarkable book is the story of warriors caught between a maddening, unrealistic strategy and their unswerving commitment to the fight. Fearsome, inspiring, and poignant in its telling, One Million Steps is sure to become a classic, a unique and enduring testament to the American warrior spirit.

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    One Million Steps

    Read by Ray Porter
    7.5 hrs • 9/9/14 • Unabridged
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  14. 10.3 hrs • 9/2/2014 • Unabridged

    In Level Zero Heroes, Michael Golembesky follows the members of United States Marine Special Operations Team 8222 on their assignment to the remote and isolated Taliban stronghold known as Bala Murghab as they conduct special operations in an effort to break the Taliban’s grip on the valley. What started out as a routine mission changed when two 82nd Airborne paratroopers tragically drowned in the Bala Murghab river while trying to retrieve vital supplies from an air drop that had gone terribly wrong. In this one moment, the focus and purpose of the friendly forces at Forward Operating Base Todd, where Team 8222 was assigned, was forever altered as a massive clearing operation was initiated to break the Taliban’s stranglehold on the valley and recover the bodies. From close-quarters firefights in Afghan villages to capturing key terrain from the Taliban in the unforgiving Afghan winter, this intense and personal story depicts the brave actions and sacrifices of MSOT 8222. Readers will understand the hopelessness of being pinned down under a hail of enemy gunfire and the quake of the earth as a two thousand pound guided bomb levels a fortified Taliban fighting position. A powerful and moving story of Marine Operators doing what they do best, Level Zero Heroes brings to life the mission of these selected few that fought side-by-side in Afghanistan, in a narrative as action-packed and emotional as anything to emerge from the Special Operations community contribution to the Afghan War.

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    Level Zero Heroes

    Foreword by Maj. Fred Galvin
    10.3 hrs • 9/2/14 • Unabridged
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  15. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    15.7 hrs • 3/25/2014 • Unabridged

    Lawrence of Arabia meets Sebastian Junger’s War in this unique, poignantly dramatic true story of heroism and heartbreak in Afghanistan, written by a veteran war correspondent—one of the most remarkable stories of love and war ever told. Army Special Forces Major Jim Gant changed the face of America’s war effort in Afghanistan. A decorated Green Beret who spent years in Afghanistan and Iraq training indigenous fighters, Gant argued for embedding autonomous units with tribes across Afghanistan to earn the Afghans’ trust and transform them into a reliable ally to defeat the Taliban and counter al-Qaeda networks. The military’s top brass, including General David Petraeus, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, approved, and Gant was tasked with implementing his controversial strategy. Veteran war correspondent Ann Scott Tyson first spoke with Gant when he was awarded the Silver Star in 2007. Spending time with him, she began to share his vision. Risking her life, she accompanied him to Afghanistan to cover the story. And then they fell in love. American Spartan is their remarkable story—one of the most riveting, emotional narratives of wartime ever published.

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    American Spartan

    15.7 hrs • 3/25/14 • Unabridged
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  16. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    13.2 hrs • 11/18/2013 • Unabridged

    Forget everything you think you know about Blackwater. And get ready for a thrilling, true story that will make you rethink who the good guys and bad guys have been since 9/11. No company in our time has been as mysterious or as controversial as Blackwater. Founded by former Navy SEAL Erik Prince in 1997, it recruited Special Forces veterans and others with the skills and courage to take on the riskiest security jobs in the world. As its reputation grew, government demand for its services escalated, and Blackwater’s men eventually completed nearly one hundred thousand missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both the Bush and Obama administrations found the company indispensable. It sounds like a classic startup success story, except for one problem: Blackwater has been demonized around the world. From uninformed news coverage to grossly distorted fictional portrayals, Blackwater employees have been smeared as mercenaries, profiteers, jackbooted thugs, and worse. Because of the secrecy requirements of Blackwater’s contracts with the Pentagon, the State Department, and the CIA, Prince was unable to speak out when his company’s opponents spread false information. But now he’s able to tell the full and often shocking story of Blackwater’s rise and fall. In Civilian Warriors, Prince pulls no punches and spares no details. He explains his original goal of building an elite center for military and law enforcement training. He recounts how the company shifted gears after 9/11. He honors our troops while challenging the Pentagon’s top leadership. And he reveals why highly efficient private military contractors have been essential to running our armed forces, since long before Blackwater came along. Above all, Prince debunks myths about Blackwater that spread while he was forced to remain silent—myths that tarnished the memory of men who gave their lives for their country but never got the recognition they deserved. He reveals new information about some of the biggest controversies of the War on Terror, including: • The true story of the Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad • The actual details of Blackwater’s so-called impunity in Iraq • The events leading up to the televised deaths of Blackwater contractors in Fallujah Prince doesn’t pretend to be perfect, and he doesn’t hide the sometimes painful details of his private life. But he has done a great public service by setting the record straight. His book reads like a thriller but is too improbable to be fiction.

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    Civilian Warriors

    13.2 hrs • 11/18/13 • Unabridged
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