In combat, men measure up. Or don't. There are no second chances.
In this vivid account of the U.S. Army's legendary 10th Mountain Division's heroic stand in the mountains of Afghanistan, Captain Sean Parnell shares an action-packed and highly emotional true story of triumph, tragedy, and the extraordinary bonds forged in battle.
At twenty-four years of age, U.S. Army Ranger Sean Parnell was named commander of a forty-man elite infantry platoon (a unit that came to be known as the Outlaws) and was tasked with rooting out Pakistan-based insurgents from a mountain valley along Afghanistan's eastern frontier. Parnell and his men assumed they would be facing a ragtag bunch of civilians, but in May 2006 what started out as a routine patrol through the lower mountains of the Hindu Kush became a brutal ambush. Barely surviving the attack, Parnell's men now realized that they faced the most professional and seasoned force of light infantry the U.S. Army had encountered since the end of World War II.
What followed was sixteen months of close combat, over the course of which the platoon became Parnell's family: from Staff Sergeant Greg Greeson, the wise, chain-smoking veteran who never lost his cool; to Specialist Robert Pinholt, a buttoned-down conservative with the heart of a warrior and the mind of an economist; to Staff Sergeant Phil Baldwin, the platoon's voice of calm and reason, a man who sacrificed everything following the events of 9/11—career, home, financial stability just to serve his country. But the cost of battle was high for these men. Over 80 percent were wounded in action, putting their casualty rate among the highest since Gettysburg, and not all of them made it home.
Fine Printings' Review
Let's face it ... I do not normally do non-fiction. Almost never. It is in this reader's opinion that, why would anyone want to subject themselves to others woes? Life sucks as it is, reading is an escape, where we can live in a fantasy world, even if just briefly. Why then would one willingly choose to read and suffer through another's anguish and pain?
Though no one to this date has answered these questions to my satisfaction, I will not just completely ignore the genre. Hence the review of a book almost guaranteed to be painful from its description alone ... Surprise, surprise, I LOVED it. Parnell's accounts are beautifully phrased, that one can almost feel themselves among these men. Feel the rock under boots, distant gun report, the light breath of the man crouched next to you. Packed with memories, both poignant and brutally honest, it is one of the few war based non-fiction novels I have read that thrilled endlessly and wanted me to cheer those boys on.
So, take a chance, that is all I'm asking. Sometimes going outside your comfort zone can bring startling results and a gem one would never have expected.
(Don't forget the tissues)