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Gentlemen Bastards: On the Ground in Afghanistan with America's Elite Special Forces Paperback – June 4, 2013
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“[A] powerful look at Special Forces and the daily grind of tracking down the Taliban, terrorists, and other bad guys in Afghanistan.” —Mitch Weiss, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and critically acclaimed author of Tiger Force and No Way Out
“Humorous, stark, and honest, Gentlemen Bastards shows the reality of the war in Afghanistan.” —Nathan Edmondson, author of The Activity
About the Author
- Publisher : Dutton Caliber; Reprint edition (June 4, 2013)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0425253597
- ISBN-13 : 978-0425253595
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #650,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I thought the author did a good job in capturing the culture and mission of Special Forces. These guys are a unique animal within the Special Operations community. Although I served in Iraq with 5th SFG I found that the experiences described in this book mirrored my own experiences, word for word in some cases. Battling both the American and Indig bureaucracy, the frustration of dealing with backwards and often corrupt third world officials, shifting missions, confused commander's intent, and the general experience of being a legionnaire on the fringes of the Roman Empire, it is all here.
There are not many good books about SF, but this is one of them. War Story by Jim Morris is great, but that was the Vietnam War. Yellow Green Beret by Chester Wong is the only other modern SF non-fiction book I know of that really captures the experience. If you want to get really depressed, read Gentlemen Bastards alongside War Story. Iraq, Vietnam...Communist, Terrorist...these terms are interchangeable in oh so many ways. Some things never change.
Gentlemen Bastards is not sexy, cool, or action packed but it is real and it is honest. Kevin's recommendations and observations at the end of the book are uncomfortable and somewhat painful for many of us, but needed. Sometimes there is a difference between what we want to hear and what we need to hear. I highly recommend this book to civilians who want to learn about Special Forces.
In Gentlemen Bastards, war correspondent Kevin Mauer embeds with a 7th Special Forces Group ODA (operational detachment alpha, the modern term for an A-Team) for ten weeks and watches them as they conduct foreign internal defense (FID) operations, one of the two cornerstone SF missions. Those looking for a tale of gritty combat and dealing death to the Taliban will be sorely disappointed, as throughout the book, the ODA does not get into a single direct firefight.
What you will find in Gentlemen Bastards is how the GWOT can be won, through what Mauer and the ODA team leader term "people-centric" operations. You will see the day-to-day tasks that go into training an indigenous force: in this case, the Afghan Civil Order Police (ANCOP). You will see interpersonal politics, not just between the ODA soldiers and the Afghans, but between SF and conventional battlespace owners and even between ODA members. You will see the kind of man that makes it into Special Forces: intelligent type A personalities that think outside the box and do not know the meaning of the word "quit." Most importantly, you will see how Special Forces are being kept from realizing their full potential in the GWOT, hindered not only by regulations but also by interference and incompetence from the conventional Army.
In the ten weeks Mauer was embedded, he went from neutral observer to wearing the same desert digital uniform the ODA and ANCOP wore, growing out his beard, and carrying supplies for the ODA in his pack. He was not just embedded. He was immersed, and through his direct and well-written prose, the reader will be immersed, as well.
Gentlemen Bastards is definitely recommended reading for those who want to learn what Special Forces were meant to do, as well as those curious as to what it will take to win the Global War on Terror.
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in India on August 21, 2020
Hier kämpfen Green Berets einen nicht zu gewinnen Kampf gegen die Taliban.
Ehrliches Buch - Achtung wenig Action .. trotzdem Gut!!!