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Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor Hardcover – Illustrated, May 3, 2016
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“The book is riveting in its authentic detail....Romesha ably captures the daily dangers faced by these courageous American soldiers in Afghanistan.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[Romesha’s] account displays all the hallmarks of superlative wartime reporting: unflinching honesty; vivid, in-the-trenches description; and deeper reflections on the pathos of battle.”—Booklist
“[A] clear and expertly crafted account of an iconic fight during the Afghan War.”—Library Journal
“[Red Platoon is] compelling and rich with detail into a world most of us will not experience. It will make readers really think about what soldiers go through for their country. Romesha is a great storyteller, knowing how to draw you in and leave you breathless.”—News and Sentinel
“I couldn’t recommend [this] book, Red Platoon, any higher.”—Bill O'Reilly
“An amazing read....A gripping account of men in desperate combat against an overwhelming enemy.”—The Tampa Bay Tribune
“[Romesha’s] experiences blaze the pages of his new memoir.”—Investor’s Business Daily
“The battle, from start to finish, is riveting....I’m confident in saying that anyone who reads the full account—from the initial assault to the end of the attack—will be sucked into the action.”—Conservative Book Club
“Red Platoon is an exceptional book....[A] meticulous and powerful telling of the 2009 battle at COP Keating in Afghanistan.”—Military.com
“It is a gripping read. It's something that will have you gasping as you hold your breath, rooting for Romesha and his comrades to prevail. More important, it is something that rises to the level of literature in its portrayal of a battle most Americans probably know nothing about, as a part of a war our country still seems to be struggling to understand.”—Grand Forks Herald
“What sets Red Platoon apart is Romesha’s thoroughness in recounting the frantic scramble of events.”—Herald and News
“It is so well written you're likely to feel you're in the middle of the action....Red Platoon will make you marvel at the courage of our young men in the face of a much larger force and the stupidity of the generals who put them there.”—Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“This compellingly candid detail written by Medal of Honor recipient Clinton Romesha tells of the grisly tumult of the Battle of Keating through the rawest of lenses—his own.”—Parade
“Red Platoon by Medal of Honor recipient Clinton Romesha will probably prove to be the definitive literary contribution of the war in Afghanistan.”—Lincoln Journal Star
"I read the first half of Red Platoon in one sitting and that night had such intense combat dreams that I actually thought twice about picking the book up again. In addition to being a superb soldier, Romesha is an utterly irresistible writer. I'm completely overwhelmed by what he has done with this book. The assault on Camp Keating is a vitally important story that needs to be understood by the public, and I cannot imagine an account that does it better justice that Romesha's.”—Sebastian Junger, journalist and author of The Perfect Storm
“Rendered hour by hour and sometimes second by second, here is battle narrative the way it's supposed to be written. Gritty, plangent, and unflinching, Red Platoon is sure to become a classic of the genre. Through his courageous and no doubt painful act of remembrance, Romesha has done his comrades, indeed all of us, a great service—leaving an epitaph that will live through the ages.”—Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers and In the Kingdom of Ice
“Red Platoon is riveting. Like many who were in either Iraq, Afghanistan, or both, I often read books about the wars reluctantly, because it is hard to capture the essence of the experience. In my view Red Platoon is a brilliant book. Had Clint Romesha depicted the soldiers at Keating as a collection of steely-eyed warriors, their feat would have been impressive. Because he captures the reality of a collection of personalities as diverse as America itself, their courage is truly inspiring.”—General Stanley McChrystal, U.S. Army, Retired
“Red Platoon celebrates the most crucial aspect of military operations: the team. Clinton Romesha and the men of Black Knight Troop faced harrowing conditions and a determined enemy during the Battle for COP Keating, and in the process discovered exactly who they are. This account is an important tribute to everyone who fought, and especially to the eight Americans who on that day made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.”—Mark Owen, author of No Easy Day and No Hero
“Red Platoon exemplifies the courage and resiliency our country was founded on. Clint is a true brother and a man that I look up to.”—Dakota Meyer, Medal of Honor recipient and author of Into the Fire
“The men of Red Platoon and their actions at COP Keating deserve to be known. Clint Romesha's story takes hold from page one and makes you feel every inch of the battle, but it is the bond between soldiers that will stick with you. Red Platoon is on my list of the best books about the Afghan war.”—Kevin Maurer, bestselling coauthor of No Easy Day
“A visceral, heart-pounding account of men in close-quarter combat that is simply impossible to put down. Astonishingly intimate and beautifully written. A word of advice: don't start this book if you're planning on doing anything else for the next few hours.”—Scott Anderson, author of Lawrence in Arabia
“Danger and death accompany combat. When unexpectedly surrounded and outnumbered by a Taliban enemy force, the stakes soared. Responses by the men of Keating were courageous. Led by Staff Sergeant Clint Romesha, this band of brothers countered with supreme valor. This true story will make you proud of the American soldier. You will not want to put Red Platoon down.”—Colonel Bill Smullen, U.S. Army, Retired
About the Author
- Publisher : Dutton; Illustrated edition (May 3, 2016)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0525955054
- ISBN-13 : 978-0525955054
- Item Weight : 1.5 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.3 x 1.25 x 9.3 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #77,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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And I have never read a memoir as powerful, gripping, and vivid as this one.
The narrative of the fight for Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan is structured with a personal depth, fluidity, and originality of presentation such as I have never encountered. Nothing else is even close to this book in getting the reader into the minds and personalities of the soldiers involved, and touching them in a human way that equals or exceeds the best character development I’ve ever encountered in the most moving literature in any genre.
This is also superbly-researched history, as the author does an excellent job of weaving a tale that places COP Keating within the larger scheme of things in Afghanistan, and presents aspects of the battle that the author pulled together from participants and documents long after the battle. Logistics, air support, Quick Reaction Force (QRF) employment, are related to the facts on the ground, in the fight, for which this Staff Sergeant served in multiple roles as a platoon sergeant and squad leader, team leader and assistant base defense commander.
He clearly focuses in Red Platoon’s role in the fight—his platoon—and the actions of Blue and White platoons on Keating and nearby outpost Kitsche are sketched out insofar as their actions bore on Red Platoon’s part of the fight. That is perfectly in keeping with the author’s intent to portray the battle fought by him and his platoon, and it also serves as a continual reminder to readers that SSG Romesha’s vision was limited dramatically by the fog of war. Indeed, the book’s narrative portion and primary focus is on his continual confrontation with the fog of war and his relentless attempts to see through it and take action.
Clinton Romesha doesn’t fall into a common narrative difficulty faced by memoirists, which is to treat every comrade as a flawless hero and cover everyone’s faults. Yet, precisely by examining and critiquing those faults, mistakes, miscommunications, and mishaps, he accomplishes two things that separate his work from anything else I’ve read: (1) he weaves a far more complete, human, and intimately accurate narrative of the fight, and (2) in pointing out flaws, he also highlights the strengths each soldier, each human being, each buddy, truly deserves credit for, and thereby honors them more highly, sincerely, and grippingly than in any memoir or battle history I’ve ever seen. These are young American soldiers, not fictional superheroes. But even with their mistakes and human flaws made plain, their grit, determination, comradeship, and professionalism shine through with brilliant and touching clarity.
This microhistory of a one-day battle on a remote outpost necessarily reads differently than most first-person memoirs. It also reads differently than a historian’s microhistorical recreation of a day’s fighting by a small unit in an utterly desperate situation. Because the microhistory here is provided by an active participant, who observed, recalled, and recreated this battle with an immediacy that even the best historians can’t attain, and which even the most gallant participants can never recall and articulate—and wrestle with—so fully, effectively, and touchingly.
I am at a loss right now to praise this book adequately, and am not sure I could ever do so in any case. This is a one-of-a-kind tale that takes the reader into the innermost workings of a dismounted cavalry troop of the 4th Infantry Division, fighting a battle against all odds, and eventually prevailing. It is impossible for a reader to walk away from this experience without a sense of awe for the training, dedication, commitment, courage, tenacity, and skill of the very human young American soldiers who held Keating against all odds.
Clinton Romesha obviously used this book to come to grips with what he saw and did at COP Keating, and to pay homage to men he loved closer than brothers after passing with them through this crucible. Although his book differs in so many important ways from other books that have moved me deeply about American soldiers and Marines at war, I will close by placing his book on my personal top shelf, along with “Company Commander” by Charles McDonald, “With the Old Breed at Pelelieu and Okinawa” by E.B. Sledge, “Visions from a Foxhole: A Rifleman in Patton’s Ghost Corps” by William A. Foley. I hate to omit other deeply moving accounts deserving of mention, but I am so impressed with Romesha’s book; the fighting man he proved himself to be; and the fighting men he led, followed, served with, and boldly risked his life for and helped lead to victory; that I feel it appropriate to simply call it, The Best I’ve Ever Seen.
There are many questions left unanswered by his narrative, which I would like to talk to Romesha about someday, or research elsewhere. But no book can cover everything, from every angle, at every operational level, with the gripping power Romesha achieves in his narrative of Red Platoon. So I’ll simply repeat my bottom line and close with it: The Best I’ve Ever Seen.
I came upon this book as as a result of watching a NETFLIX documentary on several recipients of the Medal of Honor over the last century. Romesha was one of the men highlighted in the film, and he talked about his need for Catharsis which he realized could only come about by removing much of the burden he carried, and placing it on our shoulders too. He knew at his core, as you the reader/listener will also discover, that the medal belonged to the unit both those who lived and those who died. As I mentioned in my header, non-combatants should read this . . . not because I judge you or think of you in a negative way, rather because it is such a rare window to the absolute truth of what up close and personal combat is. Well, at least insofar as mere words can convey.
In this exceptional true story, you will meet all kinds of people. Clint takes much time and deliberation in character development, for which I am appreciative. Please take a few hours to get to know some of our finest who continue to man a post for you and me.
Also, this was a great accounting of the dedication of the supporting cast, Army pilots willing to fly repeatedly into harms way for their fellow Soldiers. The unyielding dedication of medical personal to stop at no lengths to preserve life. The USAF fighter jocks willing to do whatever it took to support their fellow Warriors. And finally to the Warrior Ethos of the Soldiers who ensures that everyone returned home to their loved ones. This story needed to be told.
Top reviews from other countries
Clinton and his men found themselves in a situation that they shouldn't have been in, but due to a very bad location (possibly decided on by someone behind a desk looking at a map) the troops at Command Outpost Keating were the proverbial fish in a barrel.
Clinton Romesha paints the reader an excellent portrayal of what it was like for the soldier on the ground, this is definitely one of those books you don't want to put down, I'm not a fast reader but I was grabbing every opportunity I could to find out what happened at Outpost Keating. When people say minutes felt like hours it's the only time a book has made me feel this way, it's a good job that breathing is a reactional thing because at times I forgot I had to!
Agree with it or not, if you want an accurate picture of what the heat of battle can do to a person without experiencing it first hand, trust in Red Platoon for it's one of the best accounts of a soldiers experience I have ever read (McNab included).
Just want to say this: GET THIS book. You will not regret it.
You will see the battle thru their own eyes, feel the fear, camaraderie and what they went thru. This book should be in your collection.
Cracking read, even to a jaded Brit squaddie.