Reviews for Outpost : An Untold Story of American Valor
Book News Reviews
ABC News correspondent Tapper describes the October 2009 attack on Combat Outpost Keating that killed eight Americans and narrates the experience of American soldiers before and after the attack within the broader context of the Afghan War. Tapper interviewed 225 soldiers to learn about their daily life in a combat zone, tactical decisions made, and family back home. B&w photographs of soldiers and the Afghan landscape are provided. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Booklist Reviews 2012 October #1
In 2009, in one of the deadliest battles in Afghanistan, Combat Outpost Keating was attacked by Taliban insurgents and nearly destroyed. A Pentagon investigation concluded that the outpost, a poorly located and protected part of a counterinsurgency strategy, should not have been there in the first place. The 53 U.S. troops stationed there were part of an effort to combat extremist groups that sprouted with U.S. support during the Russian occupation. ABC News war correspondent Tapper spent two years chronicling the mission and lives of the troops and their commanders, making the war more personal as readers get to know the troops' personality quirks, backstories, family lives, and perspectives on their mission. He notes the consequences of the fact that the Afghan war was fought on the cheap as more attention was focused on Iraq, and chronicles the troops' encounters with harsh terrain, entrenched conflicts among tribes, and reckless commands. They marched into villages so isolated that villagers weren't aware that their former nemesis, the USSR, no longer existed. Photographs and maps, as well as letters and e-mails, enhance this incredible account of how this outpost was horribly jeopardized. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Extensive media buzz will make this a highly visible and much-requested title. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2012 October #2
An ABC News senior White House correspondent chronicles the short life of a doomed American Army outpost. Combat Outpost Keating, located in northeast Afghanistan, was built in 2006 and hastily evacuated in October 2009; American bombers immediately pounded it to rubble. Intended to serve as a base for the promotion of infrastructure-development projects and the interdiction of insurgents from Pakistan, Keating was near the border but far from American air support. It was clear from the outset that the outpost was poorly located--surrounded by three mountains, on the edge of a road that proved too fragile to support Humvee traffic. Tapper (Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency, 2001, etc.) introduces the men of the three successive American cavalry squadrons who served there, gradually revealing their backgrounds, problems and aspirations, and wives and girlfriends, then describing in detail what insurgent bullets did to their flesh and bone. This is a story of men who were ordered to occupy a remote corner of Afghanistan and unquestioningly did so to the best of their abilities--or some, at the cost of their lives. It also reflects the entire Afghan war in microcosm: too few men holding hostile territory with insufficient support, for goals no one can clearly articulate. This is a narrative, not a polemic, and Tapper patiently lays out the history of what happened at Keating in a gripping, forceful style, describing the daily life of soldiers and the experience of combat. In the process, there also emerges the folly of committing military forces to a poorly defined task in a location that could not be adequately defended or logistically supported. Whatever may have been the merits of the original intervention in Afghanistan, this unadorned, powerful account challenges the purposes and wisdom of America's ongoing military presence there. A timely indictment of a thoughtless waste of young American lives. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews 2012 June #1
After Combat Outpost Keating was abandoned, the Pentagon determined that the camp, in Afghanistan's desolate mountains just 14 miles from the Pakistan border, should never have been established. But first came the October 3, 2009, attack by nearly 400 Taliban fighters, which the 53 U.S. troops held off at considerable cost. A senior White House correspondent for ABC News, Tapper did hard investigative work here; lots of buzz about him as a rising media star. [Page 80]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 October #1
ABC senior White House correspondent Tapper (Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency) begins this fascinating history with the controversial 2006 decision to establish a military base in Nuristan, an "untamed," isolated Afghan province abutting Pakistan, home to a distinct ethnic group suspicious of strangers. Following the new counterinsurgency policy, U.S. forces would protect civilians while winning their hearts and minds by supporting economic development. The base, surrounded by mountains, was difficult to defend. From the beginning, insurgents sniped, launched rockets, ambushed supply convoys, and sabotaged aid projects. In October 2009, three years into the mission, hundreds of insurgents launched a coordinated attack. The 50 U.S. defenders fought heroically and prevailed; soon after, the base was evacuated; the subsequent official report concluded that the operation was deeply flawed. Aware of their fool's errand, the men did their best, and Tapper delivers a gripping, blow-by-blow account of their actions, their personal stories, and the tortured, often incomprehensible command decisions that kept them fighting despite inadequate support and an ally, Pakistan, that actively encouraged the enemy. 65 b&w photos, 4 maps. (Nov.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC