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“Down range” is what SEALs in Afghanistan and Iraq call their area of operations. In this new mode of warfare, “down range” can refer to anything from tracking roving bands of al-Qaeda on a remote mountain trail in Afghanistan to taking down an armed compound in Tikrit and rousting holdouts from Saddam Hussein’s regime. It could mean interdicting insurgents smuggling car-bomb explosives over the Iraqi-Syrian border or silently boarding a freighter on the high seas at night to enforce an embargo. In other words, “down range” could be anywhere, anytime, under any conditions.
In Down Range, author Dick Couch, himself a former Navy SEAL and CIA case officer, uses his unprecedented access to bring the reader firsthand accounts from the warriors in combat during key missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Couch creates a pulse-pounding, detailed narrative of the definitive engagements of this war, while painting an unusually intimate portrait of these warriors in the field. The performance of the SEALs in difficult, changing environments—in the heat of the Afghan desert, in the snow-packed Hindu Kush, on the high seas, and in the urban chaos of Baghdad—has been nothing short of extraordinary. The SEALs, coordinating with other American forces, the CIA, and foreign special operations units like the Polish GROM, have once more shown their genius for improvisation and capacity for courageous action in leading the fight against this new and vicious enemy.
The first battle history of its kind, Down Range is a riveting close-up of some of America’s finest warriors in action against a deadly foe.
Also available as an eBook
From the Hardcover edition.
In Vietnam, the Military Assistance Command's Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) fielded small recon teams in areas infested with VC and NVA. Because SOG operations suffered extraordinary casualties, they required extraordinary soldiers. So when Capt. Thom Nicholson arrived at Command and Control North (CCN) in Da Nang, SOG's northernmost base camp, he knew he was going to be working with the cream of the crop.
As commander of Company B, CCN's Raider Company, Nicholson commanded four platoons, comprising nearly two hundred men, in some of the war's most deadly missions, including ready-reaction missions for patrols in contact with the enemy, patrol extractions under fire, and top-secret expeditions "over the fence" into Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. Colonel Nicholson spares no one, including himself, as he provides a rare glimpse into the workings of one of the military's most carefully concealed reconnaissance campaigns.
From the Paperback edition.
The American generals were flexible. A swatch of hair, a drop of blood, or simply a severed finger wrapped in plastic would be sufficient. Delta's orders were to go into harm's way and prove to the world bin Laden had been terminated.
These Delta warriors had help: a dozen of the British Queen's elite commandos, another dozen or so Army Green Berets, and six intelligence operatives from the CIA who laid the groundwork by providing cash, guns, bullets, intelligence, and interrogation skills to this clandestine military force. Together, this team waged modern siege of epic proportions against bin Laden and his seemingly impenetrable cave sanctuary burrowed deep inside the Spin Ghar Mountain range in eastern Afghanistan.
Over the years, since the battle ended, scores of news stories have surfaced offering tidbits of information about what actually happened in Tora Bora. Most of it is conjecture and speculation.
This is the real story of the operation, the first eyewitness account of the Battle of Tora Bora, and the first book to detail just how close Delta Force came to capturing bin Laden, how close U.S. bombers and fighter aircraft came to killing him, and exactly why he slipped through our fingers. Lastly, this is an extremely rare inside look at the shadowy world of Delta Force and a detailed account of these warriors in battle.
Paul Kennedy, award-winning author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers and one of today’s most renowned historians, now provides a new and unique look at how World War II was won. Engineers of Victory is a fascinating nuts-and-bolts account of the strategic factors that led to Allied victory. Kennedy reveals how the leaders’ grand strategy was carried out by the ordinary soldiers, scientists, engineers, and businessmen responsible for realizing their commanders’ visions of success.
In January 1943, FDR and Churchill convened in Casablanca and established the Allied objectives for the war: to defeat the Nazi blitzkrieg; to control the Atlantic sea lanes and the air over western and central Europe; to take the fight to the European mainland; and to end Japan’s imperialism. Astonishingly, a little over a year later, these ambitious goals had nearly all been accomplished. With riveting, tactical detail, Engineers of Victory reveals how.
Kennedy recounts the inside stories of the invention of the cavity magnetron, a miniature radar “as small as a soup plate,” and the Hedgehog, a multi-headed grenade launcher that allowed the Allies to overcome the threat to their convoys crossing the Atlantic; the critical decision by engineers to install a super-charged Rolls-Royce engine in the P-51 Mustang, creating a fighter plane more powerful than the Luftwaffe’s; and the innovative use of pontoon bridges (made from rafts strung together) to help Russian troops cross rivers and elude the Nazi blitzkrieg. He takes readers behind the scenes, unveiling exactly how thousands of individual Allied planes and fighting ships were choreographed to collectively pull off the invasion of Normandy, and illuminating how crew chiefs perfected the high-flying and inaccessible B-29 Superfortress that would drop the atomic bombs on Japan.
The story of World War II is often told as a grand narrative, as if it were fought by supermen or decided by fate. Here Kennedy uncovers the real heroes of the war, highlighting for the first time the creative strategies, tactics, and organizational decisions that made the lofty Allied objectives into a successful reality. In an even more significant way, Engineers of Victory has another claim to our attention, for it restores “the middle level of war” to its rightful place in history.
Praise for Engineers of Victory
“Superbly written and carefully documented . . . indispensable reading for anyone who seeks to understand how and why the Allies won.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“An important contribution to our understanding of World War II . . . Like an engineer who pries open a pocket watch to reveal its inner mechanics, [Paul] Kennedy tells how little-known men and women at lower levels helped win the war.”—Michael Beschloss, The New York Times Book Review
“Histories of World War II tend to concentrate on the leaders and generals at the top who make the big strategic decisions and on the lowly grunts at the bottom. . . . [Engineers of Victory] seeks to fill this gap in the historiography of World War II and does so triumphantly. . . . This book is a fine tribute.”—The Wall Street Journal
“[Kennedy] colorfully and convincingly illustrates the ingenuity and persistence of a few men who made all the difference.”—The Washington Post
“This superb book is Kennedy’s best.”—Foreign Affairs
From the Hardcover edition.
training in the world.
What does it take to become a Navy SEAL? What makes talented, intelligent young men volunteer for physical punishment, cold water, and days without sleep? In The Warrior Elite, former Navy SEAL Dick Couch documents the process that transforms young men into warriors. SEAL training is the distillation of the human spirit, a tradition-bound ordeal that seeks to find men with character, courage, and the burning desire to win at all costs, men who would rather die than quit.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
One of the most critical battles of the Afghan War is now revealed as never before. Lions of Kandahar is an inside account from the unique perspective of an active-duty U.S. Army Special Forces commander, an unparalled warrior with multiple deployments to the theater who has only recently returned from combat there.
Southern Afghanistan was slipping away. That was clear to then-Captain Rusty Bradley as he began his third tour of duty there in 2006. The Taliban and their allies were infiltrating everywhere, poised to reclaim Kandahar Province, their strategically vital onetime capital. To stop them, the NATO coalition launched Operation Medusa, the largest offensive in its history. The battlefield was the Panjwayi Valley, a densely packed warren of walled compounds that doubled neatly as enemy bunkers, lush orchards, and towering marijuana stands, all laced with treacherous irrigation ditches. A mass exodus of civilians heralded the carnage to come.
Dispatched as a diversionary force in support of the main coalition attack, Bradley’s Special Forces A-team and two others, along with their longtime Afghan Army allies, watched from across the valley as the NATO force was quickly engulfed in a vicious counterattack. Key to relieving it and calling in effective air strikes was possession of a modest patch of high ground called Sperwan Ghar. Bradley’s small detachment assaulted the hill and, in the midst of a savage and unforgettable firefight, soon learned they were facing nearly a thousand seasoned fighters—from whom they seized an impossible victory.
Now Bradley recounts the whole remarkable story as it actually happened. The blistering trek across Afghanistan’s infamous Red Desert. The eerie traces of the elusive Taliban. The close relations with the Afghan people and army, a primary mission focus. Sperwan Ghar itself: unremitting waves of fire from machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades; a targeted truck turned into an inferno; the death trap of a cut-off compound. Most important: the men, Americans and Afghans alike—the “shaky” medic with nerves of steel and a surgeon’s hands in battle; the tireless sergeant who seems to be everywhere at once; the soft-spoken intelligence officer with laser-sharp insight; the diminutive Afghan commander with a Goliath-sized heart; the cool maverick who risks all to rescue a grievously wounded comrade—each unique, all indelible in their everyday exercise of extraordinary heroism.
Praise for Lions of Kandahar
“A raw and authentic war story about untamed Green Berets in action.”—Dalton Fury, New York Times bestselling author of Kill Bin Laden
“A powerful and gripping account of a battle that helped shape the war in Afghanistan . . . With crisp writing and page-turning action, Lions of Kandahar is one of the best books written about the conflict.”—Mitch Weiss, Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist and co-author of Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War
“One of the most important documents to emerge from the war in Afghanistan.”—The Seattle Times
“Powerful . . . a riveting account of a strategic battle that doesn’t glorify war or focus on heroic deeds . . . Make room on your military bookshelf for Lions of Kandahar.”—San Antonio Express-News
“Bradley takes the reader into battle.”—Time
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Since the attacks of September 11, one organization has been at the forefront of America's military response. Its efforts turned the tide against al-Qaida in Iraq, killed Bin Laden and Zarqawi, rescued Captain Phillips and captured Saddam Hussein. Its commander can direct cruise missile strikes from nuclear submarines and conduct special operations raids anywhere in the world.
Relentless Strike tells the inside story of Joint Special Operations Command, the secret military organization that during the past decade has revolutionized counterterrorism, seamlessly fusing intelligence and operational skills to conduct missions that hit the headlines, and those that have remained in the shadows-until now. Because JSOC includes the military's most storied special operations units-Delta Force, SEAL Team 6, the 75th Ranger Regiment-as well as America's most secret aviation and intelligence units, this is their story, too.
Relentless Strike reveals tension-drenched meetings in war rooms from the Pentagon to Iraq and special operations battles from the cabin of an MH-60 Black Hawk to the driver's seat of Delta Force's Pinzgauer vehicles as they approach their targets. Through exclusive interviews, reporter Sean Naylor uses his unique access to reveal how an organization designed in the 1980s for a very limited mission set transformed itself after 9/11 to become the military's premier weapon in the war against terrorism and how it continues to evolve today.
In Level Zero Heroes, Michael Golembesky follows the members of U.S. 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 2000 lb. 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.
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Washington Post Best Book of 2007
One of the Top 10 Best Books of 2007 (Entertainment Weekly)
New York Times Best of the Year Round-Up
New York Times Editors’ Choice
Eddie Chapman was a charming criminal, a con man, and a philanderer. He was also one of the most remarkable double agents Britain has ever produced. Inside the traitor was a man of loyalty; inside the villain was a hero. The problem for Chapman, his spymasters, and his lovers was to know where one persona ended and the other began. Based on recently declassified files, Agent Zigzag tells Chapman’s full story for the first time. It’s a gripping tale of loyalty, love, treachery, espionage, and the thin and shifting line between fidelity and betrayal.
With access to newly discovered primary sources from archives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia and India—including a series of previously untranslated Afghan epic poems and biographies—the author gives us the most immediate and comprehensive account yet of the spectacular first battle for Afghanistan: the British invasion of the remote kingdom in 1839. Led by lancers in scarlet cloaks and plumed helmets, and facing little resistance, nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through the mountain passes from India into Afghanistan in order to reestablish Shah Shuja ul-Mulk on the throne, and as their puppet. But after little more than two years, the Afghans rose in answer to the call for jihad and the country exploded into rebellion. This First Anglo-Afghan War ended with an entire army of what was then the most powerful military nation in the world ambushed and destroyed in snowbound mountain passes by simply equipped Afghan tribesmen. Only one British man made it through.
But Dalrymple takes us beyond the bare outline of this infamous battle, and with penetrating, balanced insight illuminates the uncanny similarities between the West’s first disastrous entanglement with Afghanistan and the situation today. He delineates the straightforward facts: Shah Shuja and President Hamid Karzai share the same tribal heritage; the Shah’s principal opponents were the Ghilzai tribe, who today make up the bulk of the Taliban’s foot soldiers; the same cities garrisoned by the British are today garrisoned by foreign troops, attacked from the same rings of hills and high passes from which the British faced attack. Dalryrmple also makes clear the byzantine complexity of Afghanistan’s age-old tribal rivalries, the stranglehold they have on the politics of the nation and the ways in which they ensnared both the British in the nineteenth century and NATO forces in the twenty-first.
Informed by the author’s decades-long firsthand knowledge of Afghanistan, and superbly shaped by his hallmark gifts as a narrative historian and his singular eye for the evocation of place and culture, The Return of a King is both the definitive analysis of the First Anglo-Afghan War and a work of stunning topicality.
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (History)
The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 is historian Christopher Clark’s riveting account of the explosive beginnings of World War I.
Drawing on new scholarship, Clark offers a fresh look at World War I, focusing not on the battles and atrocities of the war itself, but on the complex events and relationships that led a group of well-meaning leaders into brutal conflict.
Clark traces the paths to war in a minute-by-minute, action-packed narrative that cuts between the key decision centers in Vienna, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Paris, London, and Belgrade, and examines the decades of history that informed the events of 1914 and details the mutual misunderstandings and unintended signals that drove the crisis forward in a few short weeks.
Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers is a dramatic and authoritative chronicle of Europe’s descent into a war that tore the world apart.
For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. Testing themselves against treacherous currents, braving depths that induced hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as perilous as a minefield, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulks of sunken ships.
But in the fall of 1991, not even these courageous divers were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid Atlantic waters sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey: a World War II German U-boat, its ruined interior a macabre wasteland of twisted metal, tangled wires, and human bones–all buried under decades of accumulated sediment.
No identifying marks were visible on the submarine or the few artifacts brought to the surface. No historian, expert, or government had a clue as to which U-boat the men had found. In fact, the official records all agreed that there simply could not be a sunken U-boat and crew at that location.
Over the next six years, an elite team of divers embarked on a quest to solve the mystery. Some of them would not live to see its end. Chatterton and Kohler, at first bitter rivals, would be drawn into a friendship that deepened to an almost mystical sense of brotherhood with each other and with the drowned U-boat sailors–former enemies of their country. As the men’s marriages frayed under the pressure of a shared obsession, their dives grew more daring, and each realized that he was hunting more than the identities of a lost U-boat and its nameless crew.
Author Robert Kurson’s account of this quest is at once thrilling and emotionally complex, and it is written with a vivid sense of what divers actually experience when they meet the dangers of the ocean’s underworld. The story of Shadow Divers often seems too amazing to be true, but it all happened, two hundred thirty feet down, in the deep blue sea.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Robert Kurson's Pirate Hunters.
On December 16, 1944, Hitler launched his ‘last gamble’ in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes in Belgium, believing he could split the Allies by driving all the way to Antwerp and forcing the Canadians and the British out of the war. Although his generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east. Many were exultant at the prospect of striking back.
The allies, taken by surprise, found themselves fighting two panzer armies. Belgian civilians abandoned their homes, justifiably afraid of German revenge. Panic spread even to Paris. While some American soldiers, overwhelmed by the German onslaught, fled or surrendered, others held on heroically, creating breakwaters which slowed the German advance.
The harsh winter conditions and the savagery of the battle became comparable to the Eastern Front. In fact the Ardennes became the Western Front’s counterpart to Stalingrad. There was terrible ferocity on both sides, driven by desperation and revenge, in which the normal rules of combat were breached. The Ardennes—involving more than a million men—would prove to be the battle which finally broke the back of the Wehrmacht.
In this deeply researched work, with striking insights into the major players on both sides, Antony Beevor gives us the definitive account of the Ardennes offensive which was to become the greatest battle of World War II.
From the Hardcover edition.
This is one of the most significant military books of the twentieth century. By an outstanding soldier of independent mind, it pushed forward the evolution of land warfare and was directly responsible for German armoured supremacy in the early years of the Second World War. Published in 1937, the result of 15 years of careful study since his days on the German General Staff in the First World War, Guderian's book argued, quite clearly, how vital the proper use of tanks and supporting armoured vehicles would be in the conduct of a future war. When that war came, just two years later, he proved it, leading his Panzers with distinction in the Polish, French and Russian campaigns. Panzer warfare had come of age, exactly as he had forecast. This first English translation of Heinz Guderian's classic book - used as a textbook by Panzer officers in the war - has an introduction and extensive background notes by the modern English historian Paul Harris.
The Proud Tower, the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Guns of August, and The Zimmerman Telegram comprise Barbara W. Tuchman’s classic histories of the First World War era
In this landmark, Pulitzer Prize–winning account, renowned historian Barbara W. Tuchman re-creates the first month of World War I: thirty days in the summer of 1914 that determined the course of the conflict, the century, and ultimately our present world. Beginning with the funeral of Edward VII, Tuchman traces each step that led to the inevitable clash. And inevitable it was, with all sides plotting their war for a generation. Dizzyingly comprehensive and spectacularly portrayed with her famous talent for evoking the characters of the war’s key players, Tuchman’s magnum opus is a classic for the ages.
Praise for The Guns of August
“A brilliant piece of military history which proves up to the hilt the force of Winston Churchill’s statement that the first month of World War I was ‘a drama never surpassed.’”—Newsweek
“More dramatic than fiction . . . a magnificent narrative—beautifully organized, elegantly phrased, skillfully paced and sustained.”—Chicago Tribune
“A fine demonstration that with sufficient art rather specialized history can be raised to the level of literature.”—The New York Times
“[The Guns of August] has a vitality that transcends its narrative virtues, which are considerable, and its feel for characterizations, which is excellent.”—The Wall Street Journal
From the Trade Paperback edition.
From its terrifying opening pages to its final eloquent words, Dispatches makes us see, in unforgettable and unflinching detail, the chaos and fervor of the war and the surreal insanity of life in that singular combat zone. Michael Herr’s unsparing, unorthodox retellings of the day-to-day events in Vietnam take on the force of poetry, rendering clarity from one of the most incomprehensible and nightmarish events of our time.
Dispatches is among the most blistering and compassionate accounts of war in our literature.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Sparking a flurry of heated debate, Hannah Arendt’s authoritative and stunning report on the trial of German Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann first appeared as a series of articles in The New Yorker in 1963. This revised edition includes material that came to light after the trial, as well as Arendt’s postscript directly addressing the controversy that arose over her account. A major journalistic triumph by an intellectual of singular influence, Eichmann in Jerusalem is as shocking as it is informative—an unflinching look at one of the most unsettling (and unsettled) issues of the twentieth century.
At dawn on March 2, 2002, over two hundred soldiers of the 101st Airborne and 10th Mountain Divisions flew into the mouth of a buzz saw in Afghanistan's Shahikot Valley. Believing the war all but over, U.S. military leaders refused to commit the extra infantry, artillery, and attack helicopters required to fight the war's biggest battle— a missed opportunity to crush hundreds of Al Qaida's fighters and some of its most senior leaders.
Eyewitness Naylor vividly portrays the heroism of the young, untested soldiers, the fanaticism of their ferocious enemy, the mistakes that led to a hellish mountaintop firefight, and how thirteen American commandos embodied "Patton's three principles of war"—audacity, audacity, and audacity—by creeping unseen over frozen mountains into the heart of an enemy stronghold to prevent a U.S. military catastrophe.
From the streets of Iraq to the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips in the Indian Ocean, and from the mountaintops of Afghanistan to the third floor of Osama Bin Laden’s compound, operator Mark Owen of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group—known as SEAL Team Six—has been a part of some of the most memorable special operations in history, as well as countless missions that never made headlines.
No Easy Day puts readers alongside Owen and his fellow SEAL team members as they train for the biggest mission of their lives. The blow-by-blow narrative of the assault, beginning with the helicopter crash that could have ended Owen’s life straight through to the radio call confirming Bin Laden’s death, is an essential piece of modern history.
In No Easy Day, Owen also takes readers into the War on Terror and details the formation of the most elite units in the military. Owen’s story draws on his youth in Alaska and describes the SEALs’ quest to challenge themselves at the highest levels of physical and mental endurance. With boots-on-the-ground detail, Owen describes several missions that illustrate the life and work of a SEAL and the evolution of the team after the events of September 11.
In telling the true story of the SEALs whose talents, skills, experiences, and exceptional sacrifices led to one of the greatest victories in the War on Terror, Mark Owen honors the men who risk everything for our country, and he leaves readers with a deep understanding of the warriors who keep America safe.