From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. His fellow American warriors, whom he protected with deadly precision from rooftops and stealth positions during the Iraq War, called him “The Legend”; meanwhile, the enemy feared him so much they named him al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle, who was tragically killed in 2013, writes honestly about the pain of war—including the deaths of two close SEAL teammates—and in moving first-person passages throughout, his wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their family, as well as on Chris. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle’s masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.
NOW A BLOCKBUSTER MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY CLINT EASTWOOD—NOMINATED FOR SIX ACADEMY AWARDS, INCLUDING BEST PICTURE
This special enhanced edition features more than 10 exclusive videos with Chris Kyle and an additional 15 images and descriptions of the weapons used by the armed forces in their fight against terrorism overseas.
From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy Seal Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. His fellow American warriors, whom he protected with deadly precision from rooftops and stealth positions during the Iraq War, called him “The Legend”; meanwhile, the enemy feared him so much they named him al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle, who was tragically killed in 2013, writes honestly about the pain of war—including the deaths of two close SEAL teammates—and in moving first-person passages throughout, his wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their family, as well as on Chris. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle’s masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.
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Acclaimed for its vivid, poignant, and honest recreation of sixteen brutal months of nearly continuous battle in the deadly Hindu Kesh, Outlaw Platoon is a Band of Brothers or We Were Soldiers Once and Young for the early 21st century—an action-packed, highly emotional true story of enormous sacrifice and bravery.
A magnificent account of heroes, renegades, infidels, and brothers, it stands with Sebastian Junger’s War as one of the most important books to yet emerge from the heat, smoke, and fire of America’s War in Afghanistan.
Within hours of 9/11, America’s war on terrorism fell to those like the twenty-three Marines of the First Recon Battalion, the first generation dispatched into open-ended combat since Vietnam. They were a new pop-culture breed of American warrior unrecognizable to their forebears—soldiers raised on hip hop, video games and The Real World. Cocky, brave, headstrong, wary and mostly unprepared for the physical, emotional and moral horrors ahead, the “First Suicide Battalion” would spearhead the blitzkrieg on Iraq, and fight against the hardest resistance Saddam had to offer.
Hailed as “one of the best books to come out of the Iraq war”(Financial Times), Generation Kill is the funny, frightening, and profane firsthand account of these remarkable men, of the personal toll of victory, and of the randomness, brutality and camaraderie of a new American War.
December, 1943: A badly damaged American bomber struggles to fly over wartime Germany. At the controls is twenty-one-year-old Second Lieutenant Charlie Brown. Half his crew lay wounded or dead on this, their first mission. Suddenly, a Messerschmitt fighter pulls up on the bomber’s tail. The pilot is German ace Franz Stigler—and he can destroy the young American crew with the squeeze of a trigger...
What happened next would defy imagination and later be called “the most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II.”
The U.S. 8th Air Force would later classify what happened between them as “top secret.” It was an act that Franz could never mention for fear of facing a firing squad. It was the encounter that would haunt both Charlie and Franz for forty years until, as old men, they would search the world for each other, a last mission that could change their lives forever.
In this deeply thoughtful account of what it’s like to fight on today’s front lines, Fick reveals the crushing pressure on young leaders in combat. Split-second decisions might have national consequences or horrible immediate repercussions, but hesitation isn’t an option. One Bullet Away never shrinks from blunt truths, but ultimately it is an inspiring account of mastering the art of war.
In Operation Iraqi Freedom, there is a special breed of hunter for whom the prey is the enemy?and every day is hunting season. This soldier is a HOG?a Hunter of Gunman. These stories give firsthand accounts of just how dangerous Iraq can be, the experience of these young men, and the consequences involved with being on a Marine Scout/Sniper team?an elite group that few can make, and possessing the precision that no others can master.
From sniping on a rooftop in Baghdad to unknowingly being surrounded in a palm grove in the city of Hit, these stories will transport the reader right into the heat of the desert war, where one shot can make all the difference.
When Robert M. Gates received a call from the White House, he thought he’d long left Washington politics behind: After working for six presidents in both the CIA and the National Security Council, he was happily serving as president of Texas A&M University. But when he was asked to help a nation mired in two wars and to aid the troops doing the fighting, he answered what he felt was the call of duty.
Hit by near-daily mortars, gunfire, and roadside bomb attacks, suffering from a particularly heavy death toll, and enduring a chronic breakdown in leadership, members of one Black Heart platoon—1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion—descended, over their year-long tour of duty, into a tailspin of poor discipline, substance abuse, and brutality.
Four 1st Platoon soldiers would perpetrate one of the most heinous war crimes U.S. forces have committed during the Iraq War—the rape of a fourteen-year-old Iraqi girl and the cold-blooded execution of her and her family. Three other 1st Platoon soldiers would be overrun at a remote outpost—one killed immediately and two taken from the scene, their mutilated corpses found days later booby-trapped with explosives.
Black Hearts is an unflinching account of the epic, tragic deployment of 1st Platoon. Drawing on hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews with Black Heart soldiers and first-hand reporting from the Triangle of Death, Black Hearts is a timeless story about men in combat and the fragility of character in the savage crucible of warfare. But it is also a timely warning of new dangers emerging in the way American soldiers are led on the battlefields of the twenty-first century.
From the Hardcover edition.
Each man laden with 15 stone of equipment, they patrolled 20km across flat desert to reach their objective. Within days, their location was compromised. After a fierce fire fight, they were forced to escape and evade on foot to the Syrian border. In the desperate action that followed, though stricken by hypothermia and other injuries, the patrol 'went ballistic'. Four men were captured. Three died. Only one escaped. For the survivors, however, the worst ordeals were to come. Delivered to Baghdad, they were tortured with a savagery for which not even their intensive SAS training had prepared them.
Bravo Two Zero is a breathtaking account of Special Forces soldiering: a chronicle of superhuman courage, endurance and dark humour in the face of overwhelming odds.
We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding--"tribes." This tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society, but regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival.
Decades before the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin lamented that English settlers were constantly fleeing over to the Indians-but Indians almost never did the same. Tribal society has been exerting an almost gravitational pull on Westerners for hundreds of years, and the reason lies deep in our evolutionary past as a communal species. The most recent example of that attraction is combat veterans who come home to find themselves missing the incredibly intimate bonds of platoon life. The loss of closeness that comes at the end of deployment may explain the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by military veterans today.
Combining history, psychology, and anthropology, TRIBE explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal human quest for meaning. It explains the irony that-for many veterans as well as civilians-war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. TRIBE explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved even in today's divided world.
In Shooter, Coughlin has written a highly personal story about his deadly craft, taking readers deep inside an invisible society that is off-limits to outsiders. This is not a heroic battlefield memoir, but the careful study of an exceptional man as he carries forward one of the deadliest legacies in the U.S. military.
Fifteen months later, the soldiers returned home forever changed. Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter David Finkel was with them in Bagdad, and almost every grueling step of the way.
What was the true story of the surge? And was it really a success? Those are the questions he grapples with in his remarkable report from the front lines. Combining the action of Mark Bowden's Black Hawk Down with the literary brio of Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, The Good Soldiers is an unforgettable work of reportage. And in telling the story of these good soldiers, the heroes and the ruined, David Finkel has also produced an eternal tale—not just of the Iraq War, but of all wars, for all time.
As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons.
Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; JFK made it clear that platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was his favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived with a secret that needed to stay hidden from NASA. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, providing one another with support and friendship, coffee and cocktails.
As their celebrity rose-and as divorce and tragedy began to touch their lives-the wives continued to rally together, forming bonds that would withstand the test of time, and they have stayed friends for over half a century. THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB tells the story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history.
When the marines -- or "jarheads," as they call themselves -- were sent in 1990 to Saudi Arabia to fight the Iraqis, Swofford was there, with a hundred-pound pack on his shoulders and a sniper's rifle in his hands. It was one misery upon another. He lived in sand for six months, his girlfriend back home betrayed him for a scrawny hotel clerk, he was punished by boredom and fear, he considered suicide, he pulled a gun on one of his fellow marines, and he was shot at by both Iraqis and Americans. At the end of the war, Swofford hiked for miles through a landscape of incinerated Iraqi soldiers and later was nearly killed in a booby-trapped Iraqi bunker.
Swofford weaves this experience of war with vivid accounts of boot camp (which included physical abuse by his drill instructor), reflections on the mythos of the marines, and remembrances of battles with lovers and family. As engagement with the Iraqis draws closer, he is forced to consider what it is to be an American, a soldier, a son of a soldier, and a man.
Unlike the real-time print and television coverage of the Gulf War, which was highly scripted by the Pentagon, Swofford's account subverts the conventional wisdom that U.S. military interventions are now merely surgical insertions of superior forces that result in few American casualties. Jarhead insists we remember the Americans who are in fact wounded or killed, the fields of smoking enemy corpses left behind, and the continuing difficulty that American soldiers have reentering civilian life.
A harrowing yet inspiring portrait of a tormented consciousness struggling for inner peace, Jarhead will elbow for room on that short shelf of American war classics that includes Philip Caputo's A Rumor of War and Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, and be admired not only for the raw beauty of its prose but also for the depth of its pained heart.
On October 3, 2005, Kapacziewski and his soldiers were coming to the end of their tour in Northern Iraq when their convoy was attacked by enemy fighters. A grenade fell through the gunner's hatch and exploded, shattering Kapacziewski's right leg below the knee, damaging his right hip, and severing a nerve and artery in his right arm.
He endured more than forty surgeries, but his right leg still wasn't healing as he had hoped, so in March 2007, Kapacziewski chose to have it amputated with one goal in mind: to return to the line and serve alongside his fellow Rangers. One year after his surgery, Kapacziewski accomplished his goal: he was put back on the line, as a squad leader of his Army Ranger Regiment.
On April 19, 2010, during his ninth combat deployment (and fifth after losing his leg), Kapacziewski's patrol ran into an ambush outside a village in eastern Afghanistan. After a fellow Ranger fell to withering enemy fire, shot through the belly, Sergeant Kap and another soldier dragged him seventy-five yards to safety and administered first aid that saved his life while heavy machineguns tried to kill them. His actions earned him an Army Commendation Medal with "V" for Valor. He had previously been awarded a Bronze Star for Valor—and a total of three Purple Hearts for combat wounds.
Back in the Fight is an inspiring and thrilling tale readers will never forget.
In the world of covert warfare, Special Operations pilots are notoriously close- lipped about what they do. They don't talk about their missions to anyone outside their small community. But now, Michael J. Durant and Steven Hartov shed fascinating light on the mysterious elite commandos known as SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment) and take readers into a shadowy world of combat they have only imagined.
The harrowing, true account from the brave men on the ground who fought back during the Battle of Benghazi.
13 HOURS presents, for the first time ever, the true account of the events of September 11, 2012, when terrorists attacked the US State Department Special Mission Compound and a nearby CIA station called the Annex in Benghazi, Libya. A team of six American security operators fought to repel the attackers and protect the Americans stationed there. Those men went beyond the call of duty, performing extraordinary acts of courage and heroism, to avert tragedy on a much larger scale. This is their personal account, never before told, of what happened during the thirteen hours of that now-infamous attack.
13 HOURS sets the record straight on what happened during a night that has been shrouded in mystery and controversy. Written by New York Times bestselling author Mitchell Zuckoff, this riveting book takes readers into the action-packed story of heroes who laid their lives on the line for one another, for their countrymen, and for their country.
13 HOURS is a stunning, eye-opening, and intense book--but most importantly, it is the truth. The story of what happened to these men--and what they accomplished--is unforgettable.
Afghanistan, these two former roommates and best friends were now buried together—“brothers forever.”
Award-winning journalist Tom Sileo and Travis's father, Colonel Tom Manion, USMCR (Ret.), tell the intimate and personal story of how these Naval Academy roommates defined a generation's sacrifice in Afghanistan and Iraq. From Travis's incredible bravery on the streets of Fallujah to Brendan's anguished SEAL training in the wake of his friend's death and later acts of heroism in the mountains of Afghanistan, Brothers Forever is a remarkable story of war and friendship.
Armored cars, burner phones, top-notch weaponry and top-secret missions--this is the life of today's private military contractor. Like author Simon Chase, many PMCs were once the world's top military operatives, and since retiring from outfits like US Navy SEAL TEAM Six and the UK's Special Boat Service, they have devoted their lives to executing sensitive and hazardous missions overseas.
Working at the request of U.S. and British government entities as well as for private clients, he takes on jobs that require "zero footprint," with no trace of their actions left behind.
Chase delivers first-hand accounts of tracking Bin Laden in Afghanistan and being one of the first responders after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. We see his teams defuse terrorist bombs, guard dignitaries, and protect convoys traveling through perilous territory--and then there are the really big jobs: top-secret "zero footprint" missions that include searching for High Value Targets and setting up arms shipping networks.
The missions in Zero Footprint will shock readers, but so will the personal dangers. Chase and the men he works with operate without government backup or air rescue. If they die serving their country--they remain anonymous. There are no military honors or benefits. Contractors like Simon Chase are the unsung heroes in the war against terrorism, a strong, but largely invisible force--until now.
A civilian contractor who had spent years training U.S. military members to resist interrogation should they be captured, Mitchell, aware of the urgent need to prevent impending catastrophic attacks, worked with the CIA to implement "enhanced interrogation techniques"--which included waterboarding.
In Enhanced Interrogation, Mitchell now offers a first-person account of the EIT program, providing a contribution to our historical understanding of one of the most controversial elements of America's ongoing war on terror. Readers will follow him inside the secretive "black sites" and cells of terrorists and terror suspects where he personally applied enhanced interrogation techniques.
Mitchell personally questioned thirteen of the most senior high-value detainees in U.S. custody, including Abu Zubaydah; Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the amir or "commander" of the USS Cole bombing; and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001, terror attacks--obtaining information that he maintains remains essential to winning the war against al-Qa'ida and informing our strategy to defeat ISIS and all of radical Islam.
From the interrogation program's earliest moments to its darkest hours, Mitchell also lifts the curtain on its immediate effects, the controversy surrounding its methods, and its downfall. He shares his view that EIT, when applied correctly, were useful in drawing detainees to cooperate, and that, when applied incorrectly, they were counter-productive. He also chronicles what it is like to undertake a several-years-long critical mission at the request of the government only to be hounded for nearly a decade afterward by congressional investigations and Justice Department prosecutors.
Gripping in its detail and deeply illuminating, Enhanced Interrogation argues that it is necessary for America to take strong measures to defend itself from its enemies and that the country is less safe now without them than it was before 9/11.
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.
One of the Best Books of the Year:
New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Boston Globe, and Time
An instant classic of war reporting, The Forever War is the definitive account of America's conflict with Islamic fundamentalism and a searing exploration of its human costs. Through the eyes of Filkins, a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, we witness the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s, the aftermath of the attack on New York on September 11th, and the American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Filkins is the only American journalist to have reported on all these events, and his experiences are conveyed in a riveting narrative filled with unforgettable characters and astonishing scenes.
Brilliant and fearless, The Forever War is not just about America's wars after 9/11, but about the nature of war itself.
As A SEAL and combat medic, Mark served his country with valorous distinction for almost twenty-five years and survived some of the most dangerous combat actions imaginable.
From the rigors of BUD/S training to the horrors of the battlefield, Battle Ready dramatically immerses the reader in the unique life of the elite warrior-medic who advances into combat with life-saving equipment in one hand and life-taking weapons in the other. It is also an uplifting human story that reveals how a young Hispanic American bootstrapped himself out of a life that promised a dead-end future by enlisting in the military. That new life begins with the Marines and includes his heroic achievements on the battlefield and the operating table, and finally, of his inspirational triumph over the demons caused by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that threatened to destroy him and his family.
American Sniper by Chris Kyle - A 20-minute Summary
Inside this Instaread Summary:
• Overview of the entire book
• Introduction to the important people in the book
• Summary and analysis of all the chapters in the book
• Key Takeaways of the book
• A Reader's Perspective
Preview of this summary:Chapter 1
Kyle grew up in central Texas. He loved to hunt and ride horses and would have been a cowboy if he had not become a member of the Navy Sea, Air, Land Teams (SEAL). He had a lot of fun hunting with his mom, dad, and brother as a child. His dad and brother were his best friends growing up.
Kyle learned true patience by learning to break a horse. He got involved in rodeo competitions to quench his thirst for being a cowboy. In 1992, he graduated and went to Tarleton State University with aspirations to join the military afterward. An accident in his freshman year ended his rodeo career when he had to have pins put in his wrist. He became a ranch hand for a man named David Landrum while he was still a student. Landrum’s strict expectations made Kyle want to prove himself. Kyle believes this prepared him to become a Navy SEAL.
Kyle decided to quit school and join the military. He learned about the SEALs and wanted to become one. He investigated the opportunity further and learned that there was no guarantee he would become a SEAL if he joined the Navy. He would need to earn the privilege. Kyle went through the application process, but the Navy disqualified him because of the pins in his wrist. He felt his military career had ended before it began. He went back to work for Landrum and hoped to become a rancher. Shortly afterward, a recruiter called and asked if he was still interested in becoming a SEAL.
Corporal Dunham was on patrol near the Syrian border, on April 14, 2004, when a black-clad Iraqi leaped out of a car and grabbed him around his neck. Fighting hand-to-hand in the dirt, Dunham saw his attacker drop a grenade and made the instantaneous decision to place his own helmet over the explosive in the hope of containing the blast and protecting his men. When the smoke cleared, Dunham’s helmet was in shreds, and the corporal lay face down in his own blood. The Marines beside him were seriously wounded. Dunham was subsequently nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation’ s highest award for military valor.
Phillips’s minute-by-minute chronicle of the chaotic fighting that raged throughout the area and culminated in Dunham’s injury provides a grunt’s-eye view of war as it’s being fought today—fear, confusion, bravery, and suffering set against a brotherhood forged in combat. His account of Dunham’s eight-day journey home and of his parents’ heartrending reunion with their son powerfully illustrates the cold brutality of war and the fragile humanity of those who fight it. Dunham leaves an indelible mark upon all who know his story, from the doctors and nurses who treat him, to the readers of the original Wall Street Journal article that told of his singular act of valor.
Along the way, they endured a U.S .Navy F-14 dropping a 500-pound bomb on supporting Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, the ever-present threat of WMDs, and countless other deadly obstacles.
This is the never-before-told, unsanitized story of how one Special Forces A-team recruited and organized, trained and eventually fought—and won—a legendary conflict that will influence American military doctrine for years to come.
Victory Point reveals the complete, as-yet untold, story of Operation Red Wings (often mis-referenced as "Operation Redwing"), and the follow-on mission, Operation Whalers. Together, these two U.S. Marine Corps operations (that in the case of Red Wings utilized Navy SEALs for its opening phase) unfurl not as a mission gone terribly wrong, but of a complex and difficult campaign that ultimately saw the demise of Ahmad Shan and his small army of barbarous fighters.
Due to the valor, courage, and commitment of the 2nd Battalion of the 3rd Marine Regiment in the summer of 2005, Afghanistan was able to hold free elections that Fall. Here is the inspiring true account of heroism, duty, and brotherhood between Marines fighting the War on Terror.
At the time, John Nixon was a senior CIA leadership analyst who had spent years studying the Iraqi dictator. Called upon to make the official ID, Nixon looked for telltale scars and tribal tattoos and asked Hussein a list of questions only he could answer. The man was indeed Saddam Hussein, but as Nixon learned in the ensuing weeks, both he and America had greatly misunderstood just who Saddam Hussein really was.
Debriefing the President presents an astounding, candid portrait of one of our era’s most notorious strongmen. Nixon, the first man to conduct a prolonged interrogation of Hussein after his capture, offers expert insight into the history and mind of America’s most enigmatic enemy. After years of parsing Hussein’s leadership from afar, Nixon faithfully recounts his debriefing sessions and subsequently strips away the mythology surrounding an equally brutal and complex man. His account is not an apology, but a sobering examination of how preconceived ideas led Washington policymakers—and the Bush White House—astray. Unflinching and unprecedented, Debriefing the President exposes a fundamental misreading of one of the modern world’s most central figures and presents a new narrative that boldly counters the received account.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
October 2006: The world finds out why.
What was really behind the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq? As George W. Bush steered the nation to war, who spoke the truth and who tried to hide it? Hubris takes us behind the scenes at the Bush White House, the CIA, the Pentagon, the State Department, and Congress to answer all the vital questions about how the Bush administration came to invade Iraq.
Filled with new revelations, Hubris is a gripping narrative of intrigue that connects the dots between George W. Bush’s expletive-laden outbursts at Saddam Hussein, the bitter battles between the CIA and the White House, the fights within the intelligence community over Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, the startling influence of an obscure academic on top government officials, the real reason Valerie Plame was outed, and a top reporter’s ties to wily Iraqi exiles trying to start a war. Written by veteran reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn, this is the inside story of how President Bush took the nation to war using faulty and fraudulent intelligence. It is a news-making account of conspiracy, backstabbing, bureaucratic ineptitude, journalistic malfeasance, and, especially, arrogance.
From the Hardcover edition.
When Chuck Gross left for Vietnam in 1970, he was a nineteen-year-old Army helicopter pilot fresh out of flight school. He spent his entire Vietnam tour with the 71st Assault Helicopter Company flying UH-1 Huey helicopters. Soon after the war he wrote down his adventures, while his memory was still fresh with the events. Rattler One-Seven (his call sign) is written as Gross experienced it, using these notes along with letters written home to accurately preserve the mindset he had while in Vietnam.
During his tour Gross flew Special Operations for the MACV-SOG, inserting secret teams into Laos. He notes that Americans were left behind alive in Laos, when official policy at home stated that U.S. forces were never there.
He also participated in Lam Son 719, a misbegotten attempt by the ARVN to assault and cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail with U.S. Army helicopter support. It was the largest airmobile campaign of the war and marked the first time that the helicopter was used in mid-intensity combat, with disastrous results. Pilots in their early twenties, with young gunners and a Huey full of ARVN soldiers, took on experienced North Vietnamese antiaircraft artillery gunners, with no meaningful intelligence briefings or a rational plan on how to cut the Trail. More than one hundred helicopters were lost and more than six hundred aircraft sustained combat damage. Gross himself was shot down and left in the field during one assault. Rattler One-Seven will appeal to those interested in the Vietnam War and to all armed forces, especially aviators, who have served for their country.
Brian Castner served three tours of duty in the Middle East, two of them as the commander of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit in Iraq. Days and nights he and his team—his brothers—would venture forth in heavily armed convoys from their Forward Operating Base to engage in the nerve-racking yet strangely exhilarating work of either disarming the deadly improvised explosive devices that had been discovered, or picking up the pieces when the alert came too late. They relied on an army of remote-controlled cameras and robots, but if that technology failed, a technician would have to don the eighty-pound Kevlar suit, take the Long Walk up to the bomb, and disarm it by hand. This lethal game of cat and mouse was, and continues to be, the real war within America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But The Long Walk is not just about battle itself. It is also an unflinching portrayal of the toll war exacts on the men and women who are fighting it. When Castner returned home to his wife and family, he began a struggle with a no less insidious foe, an unshakable feeling of fear and confusion and survivor’s guilt that he terms The Crazy. His thrilling, heartbreaking, stunningly honest book immerses the reader in two harrowing and simultaneous realities: the terror and excitement and camaraderie of combat, and the lonely battle against the enemy within—the haunting memories that will not fade, the survival instincts that will not switch off. After enduring what he has endured, can there ever again be such a thing as “normal”? The Long Walk will hook you from the very first sentence, and it will stay with you long after its final gripping page has been turned.
From the Hardcover edition.
Enter a blood-soaked world of South African mercenaries and tribal fighters backed by ruthless financiers. Drop into Baghdad’s Green Zone, strap on body armor, and take a daily high-speed ride with a doomed crew of security contractors who dodge car bombs and snipers just to get their charges to the airport. Share a drink in a chic hotel bar with wealthy owners of private armies who debate the best way to stay alive in war zones.
Licensed to Kill spans four continents and three years, taking us inside the CIA’s dirty wars; the brutal contractor murders in Fallujah and the Alamo-like sieges in Najaf and Al Kut; the Deep South contractor training camps where ex–Special Operations soldiers and even small town cops learn the ropes; the contractor conventions where macho attendees swap bullet-punctuated tales and discuss upcoming gigs; and the grim Central African prison where contractors turned failed mercenaries pay a steep price.
The United States has encouraged the use of the private sector in all facets of the War on Terror, placing contractors outside the bounds of functional legal constraints. With the shocking clarity that can come only from firsthand observation, Licensed to Kill painstakingly deconstructs the most controversial events and introduces the pivotal players. Most disturbingly, it shows that there are indeed thousands of contractors—with hundreds more being produced every month—who’ve been given a license to kill, their services available to the highest bidder.
From the Hardcover edition.
In May 2003 President George W. Bush appointed Paul Bremer as presidential envoy to Iraq. Bremer banned the Ba’ath party and dismantled the Iraqi army, which made him the prime target for dozens of insurgent and terrorist groups. Assigned to protect him during his grueling sixteen-hour days were Blackwater security expert Frank Gallagher and a team of former Marines, SEALs, and other defense professionals. When they arrived, Baghdad was set to explode. As the insurgency gathered strength Bremer and the men who guarded him faced death daily. They were not in the military, but Gallagher and his team were on the front lines of the Iraq War. This fascinating memoir takes the reader deep behind the scenes of a highly dangerous profession.
This ebook includes ten pages of action photos from the author’s time in Baghdad.
Colonel Infanti assigned Delta Company to the most dangerous sector of the Triangle, a five-mile stretch of road that paralleled the Euphrates River in a series of blind s-curves where death stalked the Americans day and night. Delta knew they were virtually assured of getting hit on a daily basis. Each day and night became something to be dreaded and feared, exacting a heavy psychological toll on soldiers stressed to the limits of their mental and physical endurance.
In the predawn of May 12, 2007, two Humvees occupied by seven soldiers and an Iraqi translator were ambushed by insurgents. When the smoke cleared, four soldiers and the translator were dead and three were missing, presumably seized by the enemy. For over a year, Delta searched for their missing comrades, never giving up hope. Their creed of battle: None Left Behind
The riveting true story of the women who launched America into space.
In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they didn't turn to male graduates. Rather, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible.
For the first time, Rise of the Rocket Girls tells the stories of these women--known as "human computers"--who broke the boundaries of both gender and science. Based on extensive research and interviews with all the living members of the team, Rise of the Rocket Girls offers a unique perspective on the role of women in science: both where we've been, and the far reaches of space to which we're heading.
The Assassins' Gate also describes the place of the war in American life: the ideological battles in Washington that led to chaos in Iraq, the ordeal of a fallen soldier's family, and the political culture of a country too bitterly polarized to realize such a vast and morally complex undertaking. George Packer's first-person narrative combines the scope of an epic history with the depth and intimacy of a novel, creating a masterful account of America's most controversial foreign venture since Vietnam.
Because so few of us now serve in the military, our men and women in uniform have become strangers to us. We stand up at athletic events to honor them, but we hardly know their true measure. Here, Starbucks CEO and longtime veterans’ advocate Howard Schultz and National Book Award finalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran of The Washington Post offer an enlightening, inspiring corrective.
The authors honor acts of uncommon valor in Iraq and Afghanistan, including an Army sergeant who repeatedly runs through a storm of gunfire to save the lives of his wounded comrades; two Marines who sacrifice their lives to halt an oncoming truck bomb and protect thirty-three of their brothers in arms; a sixty-year-old doctor who joins the Navy to honor his fallen son.
We also see how veterans make vital contributions once they return home, drawing on their leadership skills and commitment to service: former soldiers who aid residents in rebuilding after natural disasters; a former infantry officer who trades in a Pentagon job to teach in an inner-city neighborhood; a retired general leading efforts to improve treatments for brain-injured troops; the spouse of a severely injured soldier assisting families in similar positions.
These powerful, unforgettable stories demonstrate just how indebted we are to those who protect us and what they have to offer our nation when their military service is done.
War is hell…but sometimes it’s also funny as hell.
Combat and Other Shenanigans is Lieutenant Piers Platt’s firsthand account of his year as a cavalry platoon leader during the Iraq War. Wry, action-packed, and poignant, Combat and Other Shenanigans is the absurd-but-true story of the antics the world’s finest soldiers get up to when no one high-ranking is watching.
“Few war stories are both comical and serious, but this one-year memoir is unique.”
-Crystal Book Reviews
“An honest account of one officer's tour in Iraq. 5 stars.”
-John P. Jones
“Everything about Platt's writing felt authentic. I liked that his experiences really did translate from life to the page and into the reader's mind. Great read.”
-Texas Book Nook
Subjects: Iraq War, War Memoir, Humor, Funny, Military History, War on Terror, Biographies & Memoirs - Military, Leaders and Notable People, Veterans, History - Middle East - Iraq, History - United States - Iraq War.
The Iraq war officially began on March 20, 2003, and since then more than one million young Americans have rotated through the country's insurgent-infested hot spots. But although stories of dramatic ambushes and attacks dominate the front pages of newspapers, most of us do not truly know what the war is like for the Americans who fight it.
What Was Asked of Us helps us bridge that gap. The in-depth and intensely probing interviews this book brings together document the soldiers' experiences and darkest secrets, offering a multitude of authentic, unfiltered voices - at times raw and emotional, at other times eloquent and lyrical. These voices walk us through the war, from the successful push to Baghdad, through the erroneous "Mission Accomplished" moment, and into the dangerous, murky present.
"Monumental. . . . Amid the glut of policy debates, and amid the flurry of news reports that add names each day to the lists of the dead, Trish Wood has produced what is perhaps, to date, the only text about Iraq that matter."- San Francisco Chronicle
"An illuminating glimpse of American fighters' experiences in Iraq. . . . There are moments of strange beauty in the soldiers' recollections." -Chicago Tribune
"Stunning . . . chillingly eloquent. . . . Powerful and unflinchingly honest, Wood's book deserves to be a bestseller." -People
In this action-packed page-turner, Ashcroft reveals the dangers of his adrenalin-fuelled life as a security contractor in Baghdad, where private soldiers outnumber non-US Coalition forces in a war that is slowly being privatised. From blow-by-blow accounts of days under mortar bombardment to revelations about life operating deep within the Iraqi community, Ashcroft shares the real, unsanitised story of the war in Iraq - and its aftermath - direct from the front line.
Within hours of their arrival in Iraq, a grenade bounced off one of the battalion's Land Rovers, rolled underneath and detonated. The ambush marked the beginning of a full-scale firefight during which Mills killed a man with a round that removed his assailant's head. It was going to be a long tour.
Like some post-apocalyptic "Mad Max" nightmare, the place had gone to hell in a handbasket. Temperatures on the ground often topped 120 degrees Fahrenheit, sewage systems had long since packed up, and the stench of cooking waste and piles of festering garbage grew wherever you looked. Throat-burning winds, blast bombs and well-trained, well-organized militias armed with AKs, RPGs and a limitless supply of mortar rounds were the icing on the cake.
If any of Mills's eighteen-man sniper platoon had thought that the people of Al Amarah were going to welcome them with open arms, they were rapidly forced to reconsider. For the next six months, isolated, besieged and under constant fire, the battalion refused to give an inch.
Sniper One is a breathtaking chronicle of endurance, camaraderie, dark humor and courage in the face of relentless, lethal assault.
The creation of the first weapon in history whose operators can stalk and kill an enemy on the other side of the globe was far more than clever engineering. As Richard Whittle shows in Predator, it was one of the most profound developments in the history of military and aerospace technology.
Once considered fragile toys, drones were long thought to be of limited utility. The Predator itself was resisted at nearly every turn by the military establishment, but a few iconoclasts refused to see this new technology smothered at birth. The remarkable cast of characters responsible for developing the Predator includes a former Israeli inventor who turned his Los Angeles garage into a drone laboratory, two billionaire brothers marketing a futuristic weapon to help combat Communism, a pair of fighter pilots willing to buck their white-scarf fraternity, a cunning Pentagon operator nicknamed "Snake," and a secretive Air Force organization known as Big Safari. When an Air Force team unleashed the first lethal drone strikes in 2001 for the CIA, the military's view of drones changed nearly overnight.
Based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews, Predator reveals the dramatic inside story of the creation of a revolutionary weapon that forever changed the way we wage war and opened the door to a new age in aviation.
Colonel Sean MacFarland's brigade arrived in Iraq's deadliest city with simple instructions: pacify Ramadi without destroying it. The odds were against him from the start. In fact, few thought he would succeed. Ramadi had been going steadily downhill. By 2006, insurgents roamed freely in many parts of the city in open defiance of Iraq's U.S.-backed government. Al-Qaeda had boldly declared Ramadi its capital. Even the U.S. military acknowledged the province would be the last to be pacified.
A lanky officer with a boyish face, MacFarland was no Patton. But his soft voice masked an iron will and a willingness to take risks. While most of the American military was focused on taming Baghdad, MacFarland laid out a bold plan for Ramadi. His soldiers would take on the insurgents in their own backyard. He set up combat outposts in the city's most dangerous neighborhoods. Snipers roamed the dark streets, killing al-Qaeda leaders and terrorist cells. U.S. tanks rumbled down the streets, firing point blank into buildings occupied by insurgents. MacFarland's brigade engaged in some of the bloodiest street fighting of the war. Casualties on both sides mounted. Al-Qaeda wasn't going to give up easily. Ramadi was too important. MacFarland wasn't going to back down either.
The two sides had fought to a stalemate.
At least until Sheik Abdul Sattar Bezia al-Rishawi emerged. A minor tribal leader, Sheik Sattar had earned his reputation as a smuggler. He carried a large six-shooter on his hip and had a taste for whiskey. But he hated al-Qaeda and was watching MacFarland's brigade as they battled militants toe-to-toe. This was a different group of Americans, Sattar thought. Sattar approached MacFarland and said he was ready to join with the Americans and fight al-Qaeda. Other officers might have kept their distance. MacFarland didn't hesitate. He promised Sattar his support.
What followed was one of history's unlikeliest -- and most successful -- partnerships. Together, the Americans and Sattar's growing band of fighters drove al-Qaeda from Ramadi. A Chance in Hell is compelling tale of combat leadership and how a handful of men turned the tide of war at a time when it looked most hopeless.
The Japanese defeats at Midway and Guadalcanal decided the outcome of the Pacific War. Guadalcanal was the classic three-dimensional campaign. On land, at sea, and in the air, fierce battles were fought with both sides stretching their supplies and equipment to the breaking point. The campaign lasted six months, involved nearly one million men, and stopped Japanese expansion in the Pacific.
When the campaign began on August 7, 1942, no one on either side quite knew how to conduct it, as Eric Hammel shows in this masterly account. Guadalcanal: Starvation hand corrects numerous errors and omissions in the official records that have been perpetuated in all the books previously published about the campaign. Hammel also draws on the recollections of more than 100 participants on both sides, especially the enlisted men at the sharp end. Their words bring us into the heart of the battle and portray the fighting accurately, realistically, andvery powerfully.Guadalcanal: Starvation Island follows the men and the commanders of this decisive World War II campaign in an integrated, brilliantly told narrative of the desperate struggle at sea, on land, and in the air.
Praise for Guadalcanal: Starvation Island and Eric Hammel
“A comprehensive history of the Guadalcanal Campaign . . . [and] a well‑balanced account. Well written and fast moving.” —Marine Corps Gazette
“Hammel has written the most comprehensive popular account to date . . . and exposes controversial aspects often passed over,” —Publishers Weekly
“Hammel takes the reader behind the scenes and details how decisions were made . . . and how they impacted on the troops carrying them out. He tells the story in a very human way.” —Leatherneck Magazine
“A splendid record of this decisive campaign. Hammel offers a wealth of fresh material drawn from archival records and the recollections of 100‑odd surviving participants. . . . A praiseworthy contribution to Guadalcanal lore.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Hammel’s ability to reveal both the immediacy and the humanity of war without judgment or bias makes all his books both readable and scholarly. —San Francisco Chronicle“Hammel does not write dry history. His battle sequences are masterfully portrayed. —Library Journal
Finish Forty and Home, by Phil Scearce, is the true story of the men and missions of the 11th Bombardment Group as it fought alone and unheralded in the South Central Pacific, while America had its eyes on the war in Europe. The book opens with Sgt. Herman Scearce, the author's father, lying about his age to join the Army Air Corps at 16. The narrative follows Scearce through training and into combat with his new crewmates, including pilot Lt. Joe Deasy, whose last-minute transfer from training duty thrusts the new crew into the squadron commander's role.
After bombing Nauru, the squadron moves on to bomb Wake Island, Tarawa, and finally Iwo Jima. These missions bring American forces closer and closer to the Japanese home islands and precede the critical American invasions of Tarawa and Iwo Jima. The 42nd Squadron's losses through 1943 were staggering: 50 out of 110 airmen killed.
Phil Scearce explores the context of the war and sets the stage for these daring missions, revealing the motivations of the men who flew them: to finish forty combat missions and make it home again. He based his story upon substantial research at the Air Force Historical Research Agency and the National Archives, interviews with surviving airmen, and interviews and correspondence with the survivors of men who were lost. His is the first book to document America's bomber offensive in the early days of the Pacific War.
WINNER, 2009, MILITARY-WRITERS BOOK OF THE YEAR
May 6, 1986: Nick Popaditch arrives at the Receiving Barracks, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California.
April 9, 2003: An AP photographer captures a striking image seen around the world of the Gunny Sergeant smoking a victory cigar in his tank, the haunting statue of Saddam Hussein hovering in the background. Popaditch is immortalized forever as "The Cigar Marine."
April 6, 2004: The tanker fights heroically in the battle for Fallujah and suffers grievous head wounds that leave him legally blind and partially deaf. The USMC awards him with a Silver Star for his valor and combat innovation.
April 18, 2004: "Gunny Pop" comes home to face the toughest fight of his life-a battle to remain the man and Marine he was. This is the central drama of Nick's inspiring memoir, Once a Marine: An Iraq War Tank Commander's Inspirational Memoir of Combat, Courage, and Recovery.
Readers in and out of the military will stand up and cheer for this valiant Marine's Marine, a man who embodies everything noble and proud in the Corps' long tradition. Never has modern mechanized combat seemed so immediate and real, or the fight in Iraq seemed so human and worth believing in.
At first, Nick fights to get back to where he was in Iraq-in the cupola of an M1A1 main battle tank, leading Marines in combat at the point of the spear. As the seriousness and permanence of his disabilities become more evident, Nick fights to remain in the Corps in any capacity, to help the brothers in arms he so aches to rejoin. Facing the inevitable following a medical retirement, he battles for rightful recognition and compensation for his permanent disabilities. Throughout his harrowing ordeal, Nick fights to maintain his honor and loyalty, waging all these battles the same way-the Marine way-because anything less would be a betrayal of all he holds dear.
The real triumph in Once a Marine is its previously untold, behind-the-scenes tale of the day-to-day life of a career Marine noncommissioned staff officer. In most books and movies, a "Gunny" is little more than a cardboard character. Nick's portrayal is a man complete: a husband and father, as well as a warrior and a molder of young warriors. He reveals himself completely, something no memoirist in his position has ever done before. This includes our very personal introduction to his wife April, whose heroics in the story equal Nick's, together with dozens of others who, as Sgt. Popaditch writes, gave so much, so selflessly and freely, to him. Like the man himself, Once a Marine is full of gratitude and refreshingly free of false bravado and braggadocio.
All Americans, of all political persuasions, have a duty to meet this courageous and admirable fighting man, an exemplar of all our military men and women who give so much out of love for their nation. Meeting Gunny Sergeant Popaditch through the pages of his inspirational memoir offers up new reasons to be proud and shoulder our own responsibilities as Americans.
Once a Marine will instantly take its place among outstanding combat classics. And once you read this remarkable and uplifting book, The Marine's Hymn will never sound the same.
They came together, citizen soldiers, in the summer of 1942, drawn to Airborne by the $50 monthly bonus and a desire to be better than the other guy. And at its peak—in Holland and the Ardennes—Easy Company was as good a rifle company as any in the world.
From the rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the disbanding in 1945, Stephen E. Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company. In combat, the reward for a job well done is the next tough assignment, and as they advanced through Europe, the men of Easy kept getting the tough assignments.
They parachuted into France early D-Day morning and knocked out a battery of four 105 mm cannon looking down Utah Beach; they parachuted into Holland during the Arnhem campaign; they were the Battered Bastards of the Bastion of Bastogne, brought in to hold the line, although surrounded, in the Battle of the Bulge; and then they spearheaded the counteroffensive. Finally, they captured Hitler's Bavarian outpost, his Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden.
They were rough-and-ready guys, battered by the Depression, mistrustful and suspicious. They drank too much French wine, looted too many German cameras and watches, and fought too often with other GIs. But in training and combat they learned selflessness and found the closest brotherhood they ever knew. They discovered that in war, men who loved life would give their lives for them.
This is the story of the men who fought, of the martinet they hated who trained them well, and of the captain they loved who led them. E Company was a company of men who went hungry, froze, and died for each other, a company that took 150 percent casualties, a company where the Purple Heart was not a medal—it was a badge of office.
But for the Dauntless dive-bomber crews of the USS Enterprise returning to their home base on Oahu, it was a morning from hell. Flying directly into the Japanese ambush at Pearl Harbor, they lost a third of their squadron and witnessed the heart of America’s Navy broken and smoldering on the oil-slicked waters below.
The next six months, from Pearl Harbor to the Battle of Midway—a dark time during which the Japanese scored victory after victory—this small band of aviators saw almost constant deployment, intense carrier combat, and fearsome casualties. Many were killed by enemy Zero fighters, antiaircraft fire, or deadly crash landings in the Pacific, while others were captured and spent years in POW camps. Yet the Enterprise’s Dauntless crews would be the first to strike an offensive blow against Japanese installations in the Marshall Islands, would be the first to sink a Japanese warship, and would shepherd the Doolittle Raiders’ bombing of Tokyo.
Not until Midway, though, would Dauntless crews get the chance to settle the score. In June 1942, Japan mobilized the best of its Navy to draw out the smaller American carrier fleet for a final showdown designed to destroy the U.S. Navy once and for all. What they didn’t anticipate was the gutsy dive-bombing pilots and gunners whose courage and skill would change the course of World War II.
Drawing on dozens of new interviews and oral histories, author Stephen L. Moore brings to life inspiring stories of individual sacrifice and bravery—and the sweeping saga of one of America’s greatest triumphs.
In this follow-up to their national bestseller Cobra II, Michael Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor deftly piece together the story of the most widely reported but least understood war in American history. This stunning account of the political and military struggle between American, Iraqi, and Iranian forces brings together vivid reporting of diplomatic intrigue and gripping accounts of the blow-by-blow fighting that lasted nearly a decade. Informed by brilliant research and extensive interviews with key figures—including everyone from the intelligence community to Sunni and Shi’ite leaders and former insurgents to senior Iraqi military officers—The Endgame presents a riveting chronicle of the occupation of Iraq to the withdrawal of American troops that is sure to remain the essential account of the war for years to come.
This E-book edition also contains a new Appendix collecting twenty-three classified documents, with commentary, that shed new light on some of the military’s crucial mistakes and missed opportunities.
Raised in a tiny blue-collar town in Ohio, Jeremiah Workman was a handsome and athletic high achiever. Having excelled on the sporting field, he believed that the Marine Corps would be the perfect way to harness his physical and professional drives.
In the Iraqi city of Fallujah in December 2004, Workman faced the challenge that would change his life. He and his platoon were searching for hidden caches of weapons and mopping up die-hard insurgent cells when they came upon a building in which a team of fanatical insurgents had their fellow Marines trapped. Leading repeated assaults on that building, Workman killed more than twenty of the enemy in a ferocious firefight that left three of his own men dead.
But Workman’s most difficult fight lay ahead of him–in the battlefield of his mind. Burying his guilt about the deaths of his men, he returned stateside, where he was decorated for valor and then found himself assigned to the Marine base at Parris Island as a “Kill Hat”: a drill instructor with the least seniority and the most brutal responsibilities. He was instructed, only half in jest, to push his untested recruits to the brink of suicide. Haunted by the thought that he had failed his men overseas, Workman cracked, suffering a psychological breakdown in front of the men he was charged with leading and preparing for war.
In Shadow of the Sword, a memoir that brilliantly captures both wartime courage and its lifelong consequences, Workman candidly reveals the ordeal of post-traumatic stress disorder: the therapy and drug treatments that deadened his mind even as they eased his pain, the overwhelming stress that pushed his marriage to the brink, and the confrontations with anger and self-blame that he had internalized for years.
Having fought through the worst of his trials–and now the father of a young son–Workman has found not perfection or a panacea but a way to accommodate his traumas and to move forward toward hope, love, and reconciliation.
From the Hardcover edition.
John Crawford joined the Florida National Guard to pay for his college tuition, willingly exchanging one weekend a month and two weeks a year for a free education. But in Autumn 2002, one semester short of graduating and newly married—in fact, on his honeymoon—he was called to active duty and sent to the front lines in Iraq.
Crawford and his unit spent months upon months patrolling the streets of Baghdad, occupying a hostile city. During the breaks between patrols, Crawford began recording what he and his fellow soldiers witnessed and experienced. Those stories became The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell—a haunting and powerful, compellingly honest book that imparts the on-the-ground reality of waging the war in Iraq, and marks as the introduction of a mighty literary voice forged in the most intense of circumstances.
As a commander of Delta Force-the most elite counter—terrorist organization in the world—Pete Blaber took part in some of the most dangerous, controversial, and significant military and political events of our time. Now he takes his intimate knowledge of warfare—and the heart, mind, and spirit it takes to win—and moves his focus from the combat zone to civilian life.
As the smoke clears from exciting stories about never-before-revealed top-secret missions that were executed all over the globe, readers will emerge wiser, more capable, and more ready for life's personal victories than they ever thought possible.