Born into a family with a long history of military service dating back to the Revolutionary War, Andrew Exum enrolled in Army ROTC to pay for his Ivy League education. Shortly after graduation in 2000, he joined the infantry, then endured the grueling rigors of Ranger School before becoming a platoon leader with the storied 10th Mountain Division. He thought that perhaps, if he was lucky, he and his men would see action on a peacekeeping mission. Then came the fateful events of September 11, 2001.
Called to action as a twenty-three-year-old, he led his troops into Afghanistan to root out the hard-core remnants of Osama bin Laden’s forces. Thrown into the maelstrom of modern war, Exum contended with Afghani warlords, cable news correspondents, and the military bureaucracy while hunting a desperate enemy in a treacherous land—and on a mountain ridge in the Shah-e-Kot Valley he would confront and kill an al-Qaeda fighter. After returning home, Exum struggled to come to terms with the media coverage and public perception of the war while seeking to make peace with the man he had become.
By turns harrowing and reflective, this powerful memoir gives voice to a generation of soldiers that has risen to confront the threats of a dangerous new world.
Army Special Forces Major Jim Gant changed the face of America’s war effort in Afghanistan. A decorated Green Beret who spent years in Afghanistan and Iraq training indigenous fighters, Gant argued for embedding autonomous units with tribes across Afghanistan to earn the Afghans’ trust and transform them into a reliable ally with whom we could defeat the Taliban and counter al-Qaeda networks. The military's top brass, including General David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, approved, and Gant was tasked with implementing his controversial strategy.
Veteran war correspondent Ann Scott Tyson first spoke with Gant when he was awarded the Silver Star in 2007. Tyson soon came to share Gant’s vision, so she accompanied him to Afghanistan, risking her life to embed with the tribes and chronicle their experience. And then they fell in love.
Illustrated with dozens of photographs, American Spartan is their remarkable story—one of the most riveting, emotional narratives of wartime ever published.