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The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan Hardcover – January 19, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 796 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The early, relatively heroic days of the conflict in Afghanistan are memorialized in this engrossing if glamorized war saga. Blehm (The Last Season, a B&N Discover Award winner) follows the exploits of Capt. Jason Amerine's Special Forces team Alpha 574, which choppered into Afghanistan in November 2001 to help future Afghan president Hamid Karzai organize anti-Taliban insurgents in the south. The team's mission—to turn chaotic and perpetually stoned Pashtun tribesmen into effective soldiers—seems impossible and, ultimately, proved unnecessary. Indeed, according to Blehm's account, the Green Berets' worst enemies were other Americans: meddling CIA honchos and army brass, a do-nothing Marine officer, and the air force spotter who mistakenly called in an air strike on 574's position, with ghastly results. The author overplays the comradely bond between Karzai and Amerine, who come off as a latter-day Washington and Lafayette, but doesn't quite succeed in wringing a military epic out of what was essentially a turkey shoot. Still, Blehm's warts-and-all account of the U.S. military machine in action is full of tension, color, and real pathos. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

The Only Thing Worth Dying For is not only brilliant, it’s the one book you must read if you have any hope of understanding what our fine American soldiers are up against in Afghanistan.” — Former Congressman Charlie Wilson

“A skillfully reported and masterfully written account of one of the most crucial moments of the War Against Terror. Blehm reminds us of the perils, the triumphs and the sacrifices made in the name of freedom.” — Bob Woodruff, ABC News correspondent

“Through careful reporting and crisp narrative pacing, Eric Blehm has given us a thrilling, forgotten drama from the opening chapter of the war in Afghanistan. The Only Thing Worth Dying For will become an enduring classic of this extraordinary theater, where so much hangs in the balance.” — Hampton Sides, bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers and Blood and Thunder

“Blehm provides powerful and unflinching insight into a real-life mission that ended in tragedy but left an indelible mark on history. From the comic moments to the bleakest hour, it’s a testament to how a small team of well-trained men can shape a nation’s destiny.” — Stephen Grey, award-winning author of Ghost Plane and Operation Snakebite

“Eric Blehm has written a literary masterpiece about modern war. The whole witches’ brew is here: valor, honor, heroism, cowardice, incompetence, stupidity, triumph, blood, death and despair. That America has soldiers like these should fill every American heart with pride. Read this book!” — Stephen Coonts, bestselling author of Flight of the Intruder and The Disciple

“No other book has gone to such depths in research, nor been so descriptive in recounting this critical mission during the earliest days after 9/11 when the US Army Special Forces successfully waged unconventional warfare in Afghanistan.” — Sergeant Major Billy Waugh, author of Hunting The Jackal and Isaac Camacho

“The greatest story of a small unit’s battle through an untamed land since Lawrence of Arabia.” — Adam Makos, editor of Valor Magazine

“A captivating account of our heroic warriors-a remarkable U.S. Army Special Forces unit’s hard-fought success against incredible odds. It reads with the thrill of fiction—but this is the damned deadly real deal.” — W.E.B. Griffin & William E. Butterworth IV, best-selling authors of The Traffickers and The Honor of Spies

“[A] stirring account of American Special Forces heroics… The author provides a minute-by-minute account of this dramatic campaign, and the page never flags… a gripping story of admirable men.” — Kirkus Reviews


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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Harper; 1st edition (January 19, 2010)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0061661228
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0061661228
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.27 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 1.25 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 796 ratings

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Eric Blehm is the award-winning author of the New York Times bestsellers Fearless and The Only Thing Worth Dying For. His first book, The Last Season, was the winner of the National Outdoor Book Award and was named by Outside magazine as one of the “greatest adventure biographies ever written.” He has dedicated his life to telling the stories of those who serve."

In 1999, Blehm became the first journalist to accompany and keep pace with an elite Army Ranger unit on a training mission. His access into the Special Operations community and reportage set an important milestone for American war journalism two years before reporters began to gain widespread embedded status with the U.S. military in the War Against Terror. Blehm’s immersion with the Rangers is what led him to the previously untold story of an elite team of eleven Green Berets who operated in the hinterland of Taliban-held Afghanistan just weeks after 9/11 (The Only Thing Worth Dying For), as well as to Fearless (Waterbrook/Multnomah; Random House), the heartrending and inspiring story of Naval Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Adam Brown, who overcame tremendous odds in his rise to the top tier of the U.S. military: SEAL Team Six. FEARLESS is currently being adapted for film by Relativity Media.

Blehm’s current book, Legend (Crown Books, Penguin RandomHouse), tells the unforgettable story of the U.S. Army’s 240th Assault Helicopter Company and Green Beret Staff Sergeant Roy Benavidez, who risked everything to rescue a Special Forces team trapped behind enemy lines during the Vietnam War. Major General John K. “Jack” Singlaub, U.S. Army (ret.), commented on Legend: “I fought beside and led U.S. Special Operations soldiers, sailors, and airmen during three wars—WWII, Korea, and Vietnam—including the men [of SOG] depicted in LEGEND. Never have I read a more powerfully honest, realistic, or moving account of the war in Southeast Asia. Eric Blehm masterfully encapsulates the hearts of the men, their impossible mission, and the quagmire of politics of the era and wraps it up in a single bloody battle that portrays the American fighting man at his best.”

Blehm lives in Southern California with his wife and children.

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
796 global ratings

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