Lawrence of Arabia meets Sebastian Junger's War in this unique, incendiary, and dramatic true story of heroism and heartbreak in Afghanistan written by a Pulitzer Prize-nominated war correspondent.
Some have called him "Lawrence of Afghanistan". To the Pashtun tribesmen he is "Commander Jim", leader of the "bearded ones". He is Army Special Forces Major Jim Gant, one of the most charismatic and controversial U.S. commanders of modern memory, a man who changed the face of America's war in Afghanistan when his critical white paper, "One Tribe at a Time", went viral at the Pentagon, the White House, and on Capitol Hill in 2009.
A decorated Green Beret who had spent years training indigenous fighters, Jim argued for embedding autonomous units with tribes across Afghanistan: these American soldiers would live among Afghans for extended periods, not only to train and equip tribal militias, but to fight - and even die - alongside them in battle. He argued that we could earn the trust of the Afghans and transform them into a reliable ally with whom we could defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda networks. The military's top brass, including General David Petraeus, then commander of U.S. Central Command and overseeing the war in Afghanistan, and Admiral Eric Olson, head of Special Operations Command, approved the plan and gave Jim the go-ahead to embark on the mission.p>A war story like no other, an unprecedented account of a warrior who took up the cause of villagers as if it were his own, and of a woman on the front lines of a distant war, American Spartan is an unforgettable tale - and one of the most remarkable and emotionally resonant narratives of war ever published.
©2014 Ann Scott Tyson (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers
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"True warrior betrayed by political brass"
The story flowed well with the right amount of detail.
Magnificent storytelling of how Special Forces found a way to win the hearts of one tribe at a time in Afghanistan and the unique challenges they faced. The US military should be more open minded rather than strong armed when it comes to trying to win a war. It is obvious only a short term solution is sought. We need to understand people rather than try and change the way they are.
The author digs into how the characters feel. What makes them happy and sad. I had no idea how much a weapon could demonstrate a status among people. If US soldiers go into villages and take weapons from the villagers, this could bring so much shame. We need to be cognizant of this and think of different solutions without bringing emotional harm to the villagers. Major Jim Gant understood the people and worked with them for a common goal.
Thanks to Major Jim Gant for his service to his country. I felt he followed his heart and his country betrayed him with their ego's and political agendas. I hope Mr. Gant finds peace. I pray that he does.
"THE TRUE ARMY OF ONE!!!"THE SPARTAN""
This is coming from a guy who was in the Army and my father retired from the Army. Major Gant was a soldiers soldier, the type of gung ho officer everyone wanted. After reading this book I'm ashamed that the top brass let this happen!! Did Major Gant break some Army regs.? YES!! Has most every solider in the Army done the same? YES!!! Jim Gant is a true Spartan. He got the job done and never lost a man down range and that is the stuff the Army can't take away. Major Gant's legend will grow and it should. I think Jim did turn tribal but that is what he was asked to do.Taking Ann Scott in was over the top but the heart wants what the heart wants. Drinking beer on christmas and you loose your rank? I was in Kuwait and alcohol and more was available while I was deployed. Everyone who has served in the military world knows Major Jim Gant was shafted. Its sad but Jim Gant can watch my six anytime!!!! One article 15 can't take away what you did for this country. Thanks for all you have done and your service!!!! Major Jim Gant makes me proud to say I was in the Army!!!! Hooah!!!
"May I call you, “General Gant”?"
I could not stop listening – I’d get the bends when I had to do anything that got in the way. Narrator Cassandra Campbell made me feel that author Ann Scott Tyson was talking to me in real time!
What I love about this story the most is how Jim Gant grabbed the initiative in the war and kept it no matter what. By comparison, my experience with other good Afghanistan War books showed our fighters responding to enemy attacks over and over again. It’s nice to get out of response mode and take it to the enemy. This book put me into a positive, can-do mindset.
But what a few of our own Army brass did to our war-winning Jim Gant! The names of what I think of as our nation’s traitors, a few officers who apparently have no idea how to win a war and who obviously look down on the poor mountain people of Afghanistan, are forever memorialized in this book. These insolent traitors are repugnant, a disgrace to our flag and the children of our nation, in my view. Of course, I only heard one side of the story, but had to get that out.
Thank you for your service, Jim. How is the Medal of Honor not around your neck? Are we going to have to wait 10-30 years?
Thank you for your service, Ann. The Presidential Medal of Freedom for sure!
"Very few good GBs left"
This truth was emotional and hit home for many reasons. I am proud to be an American and to have listened to Jim and Ann's story. I thank you both for sharing your personal life. God Bless!!!
"A must for any Military Advisor"
It's amazing to hear the story of Jim Gant, someone who truly "gets it." Advising in a different part of the country in a different capacity, it's impossible for me to ignore the similarities. Mission Accomplishment was the only goal, and going native to build the sort of rapport that Jim had was necessary. I'd love to shake his hand for having the courage to do what was necessary. Wish I read this during advisor training. I would have been able to make a greater impact.
Is what I liked most is Jims dedication valor and ability to adapt f&$@&n stud!
What I disliked is how the brass handled this whole situation. If your not on the ground how can you really know what's what.
Good job Colonel you're an American hero
"Hit Close to Home"
I may not have been sf but my service and subsequent discharge in 2009 had many similarities. This book not only reassured me that I was not alone but also that I am not crazy in thinking our current military brass have lost their minds with who the kick out and who they keep. The ending of this book hit me hard and brought up my own memories of being told I was no longer fit for service and many of the identity and honor issues Jim faces in the wake were similar to my own. This book is amazing insight into the minds of today's warrior vets and just how bad the military and it's strategy is lost its way. I highly suggest this book to everyone I meet.
Fantastic book! I highly recommend this to anybody interested in unconventional warfare within the context of the US's policies and approach in Afghanistan. Not your typical war story!
"Unconventional warrior in the realest sense."
A warrior at heart struggling to accomplish the very essence of special forces missions, embed with the local population and raise an indigenous force that furthers US interest and policy in that region. Maj Gant was probably the only SF officer to actually accomplish the true mission in keeping with the original mandate of special forces. While he may have crossed lines and broke strict rules, his actions were precisely what was needed to win the hearts and minds of our Afghan compatriots. Cheers to a great American warrior.
"Jim Gant is an American Hero and should be honored"
This book was masterfully written, at first it took me a bit to get used to the male narration. But I'm glad I did, had a missed this book I'd be poorer for it. Jim Gant is owed our respect and honor, it was dishonorable what his command did to him. This book is very powerful and in more ways than you can imagine. If Jim ran the war in Afghanistan or Iraq for that matter we would have won in less than half the time. And it would have been honorable and permanent. Our Special Forces are at a huge loss without him.
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