Listen free for 30 days

The Chosen Few

A Company of Paratroopers and Its Heroic Struggle to Survive in the Mountains of Afghanistan
Narrated by: Gregg Zoroya
Length: 12 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (52 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

The story of one of the Afghanistan war's most decorated units and their 15-month ordeal, culminating in the Battle of Wanat, the deadliest battle of the war.

A single company of US paratroopers - calling themselves the "Chosen Few" - arrived in eastern Afghanistan in late 2007 hoping to win the hearts and minds of the remote mountain people and extend the Afghan government's reach into this wilderness. Instead, they spent the next 15 months in a desperate struggle, living under almost continuous attack, forced into a slow and grinding withdrawal, and always outnumbered by Taliban fighters descending on them from all sides.  

Month after month, rocket-propelled grenades, rockets, and machine-gun fire poured down on the isolated and exposed paratroopers as America's focus and military resources shifted to Iraq. Just weeks before the paratroopers were to go home, they faced their last - and toughest - fight. Near the village of Wanat in Nuristan province, an estimated 300 enemy fighters surrounded about 50 of the Chosen Few and others defending a partially finished combat base. Nine died and more than two dozen were wounded that day in July 2008, making it arguably the bloodiest battle of the war in Afghanistan.  

The Chosen Few would return home tempered by war. Two among them would receive the Medal of Honor. All of them would be forever changed.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 Gregg Zoroya (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now producing their own volumes, and this is one of the better ones...Well-researched...The book does an excellent job of telling the entire story of the action...As one of the most highly decorated units in Army history, these men, many of them from broken families and rough backgrounds, are worthy successors to Band of Brothers from previous generations of American fighting men." (New York Journal of Books)

"The gripping, often heartbreaking story of Chosen Company's time in the Waygal Valley...In a style reminiscent of Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers, Zoroya takes readers beyond the blood and sweat of close combat and into the hearts and minds of the soldiers themselves. The result is an intensely personal and heart-wrenching tale of courage, love, and loss...a vivid portrait of America's war in Afghanistan...brutally honest in the telling, in a way that will affect readers deeply... The Chosen Few is an exceptional book...as revealing as it is enthralling. For military readers, The Chosen Few is a 'must read'; few books are as insightful, especially with respect to the character, courage, and commitment of those fighting for the future of Afghanistan. For readers with preconceived notions of what it means to engage in the 'forever war,' this book is a necessary addition to the bookshelf." (Military Review)

"A searing account of war in Afghanistan...A remarkable story, whose telling raises myriad questions without resorting to polemics. It is unlikely that those who read it will ever utter the phrase, 'Thank you for your service,' quite the same way again...A gripping, exhaustively reported account of modern warfare...[Zoroya] cuts through the fog of war...Zoroya delivers the adrenaline of combat right to the reader's easy chair. His prose is direct and clear, and never upstages the action. He also brings the warriors to life, chronicling their trials and triumphs." (USA Today)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    42
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    33
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    3

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    39
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A sad reality

I don't know who said it originally but it is a fact of life that in war people die. It's the nature of the beast and when you go to war against a highly motivated and ruthless opponent you had better make sure that you're ready to lose people in combat, because it is going to happen.
This book demonstrates within its narrative how life and death are linked with the choices that leaders make. One mistake and people will be wounded or killed. As an ex-paratrooper (British) I was saddened by the waste of young lives when they are put in harm's way by their hierarchy but proud of the way they fought for each other even to the point of dying.
This book points out very clearly that every human life despite troubled beginnings can mean something in the way it is lived and sometimes in the way that person chooses to sacrifice themselves. The Taliban know that just as well as anyone and whilst we have young people who are prepared to put themselves in harms way we will have wars like this.
I found parts of this audio book troubling and wondered how much longer we humans will choose to settle our differences by killing one another?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

riveting first hand accounts

an in depth view from the eyes of the heros from Chosen and an insight into the minds of the front line tip of the spear and not the leaders ..

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Can't imagine their thoughts and nightmares now.

I just about felt the pain of multiple wounds. We will never appreciate their sacrifice.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

real snd gritty

a real insight into a period of war that should never be forgotten and an insight into what you ask our young men and women to do.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome

One of those great books, that I could not leave alone. God Bless you all.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very brave young men

This is a book that I found hard to stop listening to and at the same time hard to listen to. The author and narrator delivers a very tough story very well. I feel like I have a great understanding of what these guys faced though in reality only they can. I feel very humble that these young men and thier families gave so much for us.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

good story , a lot of detail

a lot of background detail to get through initially , but the story soon gets going and is an insight to what the military went through not always reported by the press

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Lump in the throat, tear in my eye.

I cant even begin to describe how amazing this book is, it paints a picture through the descriptive narrating. At times I felt like I was feeling what these guys were feeling. An amazing story of courage and the indestructible bond of brothers forged in battle.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

excellent story telling and gripping content

heart wrenching sorrows and losses coupled with intense excitement and moment of laugh out loud snippets .

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

amazing book, awesome in detail

I couldn't put this book down, so to speak
if you are interested in milltary history I highly recommend this. The lengths the author must of gone though to produce such thoughtful work in both honouring the men and their story.

It's written well, intertwining the storys together to produce a easy read must of been a huge undertaking, but has been pulled off. This has become one of the best I've read!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mila
  • Mila
  • 22-06-18

Wow! What an amazing group of men!

As a sister of one of the soldiers in this book, I was moved and felt I was right there in the action. I never realized the true danger he was in. I can't thank the author enough for taking the time and effort to research the events and write this book. I've always been proud of my brother and those who served. Now, I have a new found respect for them. My heartaches for the lives lost and the loved ones left behind. But I feel like I really got to know all of them in this book. I wish I could have gone to the 10-yr reunion last year. I now understand why my Dad was on cloud 9 when he and my mom accompanied my brother to the reunion. He was in awe by being in the presents of such a great group of men.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David Ginaitis
  • David Ginaitis
  • 04-06-18

Wow

Up there with some of the best: The Outpost, House to House, Outlaw Platoon, and more. Great narrator, well written, I’ve listened to them all. Vets, if you can, we need more books like this, to remember and celebrate your sacrifices.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tom
  • Tom
  • 03-06-18

Painfully Excellent

The best effort to honor the soldiers of Chosen Company/173rd. Author did an excellent job of collecting the information and translating it. Heartbreaking heroic acts of heroism displayed by the soldiers of Chosen.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for james
  • james
  • 15-12-18

Proud of these men that have served an sacrificed so much for our great country.

Thank to all the men that served an sacrificed in these battles to defend our great country

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Steve Hillman MD
  • Steve Hillman MD
  • 19-10-18

Afghanistan

An intimate look at the people who fought in the war in Afghanistan. Some gave all. The rest remain forever changed by the experience which was overwhelming both physically and emotionally.
Heroes all.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for jdbeyers
  • jdbeyers
  • 18-07-18

A highly recommended read

A well presented and well researched story, showing the lives of the soldiers and the horrors of the war that they had to endure.

This is possibly the best representation of the war that I have read to date. I highly recommend this to anyone who has a passion for understanding the war in Afghanistan.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Nathan Myers
  • Nathan Myers
  • 13-07-19

as a fellow paratrooper ..

as a fellow paratrooper and combat veteran, I enjoyed the story. may the fallen rest in peace. AIRBORNE

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for R. Denton
  • R. Denton
  • 28-12-18

Brave Troops, lifeless, boring narrating

"Read by the Author" is often a kiss of death and this one really proved it. The writing is not nearly up to the level the writer seems to think it is, and the narration is far worse. It's clearly someone who cannot distinguish between telling a story with lots of real human drama, sacrifice and pain from reading a lengthy shopping or laundry list.
I should have read about the author before selecting this. "Award winning USA Today journalist" would have told me what to expect and told me to pass on this one. This plodding story clearly does not do justice to these troops.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Conqueror 09
  • Conqueror 09
  • 04-12-18

One of the best accounts of any conflict that I’ve ever read

This book was one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading or listening to. The details provide a vivid glimpse into the multiple decisions which must be made on tactical and strategic levels involving both combat effectiveness and geo-political implications. This is a must read for anyone who wants an unvarnished understanding of what happens at the Company level during all phases of combat planning and operations.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rob
  • Rob
  • 15-10-19

reads like an after action report.

reads like an after action report. couldn't even make it halfway through. save your money