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5 Must Read Books on the War in Afghanistan

Updated on August 15, 2014

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[1] The Lions of Kandahar

A book about a team of Green Berets, the Special Forces unit of the United States Army, Lions of Kandahar is a first person account about the men under Major Bradley's command deployed in Afghanistan. Major Bradley writes about their fight to save Kandahar and the unbelievable battle they went through against the Taliban. The descriptions of the battle and fighting in the Panjwayi Valley by these brave men in this book are extremely well written by Major Bradley, and no detail is too small and the author made sure to chronicle every detail that his men and the Afghan forces fighting with them had to endure. A must read for those interested in the impact that Special Forces have had in Afghanistan.

Kandahar Afghanistan:
Kandahar, Afghanistan

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[2] Outlaw Platoon

Outlaw Platoon was written by Lieutenant Sean Parnell and is a personal account of the heroic actions of the 10th Mountain division of the United States Army in Afghanistan. This story is the modern day Black Hawk Down and will have you on the edge of your seat the entire time you are reading. The author Lieutenant Sean Parnell does an exceptional job portraying what combat is really like for an infantry soldier. If you are interested in what it is like day to day in a combat zone as any infantry soldier then this is a great book to read! If not you should read this book just to see what those that sacrifice everything for their country. As I have never been in the military myself this book definitely gave me the best overall understanding of what a soldier goes through in a deployment and I can tell you now that I will never personally find myself in these type of shoes, but it blows me away at what our soldiers go through!

[3] War

War is a product of author Sebastian Junger after spending five months embedded with a platoon of the 2nd Battalion of the United States Army. This particular platoon was stationed in an Outpost in the Korangal Valley in Afghanistan, which has been called the most deadly place in Afghanistan due to the intense fighting that has persisted there. War is written by Junger who is a writer embedded with the soldiers, and it is extreml interesting to get the perspective of someone who is not a soldier on the day to day struggles these soldiers go through and the bonds formed in the trenches of war.

If you have read this book and even if you have not, Sebastian Junger's time spent in the Korangal Valley with these soldiers is the subject of probably one of the most compelling documentaries, Restrepo. I highly recommend reading his book and checking out the documentary.


Whether you have read the book War or not, you should check out the documentary Restrepo. The documentary is about the year that the author of War, Sebastian Junger, spent on assignment in the Korangal Valley in Afghanistan for Vanity Fair.

[4] The Only Thing Worth Dying For

The Only Thing Worth Dying for is a very well written account of a team of Green Berets in the aftermath of 9/11, their mission that crippled the Taliban and their time with Hamid Karzai. Author Eric Blehm has definitely done his research with this book as at times it was hard to remember that this book was actually non-fiction and not just another Tom Clancy novel. This book portrays the grittiness of war and the unconvential missions that Green Berets perform. In my opinion this book is a must read if you want to understand the impact of the US Special Forces in the early days of the War in Afghanistan.

[5] Horse Soldiers

Horse Soldiers is a book about a group of United States Special Forces in their quest to capture Mazar-I-Sharif. Many of the soldiers had little interaction with horses before their deployment and during their deployment horses played the biggest part in their success. Another great narrative where the author has done a tremendous amount of research and interviews to accurately chronicle the hardships of fighting in Afghanistan. This book is for those interested in prewar Afghanistan, those interested in history, and those who want to learn more about the impact the US Special Forces had in Afghanistan.

Mazari Sharif, Afghanistan

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