Eric Blehm, author of the award-winning The Last Season, is back with another true adventure story, The Only Thing Worth Dying For. Set in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, The Only Thing Worth Dying For chronicles the untold story of the team of Green Berets led by Captain Jason Amerine that conquered the Taliban and helped bring Hamid Karzai to power in Afghanistan. In the tradition of Black Hawk Down, The Only Thing Worth Dying For is, in the words of former Congressman Charlie Wilson (from Charlie Wilson's War), "the one book you must read if you have any hope of understanding what our fine American soldiers are up against in Afghanistan."
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.
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A novel that portrays the hardships of war and is one of my favorites.