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The Hunt for bin Laden
by Robin Moore
ISBN 0375508619 / 9780375508615 / 0-375-50861-9
Publisher Random House Publishing Group
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The first wave of U.S. Army Special Forces arrived in Afghanistan in mid-October, 2001; a few months later, they had routed the Taliban and taken control of the country. In fact, writes Robin Moore, "fewer than 100 American soldiers were on the ground when Kabul fell." The Hunt for Bin Laden is both a celebration of the Special Forces, "the most fearsome fighting unit the world has ever known," and a detailed account of how just a few hundred Green Berets, working alongside the Northern Alliance, were able to overcome nearly 100,000 entrenched al-Qaida and Taliban members and take control of Afghanistan in such a short time. Though Special Forces had participated in all of the small conflicts since World War II, the war in Afghanistan was the first time they were in charge of an entire operation. For these gung-ho soldiers, it was the moment they had been waiting for.From the beginning, the operation was a blend of cutting-edge and 19th-century weaponry. The Northern Alliance soldiers, though brave and determined, were often outfitted with only rusted rifles and worn-out boots. In one particularly fascinating scene, Moore writes of the Northern Alliance cavalry leading a charge on horseback while American fighter jets roared overhead dropping laser-guided missiles with pinpoint accuracy on Taliban forces. The author of the military classic The Green Berets, Moore knows his subject intimately and his access to the troops on the ground is impressive. This makes the book incredibly detailed, but unquestionably subjective, so those interested in a political overview or an objective look at the policy behind the operation should look elsewhere. This is strictly a heroic portrayal of a military victory and the difficult search for Osama bin Laden, and at times Moore's writing sounds like copy out of Soldier of Fortune magazine. This bombast may not appeal to all readers, but his deep knowledge of Special Forces and his inside information makes this book a must read for those interested not only in this particular conflict but in how guerilla and unconventional warfare is executed. --Shawn Carkonen [via]