Synopses & Reviews
Carlotta Gall has reported from Afghanistan and Pakistan for almost the entire duration of the American invasion and occupation, beginning shortly after 9/11. She knows just how much this war has cost the Afghan people, and how much damage can be traced to Pakistan and its duplicitous government and intelligence forces.and#160;Now that American troops are withdrawing, it is time toand#160;tell the full history of how we have been fighting the wrong enemy, in the wrong country.
Gall combines searing personal accounts of battles and betrayals with moving portraits of the ordinary Afghanis who enduredand#160;a terrible war of more than a decade. Her firsthand accounts of Taliban warlords, Pakistani intelligence thugs, American generals, Afghani politicians, and the many innocents who were caught up in this long war are riveting.and#160; Her evidence that Pakistan fueled the Taliban and protected Osama bin Laden is revelatory. This is a sweeping account of a war brought by well-intentioned American leaders against an enemy they barely understood, and could not truly engage.
"ABC senior White House correspondent Tapper (Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency) begins this fascinating history with the controversial 2006 decision to establish a military base in Nuristan, an 'untamed,' isolated Afghan province abutting Pakistan, home to a distinct ethnic group suspicious of strangers. Following the new counterinsurgency policy, U.S. forces would protect civilians while winning their hearts and minds by supporting economic development. The base, surrounded by mountains, was difficult to defend. From the beginning, insurgents sniped, launched rockets, ambushed supply convoys, and sabotaged aid projects. In October 2009, three years into the mission, hundreds of insurgents launched a coordinated attack. The 50 U.S. defenders fought heroically and prevailed; soon after, the base was evacuated; the subsequent official report concluded that the operation was deeply flawed. Aware of their fool's errand, the men did their best, and Tapper delivers a gripping, blow-by-blow account of their actions, their personal stories, and the tortured, often incomprehensible command decisions that kept them fighting despite inadequate support and an ally, Pakistan, that actively encouraged the enemy. 65 b&w photos, 4 maps." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"The Outpost is a mind-boggling, all-too-true story of heroism, hubris, failed strategy, and heartbreaking sacrifice. If you want to understand how the war in Afghanistan went off the rails, you need to read this book."--Jon Krakauer, author of Into Thin Air and Where Men Win Glory
"There have been many books written on the subject of America's seemingly endless engagement in Afghanistan, but none better than The Outpost."--Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic
"Brilliant, dedicated reporting by a journalist who goes to ground to get the truth. A sad, real tale about this war, America and the brave warriors who live-and die-at the point of the spear."--Bob Woodward, author of PLAN OF ATTACK, THE COMMANDERS and OBAMA'S WARS
"Analyzing the consequences of decisions, large and small, is what makes Tapper's book so important...for those wishing to understand the middle years of the war, they could do no better than to read THE OUTPOST."--Time
"Jake Tapper has written perhaps the best book set in Afghanistan to date...He provides a window into the false hopes and visions that enabled this failed experiment, an attempt to create government in spaces that had actively avoided such."--Douglas Ollivant, Foreign Policy
"[Jake Tapper] has woven an intricate account about battlefield bravery hamstrung by military bureaucracy...[his] voice is understated, not polemical-just a good reporter letting the facts speak for themselves."--Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times
"[A] fascinating history...Tapper delivers a blow by blow account of [the soldier's] actions, their personal stories, and the tortured, often incomprehensible command decisions that kept them fighting despite inadequate support and an ally, Pakistan, that actively encouraged the enemy."--Publishers Weekly
"One of the most important [books] of the year. Jake Tapper's book is meticulously researched, excellently written and a must-read for everyone who does more than just mouth the phrase, 'I support the troops.' "--Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"The power of THE OUTPOST lies in Tapper's development of the main characters ... He juxtaposes dramatic battles, complete with limbs blown off and eyes dangling from sockets, with poignant scenes of wives and parents first learning of the deaths of their loved ones."--Seth Jones, Washington Post
"The seminal work of documentary journalism to emerge out of the post-9/11 war in Afghanistan."--Business Standard
"THE OUTPOST is valuable because its faithful account of bravery, stupidity, and inertia makes the objective case for admiration and outrage."--Sam Jacobson, Commentary
"Mr. Tapper lays bare the poor decision-making that shattered dozens of American lives in the pursuit of an ill-conceived goal."--Wall Street Journal
"A heartbreaking chronicle of the rotation of soldiers asked to oversee an underfunded, often thankless mission."--Huffington Post
"As Rudyard Kipling did in the nineteenth century, now, in his magnificent book, Jake Tapper takes us to an untamed part of Afghanistan at war. Journey to THE OUTPOST to understand what our troops go through-and why they go through it.--James Bradley, author of FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, FLYBOYS and THE IMPERIAL CRUISE
"This is a narrative, not a polemic, and Tapper patiently lays out the history of what happened at Keating in a gripping, forceful style...[T]his unadorned, powerful account challenges the purposes and wisdom of America's ongoing military presence [in Afghanistan]...A timely indictment of a thoughtless waste of young American lives."--Kirkus
"[An] incredible account of how this outpost was horribly jeopardized."--Booklist
""The Army uses the term 'BLUF' - bottom line up front. The BLUF on Jake Tapper's new book on Afghanistan, THE OUTPOST, is that you need to read it."--breitbart.com
"A heartbreaking, detailed day-to-day account ... Tapper does what all great narrators do: He brings to life the individual men in a way that allows readers to see each soldier in full, with their unique backgrounds, hopes, dreams and families."--Susan Gardner, dailykos.com
"A chronicle of the commitment and heroism of individual soldiers. As such, it can rarely have been surpassed in the history of military writing."--powerlineblog.com
"Tapper always finds just the right personality traits and stories about [the troops'] backgrounds, allowing readers to respect them and relate to them...The Outpost is an alternately exhilarating, heartbreaking and maddening book. But ultimately...it's a testament to the fact that the brave men and women who serve and sacrifice for the United States deserve our appreciation."--Patheos.com
"What is evident in THE OUTPOST is the sacrifice made by dozens of men who answered the call of their country."--Erica Blake, Toledo Blade
"Meticulously researched, excellently written and a must-read...It may prove one of the most important [books] of the year."--Curt Schleier, Seattle Times
"Tapper's sassy style...gives the book a humorous angle that probably won't be found in most mainstream books about Election 2000....For those who are looking for an insider's view and tales, this is the book to buy."--National Journal
"Tapper, the network's ambitious, telegenic Senior White House Correspondent, has made a name for himself as a tough questioner...ABC's tenacious reporter is already proving to be the new star of the White House press pack."--The Daily Beast
"A valuable contribution to a hefty body of work on the American war in Afghanistan that has become stale and somewhat hackneyed. It provides a raw, unvarnished and important look at one of the darkest and least understood parts of the Afghan warand#8230;.Ms. Gall, a reporter for The New York Times in Afghanistan and Pakistan for more than a decade, beginning shortly after Sept. 11, is in an extraordinary position to write this important and long overdue book." --The New York Times
"The Wrong Enemy
is a timely survey of a military and diplomatic undertaking that has exacted a stiff tribute from Afghans and NATO forces in lives, treasure, and national prestige. Gall is right to confront the uneasy truths involving Pakistanand#8217;s double-dealing while also identifying coalition shortfalls...When it comes to informative, credible reporting from Central Asia over the past decade, Gall ranks with journalists like Dexter Filkins and David Rohde who have written about Afghanistan with authority and context. But Gall is perhaps uniquely positioned to tackle the troubling questions she raises about Pakistan's alleged support of terrorism...As the US and NATO prepare to possibly withdraw all forces from Afghanistan at the close of this year, Galland#8217;s book qualifies as a must-read." --The Christian Science Monitor
"Gall's long years of reporting for the New York Times from the front lines of the war are clear in this book, particularly in her vivid reconstruction of how things went rapidly downhill after the easy U.S.-led victories over the Taliban at the end of 2001...To her credit, Ms. Gall gets the most important thing right. She underscores the danger of the U.S. turning its back on Afghanistan, which, while still fragile, shows more signs of modernity than ever before. The repercussions of the U.S. drawdown 'are already inspiring Islamists, who are comparing it to the withdrawal of the Soviet Union' after its defeat at the hands of the mujahedeen. Unlike the Obama administration, Ms. Gall recognizes that radical Islam can't be ignored or wished away." -- The Wall Street Journal
"A strong, well-crafted account by an informed observer." --The Economist
"The author offers a compelling account of the attack on bin Laden's compound, the repercussions of which are still being felt. Gall admirably never loses sight of the human element in this tragedy." --Kirkus
At 6:00 a.m. on the morning of October 3, 2009, Combat Outpost Keating was viciously attacked by Taliban insurgents. The 53 U.S. troops, having been stationed at the bottom of three steep mountains, were severely outmanned by nearly 400 Taliban fighters. Though the Americans ultimately prevailed, their casualties made it one of the war's deadliest battles for U.S. forces. And after more than three years in that dangerous and vulnerable valley a mere 14 miles from the Pakistan border, the U.S. abandoned and bombed the camp. A Pentagon investigation later concluded that there was no reason for Outpost Keating to have been there in the first place.
THE OUTPOST is a tour de force of investigative journalism. Jake Tapper exposes the origins of this tragic and confounding story, exploring the history of the camp and detailing the stories of soldiers heroic and doomed, shadowed by the recklessness of their commanders in Washington, D.C. and a war built on constantly shifting sands.
The heartbreaking and inspiring story of one of America's deadliest battles during the war in Afghanistan, acclaimed by critics everywhere as a classic.
At 5:58 AM on October 3rd, 2009, Combat Outpost Keating, located in frighteningly vulnerable terrain in Afghanistan just 14 miles from the Pakistani border, was viciously attacked. Though the 53 Americans there prevailed against nearly 400 Taliban fighters, their casualties made it the deadliest fight of the war for the U.S. that year. Four months after the battle, a Pentagon review revealed that there was no reason for the troops at Keating to have been there in the first place.
In THE OUTPOST, Jake Tapper gives us the powerful saga of COP Keating, from its establishment to eventual destruction, introducing us to an unforgettable cast of soldiers and their families, and to a place and war that has remained profoundly distant to most Americans. A runaway bestseller, it makes a savage war real, and American courage manifest.
A sweeping history and powerful indictment of America's longest overt war, by the veteran New York Times journalist who was stationed in-country throughout the entire conflict.
About the Author
Jake Tapper is a CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent. Prior to joining CNN, he was the senior White House correspondent for ABC News. He has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and The Weekly Standard, among many other publications. He is the author of Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Table of Contents
1.and#160;The Taliban Surrenderand#8195;1
2.and#160;The People Turnand#8195;22
4.and#160;The Taliban in Exileand#8195;56
5.and#160;Al Qaeda Regroupsand#8195;78
6.and#160;The Wrong Enemy in the Wrong Countryand#8195;93
7.and#160;The Taliban Returnand#8195;119
8.and#160;The Suicide Bomb Factoryand#8195;147
9.and#160;Militancy Explodes in Pakistanand#8195;163
10.and#160;The Taliban Close Their Gripand#8195;182
13.and#160;Osamaand#8217;s Safe Havenand#8195;241
14.and#160;Springtime in Zangabadand#8195;265