Synopses & Reviews
On a moonless night just weeks after September 11, 2001, U.S. Special Forces team ODA 574 infiltrates the mountains of southern Afghanistan with a seemingly impossible mission: to foment a tribal revolt and force the Taliban to surrender. Armed solely with the equipment they can carry on their backs, shockingly scant intelligence, and their mastery of guerrilla warfare, Captain Jason Amerine and his men have no choice but to trust their only ally, a little-known Pashtun statesman named Hamid Karzai who has returned from exile and is being hunted by the Taliban as he travels the countryside raising a militia.
The Only Thing Worth Dying For chronicles the most important mission in the early days of the Global War on Terror, when the men on the ground knew little about the enemy — and their commanders in Washington knew even less. With unprecedented access to surviving members of ODA 574, key war planners, and Karzai himself, award-winning author Eric Blehm cuts through the noise of politicians and high-level military officials to narrate for the first time a story of uncommon bravery and terrible sacrifice, intimately exposing the realities of unconventional warfare and nation-building in Afghanistan that continue to shape the region today.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The Only Thing Worth Dying For is not only brilliant, it's the one book you must read if you have any hope of understanding what our fine American soldiers are up against in Afghanistan." Former Congressman Charlie Wilson
"[A] stirring account of American Special Forces heroics... The author provides a minute-by-minute account of this dramatic campaign, and the page never flags... a gripping story of admirable men." Kirkus Reviews
From the author of the award-winning work The Last Season comes the untold story of the U.S. Army Special Forces team that conquered the Taliban against overwhelming odds.
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."
About the Author
Eric Blehm is a bestselling author and award-winning journalist. Winner of the Barnes and Noble Discover Award (2006) for The Last Season, a gripping account of the disappearance of legendary National Park Service ranger Randy Morgenson, Blehm has distinguished himself as one of America's most important new nonfiction writers.
In addition to writing books and articles that take readers into the depths of fascinating subcultures, Blehm is a recognized voice in the search-and-rescue community for his detailed reporting of the Morgenson investigation — one of the most extensive search-and-rescue operations in National Park Service history. He is also widely known for his participatory coverage of outdoor sports and topics in the realm of adventure travel. He has contributed to GQ, Outside, Men's Journal, Backpacker, Climbing, Couloir, Hemispheres, and the Los Angeles Times. Eric Blehm lives in Southern California with his wife and two children.