June 8, 2009

FRIEND MARTINOVICH SAYS, "WIN THAT BOOK!":

Victory from the saddle : a review of Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan By Doug Stanton (Steve Martinovich, 6/08/09, Enter Stage Right)

It is rare that fiction is just as strange as reality. Based on an 1888 Rudyard Kipling story, the 1975 movie The Man Who Would be King told the story of two ex-British soldiers who travel to Afghanistan. Armed with Martini-Henry rifles, then perhaps the best weapons technology in the world, and in concert with local tribes, they eventually take over a remote part of the nation and one declares himself the successor to Alexander the Great. Before their eventual downfall, the two have united warring tribes armed with little more than advanced technology and diplomacy.

One might be forgiven for being reminded of that movie when reading Doug Stanton's Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan, minus the bleak ending, of course. Stanton tells the story of handful of Special Forces soldiers who helped unite the tribes that made up the Northern Alliance and with the aid of American air power broke the back of the Taliban during the fall and winter of 2001. It's the kind of story that should inspire movies and stories in the future.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 8, 2009 5:41 AM
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