Janice’s Review Blog

Author recounts events of first U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan after 9/11

Posted on: April 4, 2010

Eric Blehm writes a splendid book on the first U.S. elite soldiers to enter Afghanistan after 9/11.

Eric Blehm writes a splendid book on the first U.S. elite soldiers to enter Afghanistan after 9/11.

Eric Blehm’s new book, “The Only Thing Worth Dying For,” takes readers on a journey with eleven Green Berets as they become the first to enter Afghanistan after 9/11.  

When Mike McElhiney, one of the ODA 574 Special Forces A-team, asks Blehm what kind of story he wants to tell, Blehm replies, “This story won’t be pro-war, it won’t be anti-war; it’s going to be just the story.  I’ll tell it the way it happened: how Fifth Group got into the war, how your team got the mission with Karzai, what you guys did on the ground, and what happened on December 5, 2001.” 

That’s exactly what this book tells – their story.  Blehm goes into great detail about the mission, the planning, how these elite soldiers live and fight and work together as a team.  The reader goes along on the journey and becomes intimately involved with ODA 574’s daily actions.  Blehm does an excellent job of covering the most minute detail.  

“What you read came directly from the men involved,” writes Blehm.  “Conversations and thoughts were based on the notes, letters and recollections of these individuals.” 

The reader follows the amazing work of ODA 574 and their difficulties with equipment, Afghan rebels and high-ranking military personnel.  They work through all of the difficulties, gain the trust of Hamid Karzai and his Afghan followers, and the reader sees why these men are among the best that this country offers. 

Blehm tells this exciting story so well that the reader never sees the events of Dec. 5 coming.  And when the horror unfolds, Blehm stays true to the story and covers every minute detail. 

Captain Jason Amerine leads his men and works to bring them all home.  He also gains Karzai’s trust, and the reader gets a rare glimpse of how the Afghan leader operates. 

Amerine passionately follows the military career he began in his high school Junior ROTC program.  His mother, Carol, reluctantly supported his career, but at his high school graduation, she said to him, “You’ve always been an idealist, and following your ideals is the only thing worth dying for.  Just remember that: Don’t ever put your life on the line for something you don’t believe in.” 

Even though this book presents the gruesome details of war, I think that it’s a must read for anyone who wants to know what it takes to be a Green Beret, and also what our troops endure as they fight the war in Afghanistan.  It’s a true, action thriller.

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