Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan
William Morrow & Company, Hardcover, 9780062066398, 384pp.
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
In combat, men measure up. Or don't. There are no second chances.
In this vivid account of the U.S. Army's legendary 10th Mountain Division's heroic stand in the mountains of Afghanistan, Captain Sean Parnell shares an action-packed and highly emotional true story of triumph, tragedy, and the extraordinary bonds forged in battle.
At twenty-four years of age, U.S. Army Ranger Sean Parnell was named commander of a forty-man elite infantry platoona unit that came to be known as the Outlawsand was tasked with rooting out Pakistan-based insurgents from a mountain valley along Afghanistan's eastern frontier. Parnell and his men assumed they would be facing a ragtag bunch of civilians, but in May 2006 what started out as a routine patrol through the lower mountains of the Hindu Kush became a brutal ambush. Barely surviving the attack, Parnell's men now realized that they faced the most professional and seasoned force of light infantry the U.S. Army had encountered since the end of World War II.
What followed was sixteen months of close combat, over the course of which the platoon became Parnell's family: from Staff Sergeant Greg Greeson, the wise, chain-smoking veteran who never lost his cool; to Specialist Robert Pinholt, a buttoned-down conservative with the heart of a warrior and the mind of an economist; to Staff Sergeant Phil Baldwin, the platoon's voice of calm and reason, a man who sacrificed everything following the events of 9/11career, home, financial stabilityto serve his country. But the cost of battle was high for these men: Over 80 percent were wounded in action, putting their casualty rate among the highest since Gettysburg, and not all of them made it home.
A searing and unforgettable story of friendship in battle, Outlaw Platoon brings to life the intensity and raw emotion of those sixteen months, showing how the fight reshaped the lives of Parnell and his men and how the love and faith they found in one another ultimately kept them alive.
John R. Bruning is the coauthor of the critically acclaimed Outlaw Platoon (with Sean Parnell) and of House to House (with David Bellavia). He wrote dispatches from the field while embedded with an infantry unit in post-Katrina New Orleans, and received the prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for Journalism from the Department of Defense for an article he wrote while embedded with the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade s TF-Brawler in Afghanistan. He lives in Oregon.
“The range of emotions that Sean Parnell summons in Outlaw Platoon [is] stunning. A nuanced, compelling memoir . . . Parnell shows he’s a gifted, brave storyteller.”
“Outlaw Platoon put me back on the battlefield again. It’s a heartfelt story that shows how very different people can be thrown together in combat and find a way to make it work. Parnell and the soldiers who fought beside him are all courageous heroes—real bad asses.”
-Chris Kyle, author of American Sniper
“Two of the most intense tales of courage under fire I own are Black Hawk Down and Lone Survivor. I now have a third, Outlaw Platoon. It’s an absolutely gripping, edge-of-your-seat ride.”
-Brad Thor, author of Full Black
“Outlaw Platoon is an utterly gripping account of what our soldiers endure on the front lines—the frustrations, the fear, the loneliness. . . Here, in these pages, are the on-the-ground realities of a war we so rarely witness on news broadcasts”
-Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried
“Outlaw Platoon is an exceptional look into the mind of a platoon leader in Afghanistan; Captain Parnell shares his experiences of leadership, loss, and aggressive military tactics. You can really feel the bonds forged between these brothers in arms as the battle plays out”
-Marcus Luttrell, author of Lone Survivor
“At times, I forgot I was reading about a war as I was drawn up in the drama the same way you [are] when reading Krakauer’s Into Thin Air . . . This is a book of probing honesty, wrenching drama and courage.”
-Doug Stanton, author of Horse Soldiers
“[A] soulful story of men at war . . . Outlaw Platoon shows us that the love and brotherhood forged in the fires of combat are the most formidable quaities a unit can possess.”
-Steven Pressfield, author of Gates of Fire
“Outlaw Platoon is expertly told by a man who braved the heat of battle time and time again. An epic story as exacting as it is suspenseful, it reveals the bravery and dedication of our armed service men and women around the world.”
“This book is more than just a rip-roaring combat narrative: it is a profoundly moving exploration into the nature and evolution of the warrior bond forged in desperate, against-all-odds battles. A significant book, not to be missed.”
-Jack Coughlin, author of Shooter: The Autobiography of the Top-Ranked Marine Sniper
“Outlaw Platoon is the real deal. It’s a terrific tale of combat leadership that deserves to be studied by all small-unit leaders. The narrative goes beyond the battlefield to depict the maddening nature of the war and the grit of those who selflessly protect us.”
-Bing West, author of No True Glory
“Sean Parnell reaches past the band-of-brothers theme to a place of brutal self-awareness . . . [he] never flinches from a fight, nor the hard questions of a messy war.”
-Kevin Sites, author of In the Hot Zone: One Man, One Year, Twenty Wars