A Story of Courage and Sacrifice on Takur Ghar Mountain, Afghanistan
By Malcolm Macpherson
(Dell, Mass Market Paperback, 9780553586800, 384pp.)
Publication Date: July 25, 2006
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Afghanistan, March 2002. In the early morning darkness on a frigid mountaintop, a U.S. soldier is stranded, alone, surrounded by fanatical al Qaeda fighters. For the man’s fellow Navy SEALs, and for waiting teams of Army Rangers, there was only one rule now: leave no one behind. In this gripping you-are-there account–based on stunning eyewitness testimony and painstaking research–journalist Malcolm MacPherson thrusts us into a drama of rescue, tragedy, and valor in a place that would be known as...
For an elite team of SEALs, the mission seemed straightforward enough: take control of a towering 10,240-foot mountain peak called Takur Ghar. Launched as part of Operation Anaconda–a hammer-and-anvil plan to smash Taliban al Qaeda in eastern Afghanistan –the taking of Takur Ghar would offer U.S. forces a key strategic observation post. But the enemy was waiting, hidden in a series of camouflaged trenches and bunkers–and when the Special Forces chopper flared on the peak to land, it was shredded by a hail of machine-gun, small arms, and RPG rounds. A red-haired SEAL named Neil Roberts was thrown from the aircraft. And by the time the shattered helicopter crash-landed on the valley floor seven miles away, Roberts’s fellow SEALs were determined to return to the mountain peak and bring him out–no matter what the cost.
Drawing on the words of the men who were there–SEALs, Rangers, medics, combat air controllers, and pilots–this harrowing true account, the first book of its kind to chronicle the battle for Takur Ghar, captures in dramatic detail a seventeen-hour pitched battle fought at the highest elevation Americans have ever waged war. At once an hour-by-hour, bullet-by-bullet chronicle of a landmark battle and a sobering look at the capabilities and limitations of America’s high-tech army, Roberts Ridge is the unforgettable story of a few dozen warriors who faced a single fate: to live or die for their comrades in the face of near-impossible odds.
Malcolm MacPherson is a journalist and author of several fiction and non-fiction books. He served in the Marine Corps, and worked as a staff journalist for Time and Newsweek magazines, the latter for 12 years as a foreign correspondent. Most recently, he reported from Iraq on assignment with Time. He lives in Warrenton, Virginia with his wife and two kids.
“A true story of courage that captures–over the course of seventeen hours–all the drama and sacrifice of war. Impossible to put down. Highly recommended.”—James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers and Flyboys
“At once a terrifying and compelling narrative, Roberts Ridge strikes awe for its unflinching and honest portrayal of the courage, determination, and capability of American fighting men. This true tale resonates with vitally important lessons of success and failure on the field of battle.”—Eric Haney, author of Inside Delta Force
"In the tradition of Black Hawk Down, Malcolm MacPherson vividly brings to life this harrowing story of courage, pathos, and war at its grittiest. For military history buffs, or those interested in the front lines of the war on terror, Roberts Ridge is a must read."—Jay Winik, author of April 1865: The Month That Saved America
"[MacPherson] is at his best when he uses his access to the special-forces fighters and spills details, such as the smell of a bullet-shredded pine tree and the slow icing of the sweat and blood that soaked the men's clothing.... a story with a strong heart."—The Hartford Courant
"Roberts Ridge is a reminder that combat, despite America's huge technological advantages, always boils down to the basics: Men, machinery, maps and mojo.... Like Black Hawk Down, there is no happy ending .... Ultimately, Roberts Ridge is a study in courage and comradeship. How some of America's finest young men, in the crucible of combat, refuse to surrender their buddies in the face of gut-clenching firepower, grinding cold and the bewildering fog and friction of war."—The Flint Journal
“An impressively detailed account of one heart-wrenching battle in the invasion of Afghanistan. MacPherson gives readers a rare, behind-the-scenes look … A Great read.” — St. Petersburg Times
“A real-life thriller. . . that bridges the breach between the military and a civilian culture possessing little knowledge or experience of the military.” —Booklist