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by Rick Atkinson

Download In the Company of Soldiers: A Chronicle of Combat fb2, epub

ISBN: 0805077731
Author: Rick Atkinson
Language: English
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; Reprint edition (March 1, 2005)
Pages: 352
Category: Leaders & Notable People
Subcategory: Biography
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 927
Size Fb2: 1901 kb
Size ePub: 1171 kb
Size Djvu: 1836 kb
Other formats: mbr lrf txt azw


Atkinson saw the soldiers of the 101st in all kinds of conditions and under the most extreme of circumstances

Atkinson saw the soldiers of the 101st in all kinds of conditions and under the most extreme of circumstances. He eavesdropped on their decision-making, their laughter, their frustrations and their fears. On the day he flew back to Kuwait to return to the . part of him felt as if he were abandoning comrades in arms. This fine book brings the non-combatant reader as close as possible to the rigors of the modern battlefield, and leaves one with a renewed sense of admiration for those who fight and serve. Atkinson has handled well the trust that was placed in him, and we are all enriched by his thoughtful response to the time he spent in the company of soldiers.

For soldiers in the 101st Airborne Division, the road to Baghdad began with a midnight flight out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in late February 2003. For Rick Atkinson, who would spend nearly two months covering the division for The Washington Post, the war in Iraq provided a unique opportunity to observe today's .

For Rick Atkinson, who would spend nearly two months covering the division for The Washington Post, the war in Iraq provided a unique opportunity to observe today's .

Rick Atkinson's book, In The Company of Soldiers, is a well written chronicle of the opening days of the war in Iraq as seen from the Division level. I appreciated Atkinson's understanding of the military in general and his knowledge of military history in particular.

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Lawrence Rush "Rick" Atkinson IV (born November 16, 1952) is an American author, most recently of The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to. .In the Company of Soldiers: A Chronicle of Combat. New York: Henry Holt.

Lawrence Rush "Rick" Atkinson IV (born November 16, 1952) is an American author, most recently of The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777, the first volume in the Revolution Trilogy. He has won Pulitzer Prizes in history and journalism.

Another reason why i had dropped: In The Company Of Soldiers was because it got very confusing at times.

JesperCFS2, March 13, 2017. Another reason why i had dropped: In The Company Of Soldiers was because it got very confusing at times. The reason why i chose this book was because i had read other books from the author (Rick Atkinson) and were a very good read for me. Another reason why i had chose the book to read was because i love reading about the army and combat fighting. If you like reading combat fighting books with facts about the army, then you might like this book.

"A beautifully written and memorable account of combat from the top down and bottom up as the 101st Airborne commanders and front-line grunts battle their way to Baghdad.... A must-read."―Tom BrokawFor soldiers in the 101st Airborne Division, the road to Baghdad began with a midnight flight out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in late February 2003. For Rick Atkinson, who would spend nearly two months covering the division for The Washington Post, the war in Iraq provided a unique opportunity to observe today's U.S. Army in combat. Now, in this extraordinary account of his odyssey with the 101st, Atkinson presents an intimate and revealing portrait of the soldiers who fight the expeditionary wars that have become the hallmark of our age.

At the center of Atkinson's drama stands the compelling figure of Major General David H. Petraeus, described by one comrade as "the most competitive man on the planet." Atkinson spent virtually all day every day at Petraeus's elbow in Iraq, where he had an unobstructed view of the stresses, anxieties, and large joys of commanding 17,000 soldiers in combat. And all around Petraeus, we see the men and women of a storied division grapple with the challenges of waging war in an unspeakably harsh environment.

With the eye of a master storyteller, a brilliant military historian puts us right on the battlefield. In the Company of Soldiers is a compelling, utterly fresh view of the modern American soldier in action.

Comments:

Dagdardana
The impact of our invasion of Iraq will be of topic for decades...but..was it worth it? Only..time and history will be the best judge. But, to those who fought in Iraq...they were part of today's "greatest generation". All volunteers, the valor, commitment and dedication to each other were of the highest military standard and deserve the highest praise. And to the 4500 American KIA..we will never forget them.

Haiti/Bosnia/Croatia/Afghanistan/Iraq/Sudan & Uganda
Zan
Mr. Atkinson's writting style make this an extremely easy read - perfect for a summer weekend. The subject is very serious but, as seen from the high level command level, this is not a blow by blow combat tale. It does capture the pace and professionalism of the US armed forces and the effect that the US military has on organized resistance. It makes it perfectly clear why the assymetrical war in Iraq and Afganistan can last for years after a "war" that lasted for less than 2 months. If the US military can find you, it is pretty hopeless but it is a military set up for the battlefield not for an insurgency (but then again - what organization is really set up to deal with insurgencies in a land where the police force is small, targeted and untrustworthy?).

A great read - highly worth the time.
Riavay
Told in the familiar Rick Atkinson style which we appreciated in "An Army at Dawn," but this time with the sharpened insight of the author's first hand involvement, "In the Company of Soldiers" brings the Iraq campaign of the 101st Airborne to life. The author's ability to draw apt comparisons to similar situations and conditions faced by our fathers in North Africa during WWII brings a rich sense of history and perspective. We see that the familiar black humor of our warriors is something in the American genes which will never fade.

Strange how long ago this initial round of "major combat" seems. "Unexpected" consequences cast a long shadow. The understated and dignified Afterword reminds us that military planners had predicted U.S troop levels would drop to 30,000 by September 2003. Hopefully the old adage that what does not break us only makes us stronger will apply to today's Armed Forces. More than a few of us cringe at the phrase "broken force" which occasionally comes up these days.

The descriptions of both Lieutenant General Wallace and Major General Petraeus are nothing short of inspirational, and bring to mind the strength of character and blunt-spoken manners of General Grant.

To me at least, General Eric Shinseki has emerged as the most exemplary general of the entire story. His warning, "Beware the twelve-division strategy for a ten-division Army," reminds us of his professional insight and personal courage. If General Shinseki were heading off to the State Department or the World Bank today, we would be sending a message to the world that we learn from history. Instead, we await more of the unexpected while we ponder new strategies to recruit more brave young men. Atkinson's quote of Machiavelli hits home -- "Wars begin where you will, but they do not end where you please."
FLIDER
Insight into politics vs. military issues; offers some perspectives both from 4-star and the grunt levels.
Uranneavo
Review: "In the Company of Soldiers - A Chronicle of Combat" by Rick Atkinson

I can tell when an author has reached out and grabbed me by the throat when I become so engrossed in reading a book that I miss my stop on the subway! Last evening, while poring over the last few pages of "In the Company of Soldiers," I just barely noticed that the doors of the Orange Line car were about to close at Downtown Crossing - my stop to transfer to the Red Line heading to my home in Quincy. Charles Dickens has the ability to pull me into his stories with that kind of rapt attention; so does Pulitzer Prize winning author Rick Atkinson.

My friend, Kevin Kalkwarf, a West Point grad and Black Hawk pilot, suggested that I read "In the Company of Soldiers." Thanks, Kevin, for the recommendation. In 2003, as the U.S. prepared for the invasion of Iraq, Washington Post journalist, Rick Atkinson, was embedded with the Army's 101st Airborne Division. Atkinson was personally assigned to shadow the 101st Commanding General, David Petraeus. The resulting book paints for the reader one of the most vivid and insightful pictures yet of the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The writer not only was able to look over the shoulder of Petraeus as the 101st traveled from Ft. Campbell Kentucky to Kuwait and then on to Baghdad, he was also able to peer into the general's soul. As a result, I found that this book had a dual impact on me. At one level, Atkinson allowed me to grasp some sense of the hardship that our soldiers have endured in fighting in some of the harshest conditions imaginable. In reading some of the passages in this book, I could almost smell the pungent odors of Najaf and Karbala and almost choke on the ubiquitous sand and dust that insinuates itself into every crevice and orifice. At another level, I was glad for the intimate portrait of Petraeus, the man that many of us are counting on to lead us somehow out of the labyrinth that Iraq has become.

Atkinson's writing is so good that I feel compelled to let him speak in his own words. Here he describes the scene at Camp New Jersey, a way station in Kuwait that the 101st called home while awaiting orders to invade Iraq.

"Yet a desolate, edge-of-the-empire beauty obtained. As Dwyer and I walked, dawn spread over the eastern horizon in a molten brew of orange and indigo, silhouetting the wooden guard towers. Platoons ran wind sprints across the desert or jumped about in calisthenic exuberance. The cuffs of the troops' desert boots were indelibly inked with their blood types, a legion of Os and As and A-positives. A soldier ambled past with a grenade launcher on his shoulder, singing in a sweet falsetto: `Sha-na-na-na, good-bye!' I fancied that in its remote, martial spirit this encampment was of a piece with the Roman outposts, perhaps ancient Timgad in North Africa, built by the Third Legion in A.D. 100, where a traveler described the scuffing cadence of Trajan's soldiers helmed in bronze, and `barbarians from the outer desert in paint and feathers flitting along the narrow byways.'" (Pages 79-80)

One of the aspects of this book that I found most compelling was Atkinson artistry in connecting the Iraq of the 21st century to the Mesopotamia of biblical times and of ancient glories. The following passage is an excellent example of his giftedness in bridging these disparate worlds:

"Chickens scattered into the brush as Warlord 457 [Petraeus' helicopter] and our two Kiowa bodyguards carefully threaded the telephone wires and touched down on a two-lane blacktop a few hundred yards from where the car bomb had detonated this morning. Objective Jenkins, as the Army called this place, occupied the western bank of the Euphrates, fourteen miles north of Najaf. The road continued another eight hundred yards, the crossed the last bridge spanning the river before a great south-flowing fork in the Euphrates. Beyond the bridge lay the town of Kifl. In this place the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel, humorless and God-besotted, had preached to the Jews during their Babylonian captivity in the sixth century B.C., foretelling the restoration of Israel. The 3rd ID [Infantry Division] recently had battled through Jenkins and into Kifl, and I spotted a couple dozen dead Iraqis in body bags stacked under the palms. Here, at least, the corpse traffic still thrived. . . . At 1:35 P.M., a convoy of five Humvees came down the road, trailed by a Bradley. [Lt. General William Scott] Wallace climbed out with Major General Buford C. Blount III, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division. For half an hour they stood on the road with Petraeus and studied their maps. Blount was keen to plunge on toward Baghdad, but Wallace insisted that he wait until all three of the 3rd ID infantry brigades were gathered above Najaf; only today was the 82nd Airborne supplanting Blount's 3rd Brigade at Samawah, where Army intelligence estimated that five hundred entrenched diehards were coercing another fifteen hundred Iraqis to fight through executions and extortion.

I heard the dull crump of a mortar round detonate on our side of the Euphrates. A minute later Army 105mm howitzers barked in reply, dumping fifteen or twenty counterbattery rounds across the river.

Wallace drove off with his entourage. We reboarded the Blackhawk and angled east before swinging south. The lovely green ribbon of the Euphrates scrolled past Kifl, which lay badly smashed on the far bank. Ezekiel's tomb stood somewhere in that desolation. 'There was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to bone.' The prophet had written. `And the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army.'" (Pages 197-199)

Atkinson shares a poignant litany that became an almost predictable exit line whenever Gen. Petraeus would end a conversation with the journalist. The commanding general would wonder out loud: "How does this end?" His thoughtful query becomes even more significant in light of his promotion and the fact that he now holds in his hands the reins for determining how the U.S. military on the ground in Iraq will extricate itself from the quagmire. He is a significant player in determining how it will end.

Atkinson saw the soldiers of the 101st in all kinds of conditions and under the most extreme of circumstances. He eavesdropped on their decision-making, their laughter, their frustrations and their fears. On the day he flew back to Kuwait to return to the U.S., part of him felt as if he were abandoning comrades in arms. His respect for the leadership of Petraeus is heart-felt and well-earned. "His pragmatism and broad peacekeeping experience in Haiti and Bosnia had prepared him for the thankless work of a proconsul in the American imperium." (Page 294)

The writer's admiration for all the soldiers he had come to know comes through loud and clear in this valedictory: "The division's soldiers had done well, demonstrating competence and professionalism. Capably led - the division's brigade commanders and two assistant division commanders were uncommonly excellent - they took hardship in stride and refused to let bloodlust, cynicism, or other despoilers of good army cheat them of their battle honors. They were better than the cause they served, which would soon be tarnished by revelations that the casus belli - that Iraq posed an immanent, existential danger to America and its allies - was inflated and perhaps fraudulent. If the war's predicate was phony, it cheapened the sacrifices of the dead and living alike. Yet such strategic nuances were beyond the province of soldiering, and I believed it vital not to conflate the warriors with the war." (Page 294)

This fine book brings the non-combatant reader as close as possible to the rigors of the modern battlefield, and leaves one with a renewed sense of admiration for those who fight and serve. Atkinson has handled well the trust that was placed in him, and we are all enriched by his thoughtful response to the time he spent in the company of soldiers.

Al
Gindian
This author has several well written books to his credit. In this book he gives his personal account of being imbedded with the famous 101st Airborn Division (Air Assault), under the command of General Petraeus in Iraq His insight as to the activities of General Petraeus and the soldiers under his command is fascinating.

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