• Eagle Down

  • The Last Special Forces Fighting the Forever War
  • By: Jessica Donati
  • Narrated by: Brittany Pressley
  • Length: 9 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (109 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A Wall Street Journal national security reporter takes listeners into the lives of US Special Forces on the front lines against the Taliban and Islamic State, where a new and covert war is keeping Afghanistan from collapse....

"Powerful, important, and searing." (General David Petraeus, US Army (ret.), former commander, US Central Command, former CIA director)

In 2015, the White House claimed triumphantly "the longest war in American history is over". But for some, it was just the beginning of a new and covert war, fought far from public view, with limited resources, little governmental oversight, and contradictory orders. Take Hutch, a battle-worn Green Beret on his fifth combat tour in 2015, tasked with a high-stakes mission: lead a small band of men into Kunduz, recapture the city from the Taliban, and turn it over to the Afghan government. The US role was meant to be a secret-after all, the war was over. Then, disaster struck. He called in an airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital, killing dozens of doctors and patients. Or Caleb, who stepped on a bomb during a raid on a Taliban hideout in notorious Sangin. Or Andy, trapped in Marjah with a crashed Black Hawk and no air support. 

From Hutch to Caleb to Andy, Eagle Down is a dramatic and intimate portrayal of this ongoing forgotten war that moves from the desperate battlegrounds in muddy Afghan villages all the way to the White House. Pulitzer Prize Finalist Jessica Donati, with big picture insight and on-the-ground grit, reveals how America came to rely on US Special Forces, through successive policy directives that ramped up the war under the Obama and Trump administrations. Donati argues the covert war is failing to stabilize Afghanistan, and without a long-term plan, is undermining US interests both at home and abroad. 

Relying on Donati's daring on-the-ground reporting, first-hand accounts from Special Forces, military documents, and declassified reports, Eagle Down is an account of the heroism, sacrifice, and tragedy experienced by those that continue to fight America's longest war.

©2021 Jessica Donati (P)2021 PublicAffairs
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"Donati's on-the-ground account - and it's clear that she put herself in constant danger to tell the soldiers' stories even as American officials dithered about how to deploy those troops - is sometimes as hallucinatory as Dispatches and as taut and well written as Mark Bowden's now-classic book.... Exemplary journalism and a powerful argument for not putting soldiers in harm's way unless we're sure we know why." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

What listeners say about Eagle Down

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Excellent depiction of the non tactical battle.

I am. unfortunately very intimate with portions of this book. There were a few inaccuracies to fight through,. But she really does a stellar job of illustrating the political shit show that is nearly impossible to navigate in a declared theater of armed conflict. highly recommend this book to anyone that has loved it recently.

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Powerful and moving

A devastating and powerful account of the more recent years of the Afghan war from a reporter who has seen it first hand. Donati illuminates the war and the politics surrounding it through powerful and previously unheard human stories. Whether you’ve read everything or nothing on Afghanistan, the stories will move and captivate any reader.

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Great Listen

Great read, intriguing stories and insights on the war. As a veteran, glad to see fellow Vets endure and continue fighting after their service.

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Enlightening

After all the chaos following the withdrawal from Afghanistan. This book provided a much deeper look and answered a ton of questions of how we got to this point. There are a lot of answers for the reader.

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Informative insight into our Arm Forces challenges in the war on Terror

I found the storied events informative and the characters interesting. Also appreciated the obvious depth of research that went into this writing. More substantiative, was the emotional roller coaster and heart felt trials and tribulations, so well presented by the author, of our men and woman in uniform serving their country. Kudos!

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  • Mr T Kearney
  • 03-14-22

I enjoyed this title, but expected more action.

It reads like one of those TV military series, with the home life. I'm not in to that personally, but it is well written and was well read. So I cannot fault it for that
The stories of injuries sustained, and the quick escape in 2021 just makes the whole adventure in Afghanistan all the more poignant and a little unnecessary, in hindsight.
But I enjoyed listening.

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  • Audible Customer
  • 04-13-21

Disappointing

American involvement in Afghanistan is a massive subject in itself This book only riches the subject narrowly through the experiences of a few Soldiers and civilians. The meat of what happened there is barely touched,

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-08-21

Excellent account of a war the Pentagon downplayed

This is an excellent book that complements much of the literature on the war in Afghanistan. I am a retired British Army brigadier. I've written on the Irag and Afghan wars in my book "Blood, Meal and Dust" (also on Audible). Whilst there are good accounts of US SOF in the combat phases of OIF and OEF, particularly their work in the regime change phase of the Afghan war, there has been far too little credible writing on the war in Afghanistan after major combat operations finished in 2014.
This excellent book fills that gap. It has gritty accounts of the fighting in Kunduz and Helmand, but also gets under the skin of the SOF soldiers, officers and their families, in a way that other books do not. It gives a picture of the "green beret arm of US SOF that is missing from many accounts, especially the otherwise excellent account by General Stan McChrystal.
If you like this book I'd also recommend "The CIA war in Kurdistan", also on Audible. It's mainly about the CIA in Iraq in 2002-3, but has a different perspective on deployment of US SOF to Kurdistan in 2003.
Its also well read!

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  • Christopher W.
  • 01-31-21

Fascinating and informative

A great listen. The stories from the forces and players on the ground are gripping and insightful. The author skilfully combines them with great observations on the National and international politics surrounding the conflict. All in all providing a providing a deeply insightful look into the ongoing situation in Afghanistan. Narration was great as-well, would highly recommend!