12 Strong

The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers

12 Strong

Now a major motion picture from Jerry Bruckheimer and Lionsgate!

The New York Times bestselling “spellbinding true-life story” (USA TODAY) of a United States Special Forces team deployed to the war-ravaged Afghanistan mountains in the weeks immediately following 9/11, overcoming great odds to become heroes of our era.

In the weeks following the attacks of September 11, a small band of Special Forces soldiers secretly entered Afghanistan. Riding on horseback, they pursued the Taliban over the stark and mountainous Afghanistan terrain. After a series of intense battles, they captured the strategically essential city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

The bone-weary American soldiers were welcomed as liberators as they rode into the city, and the streets thronged with Afghans overjoyed that the Taliban regime had been overthrown. Then the action took a wholly unexpected turn. During a surrender of six hundred Taliban troops, the Horse Soldiers were ambushed by the would-be POWs. Dangerously overpowered, they fought for their lives in the city’s immense fortress, Qala-i-Jangi, or the House of War. At risk were the military gains of the entire campaign: if the soldiers perished or were captured, the entire effort to outmaneuver the Taliban was likely doomed.

Previously published as Horse Soldiers, 12 Strong “is not just a battle story—it’s also about the home front. An important book” (the TODAY show). A thrilling, inspiring tale of a group of men on horses who did the impossible and an incredible account of real life bravery and heroism in the face of insurmountable odds.
  • Pocket Books | 
  • 576 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501179952 | 
  • December 2017
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Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Questions for Horse Soldiers

 

1.       Were you surprised to learn of America’s secret effort to attack the Taliban in the fall of 2001, or did you already know about it? How advisable was this plan? Does knowing about the success of this campaign change your understanding of America’s war in Iraq, which followed?

2.       As Doug Stanton shows, the American soldiers preparing for their mission to Afghanistan were yanked out of their lives and family relationships to go to war. How did you respond to his portrayal of the men and women involved? Did this exposition add to the power of the story, or were you impatient for the action to begin? Why? Do you know anyone who served in this or another comparable conflict, and was his or her experience similar?

3.       Doug Stanton felt that the soldiers’ efforts to get into Afghanistan by flying Chinook helicopters over 14,000 ft. mountain peaks was an important part of the story. Do you agree? Did you enjoy knowing what the men went through just get to the battle zone?

4.       There are a number of key American soldiers in this story. Which ones were your favorites, and why? Were you interested in their relationships with the Northern Alliance soldiers? Did you trust the Northern Alliance soldiers? Why? How about the Northern Alliance see more

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About the Author

Doug Stanton
Photograph © Tony Demin

Doug Stanton

Doug Stanton is the author of the New York Times bestsellers In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors and Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan, which is the basis for a Jerry Bruckheimer–produced movie by the same name, starring Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon, to be released by Warner Bros. in 2018. He attended Hampshire College and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Time, The Washington Post, Men’s Journal, The Daily Beast, Newsweek, Esquire, and Outside, where he has been a contributing editor. Stanton is a founder of the National Writers Series, a year-round book festival, and lives in his hometown of Traverse City, Michigan, with his wife, Anne Stanton, and their three children, John, Katherine, and Will.

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