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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (383 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jake Tapper Narrator: Rob Shapiro Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The year was 2009, the month and day, October 3. Taliban fighters, almost 400 in number, attacked 53 U.S. troops stationed at Combat Outpost Keating, a small, dangerously located outpost lying at the base of three mountains a few miles from the Pakistan border.

In "The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor Audiobook," journalist Jake Tapper presents the tragic stories of these American fighting men, including many who lost their lives for no clear reason. Victims of the Taliban, they were also victims of the whims of leaders in our nation's capital.

Why were they there? Why did The Outpost exist in that location for that amount of time in the first place? Even the Pentagon agreed they should never have been located there from the start.

Still, overrun by enemy forces who outnumbered them eight times over, these brave men stood up against the forces of evil and once again, defined the meaning of American courage, American heroism, and American valor.

Many will never know home again, nor will their families hug or hold them once more; however, because of Tapper's important investigative work, their story will be told, and their memories will live on. Maybe, too, some future repetition of needless, senseless slaughter can be avoided.

Despite his telling his superior that the location where a base camp is to be built, the observations of one young intelligence officer are ignored as officers continue to build a camp where no camp should be built.

The Outpost itself becomes the chief protagonist in the story. The audiobook follows the lives of people who try to exist and survive there from 2006-2009. Story lines jump from heavy description of battles and attacks, interactions among leaders and the men they direct, and insights into the soldiers, their families and their lives back home.

The work gives an inside look into the workings of the military, up close and personal, without sugar coating. It exposes faults in the way military intelligence is gathered, interpreted, and acted upon. Sometimes, the blind do lead the blind; higher-ups do not stop and think; rules and procedures exist that do little more than set our soldiers up for failure -- failure that comes with a hefty price tag. Lives are lost for no reason, but generals keep their upper hand and go about the business of being generals.

About the author:

ABC News' senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper has led Emmy Award-winning news shows since being in that position. He has widely covered the elections of President Obama.

His work appears on "Good Morning, America," "Nightline" and "World News with Diane Sawyer" on a regular basis.

At 5:58 a.m. on the morning of October 3, 2009, Combat Outpost Keating was viciously attacked by Taliban insurgents. The 53 US troops, having been stationed at the bottom of three steep mountains, were severely outmanned by nearly four hundred Taliban fighters. Though the Americans ultimately prevailed, their casualties made it one of the war’s deadliest battles for US forces. And after more than three years in that dangerous and vulnerable valley a mere fourteen miles from the Pakistan border, the US abandoned and bombed the camp. A Pentagon investigation later concluded that there was no reason for Outpost Keating to have been there in the first place.

The Outpost is a tour de force of investigative journalism. Jake Tapper exposes the origins of this tragic and confounding story, exploring the history of the camp and detailing the stories of soldiers heroic and doomed, shadowed by the recklessness of their commanders in Washington, DC, and a war built on constantly shifting sands.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “As Rudyard Kipling did in the nineteenth century, now, in his magnificent book, Jake Tapper takes us to an untamed part of Afghanistan at war. Journey to The Outpost to understand what our troops go through—and why they go through it.”

    James Bradley, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers

  • “Brilliant, dedicated reporting by a journalist who goes to ground to get the truth. A sad, real tale about this war, America, and the brave warriors who live—and die—at the point of the spear.”

    Bob Woodward, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • The Outpost is a mind-boggling, all-too-true story of heroism, hubris, failed strategy, and heartbreaking sacrifice. If you want to understand how the war in Afghanistan went off the rails, you need to read this book.”

    Jon Krakauer, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Analyzing the consequences of decisions, large and small, is what makes Tapper’s book so important…For those wishing to understand the middle years of the war, they could do no better than to read The Outpost.”


  • “[Jake Tapper] has woven an intricate account about battlefield bravery hamstrung by military bureaucracy…[His] voice is understated, not polemical—just a good reporter letting the facts speak for themselves.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Mr. Tapper lays bare the poor decision making that shattered dozens of American lives in the pursuit of an ill-conceived goal.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Meticulously researched, excellently written, and a must-read…It may prove one of the most important [books] of the year.”

    Seattle Times

  • “A heartbreaking chronicle of the rotation of soldiers asked to oversee an underfunded, often thankless mission.”

    Huffington Post

  • “One of the most important [books] of the year. Jake Tapper’s book is meticulously researched, excellently written, and a must-read for everyone who does more than just mouth the phrase, ‘I support the troops.’”

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune

  • “The seminal work of documentary journalism to emerge out of the post–9/11 war in Afghanistan.”

    Business Standard

  • “[A] fascinating history…Tapper delivers a blow by blow account of [the soldiers’] actions, their personal stories, and the tortured, often incomprehensible command decisions that kept them fighting despite inadequate support and an ally, Pakistan, that actively encouraged the enemy.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[An] incredible account of how this outpost was horribly jeopardized.”


  • “This is a narrative, not a polemic, and Tapper patiently lays out the history of what happened at Keating in a gripping, forceful style…This unadorned, powerful accountchallenges the purposes and wisdom of America’s ongoing military presence [in Afghanistan]…A timely indictment of a thoughtless waste of young American lives.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Current Interest

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by BettyAnn | 2/7/2014

    " Very intense story bringing to me a glimpse into the amazing experience our troops face as well as the people in the mountains of Afghanistan. So worth the time spent reading. Your breath will stop and your heart will ache. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Eraach | 2/2/2014

    " This book has opened my eyes wider to the horrors of war. Americans need to have a better understanding of our role in Afghanistan and realize the sacrifices our troops are facing. Jake Tapper gives the opportunity for just that in this book. When Bush and Rumsfeld cut the number of troops in Afghanistan in order to crush Iraq, our troops were left with less air support which in actuality means less medivac flights for our wounded and with too few troops to defend our outposts. This is a tribute to not only the fallen but to those humble souls who came out of COP Keating forever changed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Ben Fuller | 2/1/2014

    " Closest thing to being there. Any citizen who votes to put fellow citizens in harms way should read this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Dan Schoenekase | 1/30/2014

    " Just superb. "

  • > Show All
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