In the Company of Soldiers

  • by Rick Atkinson
  • Narrated by Rick Atkinson
  • 6 hrs and 4 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 U.S. Army in combat. Granted complete access to the commanders and troops of the 101st, Atkinson saw their war from the preparations in Kuwait through the occupation of Baghdad. As the war unfolded, he witnessed the division's struggles to overcome a murderous attack by one of its own soldiers, a disastrous Apache helicopter raid, and fierce resistance from guerrilla diehards in Najaf, Karbala, and Hilla.
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 observes Petraeus as he teaches, goads, and leads his troops and subordinate commanders in several intense battles. All around Petraeus, we watch the men and women of a storied division grapple with the challenges of waging war in an unspeakably harsh environment. But even as the military wins an overwhelming victory, we also see portents of the battles that would haunt the occupation in the long months ahead.
In the Company of Soldiers is a dramatic, utterly fresh view of the modern American soldier in action from the premier military historian of his generation.


What the Critics Say

"The most intimate, vivid and well-informed account yet published of those major combat operations that President Bush declared at an end on May 1." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Excellent reportage..." (Booklist)
"Superb writing and balance make this the account to beat." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Mixed Bag

While the author did a fine job of documenting the professionalism and endurance of the command soldiers of the 101st, he cheapened the work by grinding his anti-Iraq war axe. All the usual leftist dumps on Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz are paraded out, along with the sneering "well, were are the weapons of mass destruction, huh???" Regardless of whether Saddam possessed as much *capability* as we thought he did, he possessed all the intent necessary to rely on him to mount threats in the future. Also, he had an abundant track record of supporting terror. It's impossible to see what future would have resulted had we continued to place our faith in the UN (which was already under leftist pressure to end sanctions entirely) and let Saddam stay in place.

The war on terror is nothing less than the battle of Western Civilization against the anarchic brutality of militant Islam and those who seek to use it as a weapon for their own secular purposes (not anymore, Saddam). Those who imagine that it is a police action ("Get Osama") best left to the UN place our nation's security in inept, perhaps even entirely hostile, hands.
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- Kevin Christy "kkchristy"

Back seat driving

The book fails on two fronts. First, the author can't resist picking at the Bush administration's policies and reasons for war. Newsflash Rick - people against the war aren't going to read your book. The audience for a book about soldier experiences during the Gulf War are...surprise surprise people who are generally in favor of disposing Saddam and believe the war was about more than finding WMD's.

Second problem, this book isn't even about soldier experiences. If you enjoy hearing about logistics and the commanding officers that logisticize, then you'll love this book. 90% of the time the author is in a CP or a helicopter. There is virtually no ground time with troops.

For a good example of a Gulf War book where the author doesn't let their politics ruin the story, check out 'Naked in Baghdad'.
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- Ben

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-09-2004
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio