MASTERS OF CHAOS: The Secret History of the Special Forces

Linda Robinson, Author . Public Affairs $26 (416p) ISBN 978-1-58648-249-7

This impressively readable account chronicles the role of the U.S. Army's Special Forces (aka the Green Berets, a label they do not care for) over the past 15 years. Special Forces operations included Somalia, the first Gulf War, the Balkans, Afghanistan and once again the Gulf. The latter two operations are are allotted half the book, with the ongoing presence in Iraq being the forces' largest operation since Vietnam. Based on interviews with 30-odd operators, the book is a compelling group portrait of some of America's most dedicated warriors. A journalist specializing in national security subjects, particularly unconventional warfare, Robinson mostly shows the men performing their original role: organizing and training local friendlies to liberate their countries or at least achieve American goals. Recent achievements along those lines include organizing Shiite militias in Iraq and leading Kurdish forces to tie down Saddam's army in the north. Robinson also presents in some detail the new role of the Special Forces, one of major strategic significance: calling in aerial fire support on enemy targets in support of either U.S. or indigenous forces in distant lands. Still mostly secret, she finds even after careful investigation, is their work with the FBI after 9/11. Agent, Flip Brophy for Sterling Lord Literistic. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/27/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 388 pages - 978-1-58648-352-4
Open Ebook - 417 pages - 978-0-7867-3815-1
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