A memoir by a Special Forces soldier whose career spans the period from the Iranian hostage crisis of the early 1980s to the post–9/11 Afghan campaigns.
Born in Iran, Lahidji grew up as a Muslim, though during his youth, the country was more modern and Western-oriented than in later years. After school, he moved to the U.S., where a relative owned a gas station, though he had to fulfill his military service before being allowed to leave Iran. In the U.S., deciding he wasn’t cut out for a business career, he reported to a recruiting office and asked to join the Green Berets. That was the start of a remarkable career, and his familiarity with the languages and culture of much of the Muslim world became prime assets. With the assistance of Pezzullo (co-author: Left of Boom: How a Young CIA Case Officer Penetrated the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, 2016, etc.), Lahidji spins yarns of being stranded in Tehran after the Carter administration’s attempt to rescue the hostages failed; getting a distant look at Osama bin Laden in the mountains of Afghanistan; fighting his way out of Mogadishu during the 1993 Black Hawk Down incident; and surviving a helicopter crash when it was shot down in Afghanistan. Throughout, the author offers plenty of energetically told stories of some very hot spots, and he tells them with the uninhibited style of a frontline soldier. There’s not a great deal of depth or fresh insight, but this is the story of a soldier, not a diplomat or historian. Anyone who enjoys an unvarnished, ground-level view of America’s military doing its job will find plenty of what they’re looking for here.
First-person war stories served up by a participant in some of the most dangerous actions of the modern era.