The Chosen Few by Gregg Zoroya

The men and women of the United States armed forces never cease to amaze me. Their dedication to their country and each other is astounding. Gregg Zoroya writes an account highlighting the fighting abilities and sacrifices of these men and women in his book The Chosen Few: A Company of Paratroopers and Its Heroic Struggle to Survive in the Mountains of Afghanistan.

Zoroya, like so many great authors in the past, perfectly describes the fighting spirit of America’s warriors. He chronicles the different firefights and battles in explicit detail.

Zoroya pulls the reader in with brief biographies of the men in the company. This approach acquaints the reader with the men and humanizes them (all too often it is easy to read of casualties without thinking of the human sacrifice). The humanization is hard because you get to slightly know the men and are more unnerved when they are grievously wounded or killed.

The combat descriptions, as told to Zaroya by the men who experienced it, are gripping. I would like to say hard to put down, but that is not true because the descriptions of the action are so intense that you find yourself putting it down briefly to get a break. Zaroya’s writing is magnificent and powerful.

The emotions brought forth by Zaroya’s writing are powerful. More than once, I found myself wiping away a tear after reading about the fate of a paratrooper.

A refreshing change from some of the books on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that Zaroya is not all rah rah U.S.A. He subtly points out the mistakes and deficiencies of American commanders. He also gives respect and admiration to the execution of well-planned attacks by the Taliban and other enemy fighters. He gathers this respect from the paratroopers who fought them. As in Vietnam, the Americans in Afghanistan depend on firepower to equal the troop disparity. However, also as in Vietnam, the Taliban have learned to “hug” the American positions to try to neutralize that superior firepower.

A gripping and enduring tribute to the men of the “Chosen Few.”

The Chosen Few Book Cover The Chosen Few
Gregg Zoroya
Da Capo Press
May 17, 2016

A single company of US paratroopers--calling themselves the "Chosen Few"--arrived in eastern Afghanistan in late 2007 hoping to win the hearts and minds of the remote mountain people and extend the Afghan government's reach into this wilderness. Instead, they spent the next fifteen months in a desperate struggle, living under almost continuous attack, forced into a slow and grinding withdrawal, and always outnumbered by Taliban fighters descending on them from all sides. When the Battle of Wanat ended, those who survived came home to a different kind of victory--not of enemies destroyed or cities captured but of acclaim as one of the most decorated fighting units in America’s modern wars. Two among them would receive the Medal of Honor for valor in combat. All of them would be forever changed.

About the author

Jeff Grim

Jeff Grim has been a reader all of his life. He has had a particular interest in military history, any war at any time. His fascination with military history has brought him to an interest in historical fiction where the history comes alive with fictitious heroes and villains. Recently, Jeff has become interested in historical mysteries set in various time periods.

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