Black Hearts: One Platoon's Descent Into Madness in Iraq's Triangle of Death

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Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale, 2011 - History - 439 pages
"Riveting. . . a testament to a misconceived war, and to the ease with which ordinary men, under certain conditions, can transform into monsters."--New York Times Book Review

This is the story of a small group of soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division's fabled 502nd Infantry Regiment--a unit known as "the Black Heart Brigade." Deployed in late 2005 to Iraq's so-called Triangle of Death, a veritable meat grinder just south of Baghdad, the Black Hearts found themselves in arguably the country's most dangerous location at its most dangerous time.

Hit by near-daily mortars, gunfire, and roadside bomb attacks, suffering from a particularly heavy death toll, and enduring a chronic breakdown in leadership, members of one Black Heart platoon--1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion--descended, over their year-long tour of duty, into a tailspin of poor discipline, substance abuse, and brutality.

Four 1st Platoon soldiers would perpetrate one of the most heinous war crimes U.S. forces have committed during the Iraq War--the rape of a fourteen-year-old Iraqi girl and the cold-blooded execution of her and her family. Three other 1st Platoon soldiers would be overrun at a remote outpost--one killed immediately and two taken from the scene, their mutilated corpses found days later booby-trapped with explosives.

Black Hearts is an unflinching account of the epic, tragic deployment of 1st Platoon. Drawing on hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews with Black Heart soldiers and first-hand reporting from the Triangle of Death, Black Hearts is a timeless story about men in combat and the fragility of character in the savage crucible of warfare. But it is also a timely warning of new dangers emerging in the way American soldiers are led on the battlefields of the twenty-first century.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - iftyzaidi - LibraryThing

This is an outstanding work of journalism based on extensive interviews. Frederick tells the tale of 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - arubabookwoman - LibraryThing

Black Hearts: One Platoon's Descent Into Madness in Iraq by Jim Frederick (2010) If you are mad about the U.S. invasion of Iraq, this book will make you madder. If you are mad about the deaths of ... Read full review

Contents

This Is Now the Most Dangerous Place in Iraq
41
Relief in Place Transfer of Authority
51
Route Sportster and Bradley Bridge
93
Communication Breakdowns
108
Nelson and Casica
135
It Is Fucking Pointless
148
FEBRUARY 2006
201
February 1
203
Dilemma and Discovery
310
Remember That Murder of That Iraqi Family?
316
JULYSEPTEMBER 2006
331
The Fight Goes On
333
This Was Life and Death Stuff
340
The Triangle of Death Today and Trials at Home
350
JANUARY 2006
357
POSTSCRIPT
365

Fenlason Arrives
223
MARCH 2006
239
Back to the TCPs
241
The Mayor of Mullah Fayyad
251
The Janabis
258
Twentyone Days
271
APRILJUNE 2006
283
We Had Turned a Corner
285
The Alamo
301
LIST OF CHARACTERS
371
MILITARY UNITS AND RANKS
375
ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
377
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
379
NOTES
385
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
417
INDEX
431
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

JIM FREDERICK was a contributing editor at Time magazine. He was previously a Time senior editor in London and, before that, the magazine's Tokyo bureau chief. He coauthored, with former Army Sergeant Charles Robert Jenkins, The Reluctant Communist: My Desertion, Court-Martial, and Forty-Year Imprisonment in North Korea.


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