Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America's Special Operations Forces

Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America's Special Operations Forces

by Mark Moyar


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The epic story of America's most elite warriors: the Special Operations Forces.

Born as small appendages to the conventional armies of World War II, the Special Operations Forces have grown into a behemoth of 70,000 troops, including Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces, Special Operations Marines, Rangers, and Delta Force. Weaving together their triumphs and tribulations, acclaimed historian Mark Moyar introduces a colorful cast of military men, brimming with exceptional talent, courage and selflessness.

In a nation where the military is the most popular institution, America's Special Operations Forces have become the most popular members of the military. Through nighttime raids on enemy compounds and combat advising of resistance movements, special operators have etched their names into the nation's registry of heroes. Yet the public knows little of the journey that they took to reach these heights, a journey that was neither easy nor glamorous.

Fighting an uphill battle for most of their seventy-five year history, the Special Operations Forces slipped on many an occasion, and fell far on several. Presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama have enthusiastically championed Special Operations Forces, but their enthusiasm has often surpassed their understanding, resulting in misuse or overuse of the troops. Lacking clearly defined missions, Special Operations Forces have had to reinvent themselves time and again to prove their value in the face of fierce critics-many of them from the conventional military, which from the start opposed the segregation of talent in special units.

Highlighting both the heroism of America's most elite soldiers and the controversies surrounding their meteoric growth, Oppose Any Foe presents the first comprehensive history of these special warriors and their daring missions. It is essential reading for anyone interested in America's military history-and the future of warfare.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465053933
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 04/25/2017
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 764,670
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Mark Moyar
is the director of the Center for Military and Diplomatic History in Washington, DC. The author of five previous books, he has served as a senior fellow at the Joint Special Operations University and a consultant for the US Special Operations Command. He lives in Oak Hill, Virginia.

Table of Contents

Prologue ix

Chapter 1 Rangers and Forcemen 1

Chapter 2 Raiders and Frogmen 41

Chapter 3 OSS 63

Chapter 4 The Forgotten War 97

Chapter 5 Vietnam 123

Chapter 6 JSOC and SOCOM 157

Chapter 7 Gothic Serpent 193

Chapter 8 Regime Change 221

Chapter 9 Counterinsurgency and Counter terrorism 265

Chapter 10 Overreach 299

Chapter 11 Conclusion 327

Acknowledgments 347

Notes 349

Index 387

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