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Warrior King

The Triumph and Betrayal of an American Commander in Iraq

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Nathan Sassaman with Joe Layden

St. Martin's Press

The startling and controversial memoir of combat and betrayal, written by one of the most prominent members of the U.S. fighting forces in Iraq

A West Point graduate, a former star quarterback who carried Army to its first bowl victory, and a courageous warrior who had proven himself on the battlefield time and again, Lt. Col. Nathan Sassaman was one of the most celebrated officers in the United States military. He commanded more than eight hundred soldiers in the heart of the insurgency-ravaged Sunni Triangle in Iraq, and his unit’s job was to seek out and eliminate terrorists and loyalists to Saddam Hussein, while simultaneously rebuilding the region’s infrastructure and introducing democratic processes to a broken people. Sassaman’s tactics were highly aggressive, his methods innovative, and his success in Iraq nearly unparalleled.

Yet Sassaman will always be known for a fateful decision to cover up the alleged drowning of an Iraqi by his men, in which they purportedly forced two detainees to jump into the Tigris River. The army initially charged three soldiers with manslaughter and a fourth with assault---the first time troops who served in Iraq have been charged with a killing in connection with the handling of detainees. Sassaman’s decision led to his downfall, despite an impressive career, and sent shock waves through the American military.

This controversial decision goes to the heart of the complex fight in Iraq, where key army leaders betray one another, politics in the war room leads to lost lives on the battlefield, and enemy factions routinely sabotage U.S. efforts, making success difficult for American commanders on the battlefield.

Warrior King is the explosive memoir of one of the most deeply involved members of the U.S. military in Iraq. This is the first book to take readers from the overnight brutality of combat to the daunting daytime humanitarian tasks of rebuilding Iraq to the upper echelons of the Pentagon to show how and why the war has gone horribly wrong.


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Chapter One

I was a soldier made, not born.

While the tradition of military service is deeply rooted in some families, it was little more than white noise in my early life. Four of my uncles on my mother’s side and one uncle on my father’s side of the family had served in the army: one in World War II, one in Korea, two in peacetime, and one in Vietnam. Their war stories were offered only grudgingly, and I have no recollection of sitting at their feet, taking in with wide- eyed innocence everything they said. It was just something they had done once, a long time ago, and
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Lt. Col. (Ret.) Nathan Sassaman with Joe Layden

  • NATHAN SASSAMAN graduated from West Point in 1985. He was captain and quarterback of the Army football team, rushed for more than a thousand yards in a single season (1984), and led the Cadets to their first postseason bowl victory over Michigan State. In August 2003, when his patrol came under attack, Sassaman braved machine-gun and RPG fire to drag one of his wounded soldiers from his vehicle. Then he chased down the insurgents, killing or capturing all of them, earning himself a Bronze Star for valor in Iraq. He commanded the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment in Iraq from 2003 to 2004. He lives in Colorado.

    JOE LAYDEN is a New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist whose work has been honored by the New York Newspaper Publishers Association and the national Associated Press Sports Editors. He lives in upstate New York.

  • Nathan Sassaman Photo: Jon Shireman
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    Warrior King

    The Triumph and Betrayal of an American Commander in Iraq

    Lt. Col. (Ret.) Nathan Sassaman with Joe Layden

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    FROM THE PUBLISHER

    St. Martin's Press

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