Black Hearts : One Platoon’s Descent Into Madness In Iraq’s Triangle Of Death by Jim Frederick

Black Hearts : One Platoon's Descent Into Madness In Iraq's Triangle Of Death by Jim Frederick

This New York Times Book Review describes the book as “riveting” and a testament to the disastrous consequences of a misguided war and the potential for ordinary men to become monsters. The book tells the story of a small group of soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division’s renowned 502nd Infantry Regiment, also known as “the Black Heart Brigade.” These soldiers were sent to the extremely dangerous Triangle of Death in Iraq in late 2005, where they were subjected to constant mortar attacks, gunfire, and roadside bombs.

The Black Hearts, already grappling with a high death toll and a breakdown in leadership, faced numerous challenges during their year-long deployment. The situation deteriorated further as members of 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, the Black Heart brigade, spiraled into a cycle of indiscipline, substance abuse, and brutality.

The book reveals that four soldiers from 1st Platoon committed one of the most despicable war crimes of the Iraq War – the rape and cold-blooded execution of a fourteen-year-old Iraqi girl and her family. Additionally, three other 1st Platoon soldiers were overwhelmed at an isolated outpost, with one killed instantly, and the other two later found dead and booby-trapped with explosives.

Told through extensive interviews with the soldiers and the author’s own reporting from the Triangle of Death, Black Hearts provides an unflinching account of the tragic deployment of 1st Platoon. The book explores the experiences of men in combat, highlighting the fragility of human character in the brutal crucible of warfare.

Ultimately, Black Hearts also serves as a timely warning, shedding light on the new dangers emerging in the way American soldiers are led on the battlefields of the twenty-first century.

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