Long Branch Book Club

12 Strong: Insightful, enlightening adventure


On May 3, the Long Branch Book Club met to discuss 12 Strong, a novel previously titled Horse Soldiers based on the true accounts of U.S. troops’ excursions in Afghanistan. Written by journalist Doug Stanton, this book is a documentary-style novelization of the events that U.S. soldiers took into action, to utilize horses and small numbers to combat the Taliban.

While each reader of the Long Branch Book Club appreciated the narrative, a few found the writing style difficult and likened it to reading a long and detailed article. Still, each member found the information shared in 12 Strong to be remarkable and enlightening, gaining an insight into the motivations of modern American soldiers. The book also shared great insights into the cultural structure and attitudes of Taliban occupied Afghanistan’s civilians.

The discussion turned on that note to appreciation for the mental plight of soldiers in combat and what leads many to need another mission despite leaving family and loved ones back home. Each reader sympathized with the juxtaposition these combat soldiers faced upon returning home after the intensities of battle, confronting death and their own probable demise every second of deployment, only to overcome the enemy and make it back to their loved ones in a safe and calm environment. Each club member agreed and a few had witnessed the troubles these soldiers face to adjust to a non-life threatening existence. The readers all understood why some re-enlist and some don’t, especially after finishing 12 Strong.

On June 7 at 5:30 p.m. the Long Branch Book Club will meet at the Long Branch Saloon at 315 Saint Lawrence Street, Gonzales to discuss the Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah.

"France, 1939 - In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn't believe that the Nazis will invade France … but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive."

Anyone is welcome to join the discussion and snacks will be available.