Get Your Free Audiobook

Alone at Dawn

Medal of Honor Recipient John Chapman and the Untold Story of the World's Deadliest Special Operations Force
Length: 11 hrs and 23 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (70 ratings)

Non-member price: $41.31

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

The astonishing true account of John Chapman, Medal of Honor recipient and Special Ops Combat Controller, and his heroic one-man stand during the Afghan War, as he sacrificed his life to save the lives of 23 comrades-in-arms.

In the predawn hours of March 4, 2002, just below the 10,000-foot peak of a mountain in eastern Afghanistan, a fierce battle raged. Outnumbered by Al Qaeda fighters, Air Force Combat Controller John Chapman and a handful of SEALs struggled to take the summit in a desperate bid to find a lost teammate. Chapman, leading the charge, was gravely wounded in the initial assault. Believing he was dead, his SEAL leader ordered a retreat. Chapman regained consciousness, alone with the enemy closing in on three sides, beginning the most difficult and exceptional fight of his life. 

John Chapman's incredible display of valor - first by saving the lives of his SEAL teammates and then, aware that he was mortally wounded, single-handedly engaging two dozen hardened fighters to save the lives of an incoming rescue squad - posthumously earned him the Medal of Honor. Chapman is the first airman in nearly 50 years to be given the distinction reserved for America's greatest heroes.

Alone at Dawn is also a behind-the-scenes look at the Air Force Combat Controllers: the world's deadliest and most versatile special operations force, whose members must not only exceed the qualifications of Navy SEAL and Army Delta Force teams, but also act with sharp decisiveness and deft precision - even in the face of life-threatening danger.

Drawing from firsthand accounts, classified documents, dramatic video footage, and extensive interviews with leaders and survivors of the operation, Alone at Dawn is the story of an extraordinary man's brave last stand and the brotherhood that forged him.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Dan Schilling and Lori Longfritz (P)2019 Grand Central Publishing

Critic Reviews

"The men who serve in Combat Control whose incredible story is presented in this book aren't asking for recognition. No late night talk show, video game, or film could possibly begin to convey the intensity of the experience, the fear, the sense of duty and valor, the bonds that unite these men and, above all, the inner feelings and motivation of someone who has stepped up and accepted the challenge of this toughest of Missions." (Jeffrey "Skunk" Baxter, musician, national security specialist)

"Alone at Dawn is riveting and powerful. This stunning account reveals for the first time one of the most extraordinary acts of valor and courage in the annals of US history. With this book, USAF CCT John Chapman now rightfully takes his place as an iconic hero of the Afghanistan War. All Americans should honor and enshrine the memory of such undaunted self-sacrifice and valor." [Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, USA (ret.), author of On Killing, On Combat, and Assassination Generation]

"As one of our nation's most elite special operations forces, Combat Controllers not only jump, dive, shoot, and maneuver with the best, they uniquely combine these skills with absolute mastery of three-dimensional battlespace to deliver lethal and precision airpower, making them the deadliest force on any battlefield. Among even this exceptional and select brotherhood, John Chapman's heroism on Takur Ghar is without equal in America's longest war." [Lt. Gen. Donny Wurster, USAF (ret.), former commander, Air Force Special Operations Command]

What listeners say about Alone at Dawn

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    60
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    55
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    55
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant - Emotional - Tragic

A great true story of special forces and the reality of human management which when it goes wrong always creates casualties

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome Storyline, 👍

Awesome Storyline, I highly recommended, this book, Gives a very detail overview of the role of Combat Controller

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Scott
  • Scott
  • 11-07-2019

Wasted chance to honor a hero.

As a Green Beret who has worked closely with CCTs I had VERY high hopes for this book - but... The author seemed intent on proving how badass CCTs were rather than focusing on Chapman and his story. I do like how he pulled no punches on the BS the other players pulled - but again - it just seemed like he had an personal agenda other than to tell Chapman's story. Narrator was really bad - had me rolling my eyes several times.

111 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for N.
  • N.
  • 18-10-2019

At times both compelling and tedious

tl;dr - Gets dragged down by military jargon and finger pointing at times; but examines a life worth knowing and remembering. OVERALL - 3/5 ("Pretty Good") At the heart of the book is the story of a man who performed amazing, at times superhuman acts, for both his country and his brothers-in-arms -- ultimately at the cost of his own life. Heroism, determination and bravery are in no short supply here.  However, neither are military jargon, a ton of needless acronyms (some parts are hard to follow as there are more military abbreviations than actual words) and a somewhat surprising amount of finger pointing. These, combined with a very redundant opening portion of the book where the author goes above and far beyond what is needed to express how elite combat controllers are, unfortunately make the book a little harder to enjoy.  That said, it is still an interesting perspective and worth a read. If nothing else, it'll offer a different viewpoint than the numerous SEAL memoirs out there.  PERFORMANCE - 2/5 ("It's Okay") The narrator's performance often felt like someone reading off an official incident report of some sort or another. I suspect this has more to do with the writing than the narrator, but it still felt like a recital, not necessarily a conversational narration (which I tend to prefer).  STORY - 4/5 ("It's Great") There is a lot of history and context that needs to be set up before things really "get moving" so to speak. Sp while the actual meat of the story is a smaller portion at the back third of the book it doesn't take away from the incredible life and actions of John Chapman.  Chapman aside, this also offers an intriguing look at how military operations are coordinated -- both the good parts and the bad parts. The flow of the story is at times uneven and jarring but when the focus is on Chapman it is always compelling. 

42 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for hal landrum
  • hal landrum
  • 05-01-2020

Don’t waste your points: poorly narrated, poorly written.

I chose this book based upon a preponderance of five star reviews overlooking one bad review. I wish I had done just the opposite: half the time I don’t know what the narrator is talking about. The narrator’s droning voice put me to sleep which is a shame because I need to stay awake while driving. Don’t waste your time or your points. A shame, really. Too darned wordy.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Frank Dailey
  • Frank Dailey
  • 26-06-2019

One of the Most Accurate and Compelling Account

Alone at Dawn, is clearly one of the best accounts of the history of the Combat Controll Community. Having served with this community for over 30 yrs and supported this mission during these events. This is the most honest and truthful accounts of the missions and the herosism both on the top of that mountain and across the battlefield. John Chapman was an incredible leaders. He treated support community as a part of his team. I have never know a person who had a bad word to say of him. The specific story of his caring about those who he cared for in school, well that man never level of caring never left him! He was that guy! The presentation of the MoH, had hundreds of amazing friend from John's youth, his dive coach, childhood friends, and teammates was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. John's life was incredible, and his MoH was the same way, That ceremony was one of the only one of the White House Ceremonies that was concluded in Whistles and Cheers along with Valerie lifting the Medal of Honor and holding to the sky! This is one of the greatest books I have read. CMSgt Frank Dailey

58 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Joe
  • Joe
  • 19-08-2019

John was one bad@#$ MF'r

1. John was one bad@#$ MF'r 2. I've never served. 3. A lot of SEAL bashing but they might benefit from some humbling.. 4. Yes CCT's are hardcore but they're not solely responsible for all of the success as this book seems to often suggest. Pilots, Rangers, Intel, technology, etc. Overall great book, thanks!

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Pryce B.
  • Pryce B.
  • 30-09-2019

Tediously Written

This story is naturally compelling. The actions of these men is astounding. That is what makes the tedious style of storytelling that the author chooses to use so especially painful. His attempts at using flowery language and engaging literary devices come across as cheap and unnecessary. Many things end up getting repeated several times, and it quickly becomes an exercise in patience to just get through the book. The actual story is incredible. It does not need to be over dramatized or spiced up. Giving it an extra star for the subject matter alone.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lawrence A. Luby
  • Lawrence A. Luby
  • 27-06-2019

Must read!!

Endless great books written about delta & ST6. It’s nice to finally have Chappy and the wider STS community chronicled the way in which it deserved. Having chappy’s last heroic moments contextualized like this was heartbreaking yet largely inspirational. I loved this book👍👍

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David
  • David
  • 05-07-2019

Wow!

Thank God we have such men. I found this a fascinating look into such an elite but poorly known unit, and such a moving chronicle of the life and death of one of its most famous members. I liked that we also got well documented accounts of other battles CCT were involved with in the early days of the war. I very much hope for a companion book to tell their tale since Anaconda to the present day.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jacob Wallendal
  • Jacob Wallendal
  • 07-07-2019

CCT story finally told during this incredible book

The story of John Chapman was well written and I am glad it was told. I am also glad this book covered what CCT life and training is like. I was a part of 93-001 (Balls 1) at the OL-H. This book brought back incredible memories. Thanks You!

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for JJ MARTINEZ
  • JJ MARTINEZ
  • 27-07-2019

Great Read!

I highly recommend this book to everyone! It shed light on a lot of things and told a very power story. 5 Stars All the way!!!!!

4 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for G. KELSO
  • G. KELSO
  • 24-07-2019

It will be a great read but the performer lets this down

I was enjoying the book but Kiff VandenHeuvel has driven me to the decision to return this title on Audible. Firstly, there is no ‘W’ in February. Secondly, with a simple google check he could have found out that the word ‘Aussie’ was pronounced ‘Ozy’ NOT ‘arsey’. Hearing him miss pronounce just these two words has driven me mad.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-12-2019

aweful narrator again. Over the top american

just so typical narrator spoiling it and then it's the typical American line "combat controllers are the best of the best of the best of the best. blablabla. I couldn't listen longer than 5 minutes sadly.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-05-2020

Interesting tale about people you never heard of.

Very interesting tale of a team of people who work along side the most trained people in the world yet we have never heard of them ! great read without waving too many flags and rubbing patriotism in your face.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Luke Monteith
  • Luke Monteith
  • 12-03-2020

amazing

absolutely amazing it needs to be made in to a movie such a great story

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-09-2020

Very difficult as an audiobook

Too many acronyms to be successful as an audio book, the author felt it important to call out what each one was every time, painfully narrated. Gave up. It’s a pity, it’s a fantastic account of skills and bravery of America’s finest, best read on paper.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for john lafferty
  • john lafferty
  • 12-07-2020

Amazing Story

An eye opener to a branch of Special Forces I never knew existed. This book could be the grounds for not just one movie, but at least 4 or 5. I had no idea Combat Controllers existed and am utterly shocked at what they do in battle under intense pressure. Yes, it is annoying, that the narrator cannot pronounce Aussie. It took me about 4 hrs to realise what he was actually trying to say. But the story-line grips you from start to finish. John Chapman's story needs to be made into a film to honour him.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Nadja
  • Nadja
  • 13-02-2020

Informative, scary and heart breaking.

I found myself day dreaming from time to time during the listening of this book, which ultimately could have been down to me personally not being captivated by the words spoken or the fact that some sections seemed uninteresting and a little dull. With that being said I do not regret listening to this book about John Chapman, his brothers in arms and his family ( and occasionally the terrorists point of view ). The man earnt his medal whole heartedly. You can only hope that the men he fought with, his wife and his family find some comfort in knowing that the man they loved that day did everything could and had trained for his whole life, coming out of the situation a true hero.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for rory kavanagh
  • rory kavanagh
  • 25-12-2019

Review

Bit hard to follow at times.Extremely technical and a little dragged out.Last 5 chapters very well delivered and gripping.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Billy
  • Billy
  • 20-11-2019

wow

loved it , totally absorbing , be an idea to keep the bosses away from the technology.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Del
  • Del
  • 04-11-2019

excellent story with great background information.

great ture story, with helpful background information giving you a better understanding of what they do and where.