At dawn on March 2, 2002, America's first major battle of the twenty-first century began. Over two hundred soldiers of the 101st Airborne and Tenth Mountain Division flew into Afghanistan's Shah-i-Kot valley-and into the mouth of a buzz saw. They were about to pay a bloody price for strategic, high-level miscalculations that underestimated the enemy's strength and willingness to fight. Now, award-winning journalist Sean Naylor, an eyewitness to the battle, details the failures of military intelligence and planning and vividly portrays the astonishing heroism of these young, untested US soldiers. Denied the extra support with which they trained, these troops nevertheless proved their worth in brutal combat and prevented an American military disaster.