Stanton's 'Horse Soldiers' charges to big screen in '12 Strong'

Jan 11, 2018

Next week, the movie based on Doug Stanton’s book ‘Horse Soldiers’ will hit theaters nationwide. It’s about a small group of Special Forces who rode horses to fight the Taliban.

“It’s a Western with lasers,” says Doug.

It’s an exciting time to be number one New York Times best-selling author Doug Stanton. Earlier this year, the Traverse City native released his third book, “Odyssey of Echo Company.”

Next Friday, January 19, a new film based on “Horse Soldiers” called “12 Strong” opens in theaters nationwide.

The movie stars Chris Hemsworth and is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. 

It’s about a small group of U.S. Army Special Forces that get sent to Afghanistan right after 9/11, to fight the Taliban. They team up with a Afghan warlord and fight on horseback.

Doug Stanton holds a poster for '12 Strong,' the new film based off his book 'Horse Soldiers.'
Credit Dan Wanschura

“The reason the horses are important is that they were able to swarm and overwhelm the mechanical machinery of the Taliban weaponry,” Doug explains. 

He says while riding horses during battle might seem like an ancient paradigm, the Special Forces used it to their advantage to create their desired outcome.

“If you’re able to adapt and change your state of being more quickly than the other person, or the problem itself, you will actually overcome that problem,” he says. “That’s a very intellectual kind of idea, but it’s embedded deeply into their training and also into the movie.”

Diplomatic relationships also played a big role in the story of “12 Strong.” The Special Forces aligned themselves with Afghani rebels to help them make change within their country. Doug says that’s America at its best.

“It’s much like a World War II story in that if you think about these guys … being dropped behind enemy lines and creating resistance and an underground movement to overthrow the establishing structure, which is the Taliban,” he says. “Just as we did in Nazi Germany in World War II.”

Doug Stanton will be at Horizon Books next Thursday, January 18, talking about his book, “Horse Soldiers.” Also, “12 Strong” premieres in theaters all over the country next Friday, January 19.