Best-selling author Doug Stanton of Traverse City was in Hollywoods spotlight last week.
Variety Magazine, a trade magazine of the entertainment industry, announced in a front-page story that Disney and uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer acquired the screen rights for his soon-to-be-published book, Horse Soldiers.
There was more good news.
An exclusive excerpt of his book will run in the upcoming May issue of Mens Journal, which boasts a 3.5 million national circulation. Stanton is a contributing editor for the magazine.
Bruckheimer, who will produce the movie, is famous for high-action films such as Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Horse Soldiers gives him a lot of material to work with. The nearly 400-page book chronicles the journey of a handful of Special Forces, from the time they first hear about 9/11 on their living room TV sets to riding horses along skinny mountain trails in Afghanistan, The Americans gaze down black precipices as they ride side-by-side with three warlords and their troops (the Northern Alliance) to defeat the Taliban.
The fierce battles combine American smart bomb technology with the Afghan soldiers ability to fight and survive under brutal conditions. The Afghans slept through the freezing nights without blankets and wore what looked like shower shoes into battle. The book climaxes with the Talibans siege of a massive fort, the death of CIA operative Mike Spann, and the surrender of John Walker Lindh, a Californian who thought the Taliban were the good guys.
Stanton, who worked on the book for six years, visited Afghanistan and interviewed more than 100 soldiers and Afghans. He relied on primary documents, including the map that warlord Rashid Dostum brought to the battle lines.
Stanton said the Special Forces arent the kind of soldiers who like the light of publicity, but that will all change when a few of them are asked to join him on a national publicity tour in May. Stanton plans to do a reading at Horizon Books in Traverse City next month, but a date hasnt been set.
The books release wasnt planned to coincide with the new developments in Afghanistan, but its fortuitous because there are lessons in the book that could lead to a more stable Afghanistan, Stanton said. The way the war was fought in Afghanistan in 2001 is a template for the ongoing conflict there, and for future wars, he said.
To see where we need to go today in Afghanistan in 2009, we need only to look back to the dramatic battle of the horse soldiers where they acted part sociologist, part anthropologist, part diplomat. They were eagerly welcomed as liberators by the local Afghans, who were overjoyed to be freed from Taliban oppression. How they did this is at the heart of Horse Soldiers.
Stantons first book was In Harms Way, a New York Times bestseller for several months. He was also a contributing editor for Esquire, Sports Afield and Outside Magazine. Warner Brothers acquired the screen rights for In Harms Way in 2001, and at one point was developing a big-screen adaptation. Stanton believes that now is the right time to rekindle interest in making In Harms Way as a movie.
Id like to see that happen soon, said Stanton, who last week flew to Florida to visit Gil McCoy, a former World War II marine who was featured prominently in the book. McCoy has cancer and is in hospice.
(Doug Stanton is married to Anne
Stanton, an investigative reporter for Northern Express.)
The approval of $58 million in funding for land acquisition by the Michigan Senate will mean a $4 million boost for two parks in Grand Traverse County.
State Senator Jason Allen, R-Traverse City, notes that under Senate Bill 322, the Natural Resources Trust Fund will provide $1 million to acquire 28 acres of land next to Traverse City State Park to improve recreation at the park, along with fishing access to Mitchell Creek.
Also benefiting will be the Acme Waterfront Park project, which will receive $3.06 million to complete its first phase of development. Acme Township plans to acquire 11.5 acres and 2,000 feet of lake frontage as an addition to Bayside Park along East Bay.
BETTER DRUG DISPOSAL
Unwanted prescription drugs are contaminating the nation‘s water supply and falling into the hands of teenagers, say Congressmen Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Lamar Smith (R-TX). The two have introduced legislation to dispose of unused or unwanted pharmaceuticals.
As drugs that are no longer needed sit around in household medicine cabinets, millions of Americans particularly teenagers are turning to these unused pharmaceuticals at an alarming rate as an alternative to illegal drugs, Stupak said. By implementing a safe, controlled and environmentally-friendly means for disposing of unwanted drugs, we can make it harder for teens to abuse prescription drugs, while at the same time cleaning up our lakes, rivers and streams.
In March, 2008, the Associated Press reported that the drinking water of at least 41 million Americans are contaminated with drugs.