HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Sean Parnell

U.S. Army Airborne Ranger


  • Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan
  • Translating Leadership Lessons Learned in the Heat of Battle to Everyday Strategies for All Leaders
  • The Prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Our Veterans, and What We Can Do About It
  • Coming Home: The Difficulties in Transitioning from War Zones to a Place of Peace


More Media
  • Video: MAN OF WAR: Sean Parnell.

  • Video: Sean Parnell

  • Video: TAVIS SMILEY | Sean Parnell | PBS

Sean Parnell, a U.S. Army Airborne Ranger and New York Times best-selling author of Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan (William Morrow), served in the legendary 10th Mountain Division for six years, retiring as a highly decorated captain. Parnell has received two Bronze Stars (one for valor), and the Purple Heart. He is a renowned Afghanistan Policy Expert and has been featured on FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, SiriusXM, and numerous other media outlets. While deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism, Parnell led one of the most valorously decorated light infantry units in Operation Enduring Freedom history. For 485 days he and his men, nicknamed the Outlaw Platoon, experienced some of the most brutal fighting in the Afghan War. The perfect keynote speaker for schools and colleges, community events, veterans' organizations, and corporations, Parnell tells the story of 16 months of combat, and the love, brotherhood, and faith that saved him from a most terrible fate.

When Parnell's platoon of 40 soldiers was given the task of rooting Taliban insurgents out of a mountain valley along the Afghan-Pakistan border, they thought they would be facing a ragtag bunch of armed civilians. But that was a conviction that almost got them killed. On May 7, 2006, what started out as a routine patrol through the lower mountains of the Hindu Kush turned into a lethal ambush. After barely surviving the enemy's attack, Parnell's men realized that they were facing the most professional and seasoned force of light infantry the U.S. Army had encountered since the end of World War II. The Taliban were well-trained, creative, and cunning, and they did not lack in courage. They showed unusual tactical skill; they had studied U.S. military communication patterns and knew the U.S. military's equipment and its capability -- as well as its severe limitations.

What followed was 16 months of continuous combat in which Parnell's platoon killed over 350 enemy combatants without causing a single civilian casualty. But the cost of battle was high for his men: over 80 percent were wounded in action, placing their casualty rate among the highest since Gettysburg. Parnell's men earned 32 Purple Hearts, and were deployed longer and saw more combat than any other platoon since the War on Terror began in October 2001.

Parnell's experience as a leader in such a high-stress situation as combat has resulted in a unique perspective on teamwork, brotherhood, the importance of selflessness in not just war but in everyday life, and just how much we all take for granted, something which he explores and explains in his sought-after presentations.

He lives with his wife and two children in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Praise for Outlaw Platoon:

"The range of emotions that Sean Parnell summons in Outlaw Platoon [is] stunning. A nuanced, compelling memoir ... Parnell shows he's a gifted, brave storyteller."
-- Pittsburgh Tribune

"Outlaw Platoon put me back on the battlefield again. It's a heartfelt story that shows how very different people can be thrown together in combat and find a way to make it work. Parnell and the soldiers who fought beside him are all courageous heroes -- real bad asses."
-- Chris Kyle, #1 New York Times best-selling author of American Sniper

"Outlaw Platoon is a detailed and utterly gripping account of what our soldiers endure on the front lines of America's war in Afghanistan -- the frustrations, the fear, the loneliness, the nastiness, the occasional rage, the difficulties of finding and identifying an elusive enemy. Here, in these pages, are the on-the-ground realities of a war we so rarely witness on news broadcasts."
-- Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried

"This is a story of genuine emotion and drama. It's been a long time since we've seen a narrative that so accurately describes the bravery, loyalty, and character of America's warrior sons. Sean Parnell and John Bruning's Outlaw Platoon is a soulful story of men at war, but more importantly, it shows us that the love and brotherhood forged in the fires of combat are the most formidable qualities a unit can possess. And that the maturation of a natural leader -- Sean's own story -- is one that we will never grow tired of reading. I can see many fascinated readers for this book -- men and women, in the military and without, on the front lines and here at home."
-- Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of Gates of Fire and The Warrior Ethos

"Two of the grittiest, most intense tales of courage and camaraderie under fire I own are Black Hawk Down and Lone Survivor. I now have a third, Outlaw Platoon. It's Black Hawk Down for the 21st Century. And an absolutely gripping, edge-of-your-seat ride detailing the men of Outlaw Platoon and the day the fates foolishly attempted to stack the deck against them. This book has Hollywood blockbuster written all over it. There is much more to Outlaw Platoon than just its guns-blazing action. It is an epic tale of leadership, heroism, and the bond among warriors who ply their deadly trade with deceivingly simple mandate -- to kill the enemy and return home together alive. An absolute must read!"
-- Brad Thor, best-selling author of Full Black

Praise for Man of War:

“Fast, hard, and effortlessly authentic—both lead character Eric Steele and author Sean Parnell are the real deal.”
--Lee Child, author of The Midnight Line

Man of War is an exciting, action-packed debut! Bristling with intrigue, deceit, power and treason—once you pick this book up, you will NOT be able to put it down. Sean Parnell has knocked it out of the park!”
--Brad Thor #1 New York Times bestselling author of Spymaster

“Setting, dialogue, and details create the ideal backdrop for the tension and intensity...  It’s a marvelous debut from a talented writer to keep a watch on.”
--Steve Berry, author of The Last Order

“Few writers can turn out a compelling epic of battle and international intrigue that’s also ‘a must read’. Sean Parnell tells it like it is. This is a completely gripping story.”
--Clive Cussler, New York Times bestselling author of Odessa Sea

Man of War is a breakneck-speed thriller with enough action and combat to satisfy any reader.  Eric Steele is a one-man army, and Sean Parnell uses his background in tactics and weapons to bust into the ranks of the best thriller writers out there.”
--C.J. Box,  #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Disappeared

“A definite winner... In developing his plot and main character, Parnell writes like a veteran… The main story line here, involving friends turned mortal enemies, is a grabber and will certainly please fans of Brad Thor, Brad Taylor, and Vince Flynn.”
--Booklist (starred review)

“Falling somewhere between Brad Thor’s Scot Harvath and Brad Taylor’s Pike Logan, Eric Steele is a formidable new protagonist whom readers will love... If you like conspiracies and bold, larger-than-life characters, Man of War hits fast, hard, and never lets up for a second.”

Man of War is nonstop action from the first page, a jolt of pure adrenaline. Parnell deploys the full arsenal in this high-stakes thriller.”
--Joseph Finder, author of The Switch

“Parnell brings his combat experience as a U.S. Army infantry officer in Afghanistan to his impressive first novel and series launch (after memoir Outlaw Platoon)… Thriller fans will be eager to see more of Steele.”
--Publishers Weekly

Man of War is an international thriller that delivers.  Well written, tightly plotted, fast paced, and full of mind-twisting conspiracies and surprises.  Parnell’s combat experience shines through the pages.”
--Nelson DeMille, author of The Cuban Affair

“Another amazing work of art from Sean Parnell. Every page I turned of this masterful thriller gripped me with intrigue and emotion. Sean now lives among the greats such as Brad Thor and Vince Flynn.”
--Brent Gleeson, author of Talking Point: A Navy SEAL’s 10 Fail Safe Principles