Truly unforgettable piece of investigative journalism at its best; the emotions in the reviews attest to the haunting staying power of the horrific events being recounted. Meticulously researched and presented in a way that has you feel the impending storm approaching with each page, compounded by the prescience of tragedy. Fink gives a brief explanation of the geography and history of the land and the levees, and some insight as to the worse case scenario prior to the storm. The land so dependent on the infrastructure of the system -- the citizens also dependent on the systems. What follows is a domino effect-like breakdown of those systems that had provided such a false sense of security, from the personal morals and responsibilities, to the corporate policies, to the government. Fink shows a top-rate journalist's ability to accurately report the events unattached to opinion, having each person responsible for their actions without labeling them good guy/bad guy; and there are times, in certain situations that you flip back and forth with your own judgements, but always keep the weight of decision in your own mind.
The account does get long as it goes over the legal process and how it was perceived by the media, but the details helped -- like a necessary stretch after a long hard workout, stress relief; and it is an interesting look at the machinations of the legal system and corporate power. Still, a fact to consider for some readers. Kristen Potter gives a flawless and pragmatic performance, always concise and neutral, piling onto the reader the responsibility of their own conclusion. I remembered a disaster preparedness drill we went through at our hospital to pass the JCAHO guidelines... The drill-coordinator gave us the ol' *who would you throw out of the boat if the boat was going to sink* dilemma. The supervisors in the boats started rationalizing whom and why, as the drill-coordinator listened straight faced. When everyone had decided on whom to toss overboard to lighten their boat, the coordinator said, "but, you have to get everyone safely to shore." We, the Hospital Administrative Directors, had not counted on that possibility.
I found the book fascinating and heartbreaking. One of the few times I have felt truly like I was walking in the shoes of another, from an obese paralyzed black man, to an old beloved mother, to a frantic nurse with children at home, to a doctor juggling whom to put on the rescue helicopter, to a daughter hundreds of miles away. I certainly have made some moral adjustments. Excellent, informative, very haunting.
No chest-pounding or self aggrandizement -- a just-the-facts vivid accounting of the raid on terrorist Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by a member of Seal Team Six, who along with the 160th Special Ops Airborne successfully carried out Operation Neptune Spear in May 2011. Owen begins with his order to report for a covert mission, he doesn't attempt to explain the political process leading up to the raid, nor does he expound on the military state of affairs; no sensationalized secrets or insider's look at military procedures. Owen does express his feelings towards Pres. Obama related to this incident and the release of information surrounding the event, but this is not a political book (although there will undoubtedly will be blowback).
No Easy Day is looking at the physical raid through Mark Owen's eyes; how do you rate or compare to anything when it's an account of an exceptional personal experience -- how do you get better than a participant's view? It is absolutely riveting hearing the minutes before the mission-start counted down, hearing about the helicopter crashing to the ground, walking blindly down the corridors of the compound; and it is spine-tingling imaging standing in the courtyard waiting for the pick-up, hoping to beat a missle launch any second to your back. It is a first rate accounting (and daring - observing the heated controversy about this release) of an unimagineably tense mission. Like another reviewer, I also have close ties to some Spec-Ops members and their families, and know first hand that their self sacrifice and bravery is without par; this book sheds some light on this rare breed...the apogee of bravery and patriotism. I don't believe interest in this book is a case of public rubber-necking, but rather it shows the public's interest in understanding, and the quest for truth.
Of the books I've read about this war and Seal Team Six, Marcus Luttrell's Lone Survivor remains my top pick for a book that tells a personal story of bravery and patriotism with both integrity and class. But Owen's story is an exceptional account of an historic event unlike anything else, and, I have to hand it to him for brushing off personal glory, choosing instead to praise his Team mates. A captivating account of a harrowing military operation; Holter Graham is good with the narration and keeps it feeling real and not overly editted.