First of all, if you are thinking about buying this book in hopes of learning the secrets of US Special Operations, the USN SEALs, or DEVGRU (SEAL Team 6)... stop right now and go look somewhere else. Regardless of the media's or government's assertions, there is NO classified information disclosed in 'No Easy Day'. Everything mentioned and/or described in the book is information that is in the public domain. All names (other than major public figures, ex: ADM McCraven) have been fictionalized. Descriptions of any unit designations, equipment, weapons, tactics, etc... are all publicly accessible. In my opinion, the uproar has only been caused by the administration's embarrassment over their own (multiple) accounts of this operation being shown to be false. That being said, Mark Owen at no time was disrespectful to the administration. There is NO partisan or political statement being made in the book, other than some minor griping about the speed in which decisions are made throughout the chain of command. This book does not deliver an indictment of the military's civilian leadership or command structure at all. In that area, it is remarkably neutral.
There has been SO much curiosity about Operation Neptune Spear and so many 'who and how' questions, that unless the book was completely horrible - it would be recommended by anyone who read it. However, 'No Easy Day' is well written and tells the story of the mission and the operators who carried it out, very well. Owen does a good job in describing his childhood in Alaska, his progression in the Navy from enlistment through BUD-S and 'Green Team', his teammates and their various and varied personalities, the preparations and execution of the mission itself, and its immediate aftermath.
There is a philosophy among the men of the special operations community that they are "silent warriors". Both from necessity and tradition. And, it is an honorable philosophy. No former operator would want to disclose ANYTHING that might endanger those that continue to work in the shadows. There are many among them who, no doubt, will carry on with the tradition of considering a teammate who speaks out as persona non grata... although there are many who have written books on various topics from their time in 'The Teams' without such harsh judgment. If there were something in this book that I could not have learned from a trip through searches of google, dvids, or the blogosphere, I might agree with them in condemning the author. However, in this book I've seen nothing actually new other than the step-by-step timeline of how the operation in Abbottabad happened.
While it's not the most well-written book I've ever read, it IS quite good. Even though the subject matter is interesting to the point of it being ridiculous, this is a true page turner. The narrator can at times be a bit monotone and distracting, however that didn't make me consider stopping at any time. Overall, Holter Graham did an 'average to good' job with a book that will, no doubt, set records. To put it another way... You will NOT regret buying the book OR the audiobook. I've read and listened to them both multiple times and highly recommend them.
Without the usual tactic of resorting to personal attacks, it would be nearly impossible to find fault with ANY of the points Gutfeld makes in this book. Gutfeld chose to illustrate each point with examples that actually happened, rather than conjecture or opinion. When taken point-by-point, every topic is fully explored and explained... and most importantly, proven. The humor or Greg Gutfeld may well be an acquired taste, but it makes what might be described as a "partisan" perspective much more palatable.
Greg Gutfeld is a polarizing figure in today's media. If you were to only look at his resume', you might he was a typical American liberal. UC-Berkeley, Huffington Post, etc. Perhaps this is what gives his political perspective credibility. His history allows him to describe the 'political left' from the view of someone who spent a long time on the inside. He is able to paint a vivid picture of what the modern liberal community is like... because he's been there. This book is filled with criticism of how our world operates and labels people. And it shows with clear and vivid examples, how unfair and intolerant the modern world has become. Tolerance enforced with an unshakable intolerance. A true 'Joy of Hate'.
I challenge anyone who describes themselves as a liberal to give this book an honest objective read. If you will allow yourself to consider the points Gutfeld makes here, I think you might possibly re-think how you describe yourself. It's one thing to take a position out of necessity or popular pressure. It's another altogether to take a position out of honest thought. For this single purpose, I cannot recommend this book higher. We are in a critical time in America, and I don't think there could be a better documentation of why we are as polarized as we are. For all of our sakes, please give it a chance.
Brandon Webb had a interesting background, but one that seemed to almost have him be exactly what it takes to succeed in not only BUD-S, but NSW as a whole. Ultimately driving him to completely redesign SEAL Sniper training into arguably the best sniper training program that the world has ever known. His story is not only moving, but interesting and very inspiring. The book leads chronologically through his childhood and early USN career, into his being a student in the very program he would revamp.
I know a bit about the reputation Brandon Webb left behind after leaving NSW and the Navy... and it is exemplary. Several former students credit Webb for saving their lives with what (and how) he taught as a sniper intstructor. Most notably perhaps is Marcus Luttrell (former SEAL, and author of 'Lone Survivor'). Can there BE a better indication of just how important Brandon Webb is/was to the program?
For anyone wanting to gain a sense of what it takes to succeed in the world of SOF, as well as the career & legacy of this man... I cannot recommend 'Red Circle' more highly. It is an excellent listen and 'paints the picture' extremely well.
For those interested, Webb is also a founder of and writer for SOFREP, a great resource for information regarding the world of Special Operations.
ALSO... Webb and the publisher have included a .pdf file containing many photos that were before only available by buying the actual 'book'. A real plus for it to accompany the audiobook! Make sure and download the .pdf file.
I absolutely loved learning the details of Adam Brown's life that I had never heard in news reports. I had NO idea of the troubles and difficulties he experienced early in his life. In my eyes, it puts his service into a different perspective and makes his dedication even more deserving of respect. There were many things making up his character, but perhaps the largest part of him was his unshakable faith. Without that faith, this would be a completely different story.
The descriptions of different moments during his Navy career are all obvious choices. But, what I will remember most is how his teammates were drawn to Hot Springs after his death, to experience this place that he loved so much. From the rope swing under the Hwy 70 bridge, to his home, to his grave.
Most people, even most operators, might have found themselves thinking they were 'done' after losing an eye in a training accident. Not, Adam Brown. The fact that he almost took it in stride ("well, I got dinged") and just kept moving forward. When he was seen as a liability, he changed everything about how operated until he was again an asset to his team. That, to me, took an amazing amount of determination and dedication. I don't feel as if he ever even considered that he might not be able to fight on. There's a huge lesson in that for all of us.
I am from Little Rock, Arkansas. Just a short 45 minute drive from Adam Brown's beloved Hot Springs. Even though I had heard of his death in Afghanistan and remember the days afterwards when the entire state seemed to shut down in order to pay respect to our fallen warrior, I had NO idea of the man that Adam Brown really was. I doubt there is anyone that couldn't take lessons from his story. By the way, his "put a bubble over Arkansas and we'd be just fine" theory is 100% accurate. This is a special place - and even more so for producing a man like Adam Brown.
Yes. To a point, when reading the print version you aren't aware of the level of emotion that Luttrell has for his fallen teammates. Listening to the audiobook gave me a better understanding of the 'full story'.
The bravery and sacrifice of LT Michael Murphy's final actions. His leadership and heroism was so well and dramatically described, it's impossible for it to not be the most memorable.
I've listened to Marcus Luttrell speak and seen him in videos. While there are differences in their voices, Collins captures the character of Marcus Luttrell extremely well.
In the beginning of the book, when Luttrell describes his visits with the families of his fallen teammates and the difficulties he had relating details to them - it's impossible not to be broken up. There were several parts of the book that bring the same reactions.Also, Luttrell's descriptions of BUD-S (especially "Hell Week") are at times, hilarious.
Marcus Luttrell can be described many ways. A Texan, a SEAL, a patriot, etc. But, the most appropriate way I can describe him, is genuine. Accounts like the one in 'Lone Survivor' are sometimes described as overly dramatic, self serving, or exaggerated. Largely I feel this is because of a lack of understanding of who these men really are, and of what they do. Most people never know someone from the Special Operations community. Often if they do, they aren't aware of it. I have been fortunate enough to know a few of these men, and simply put, they are the most unassuming and honorable people among us. They are truly the best of us. The selection processes and the brutal training does a lot to weed out the types of men that are just seeking a spotlight. Those types just do not survive the winnowing out process. Those that DO, are quickly exposed and sent to the fleet before they ever make it to "The Teams". I am grateful to Marcus that he gave us all a glimpse of the lives and heroism of the men of Operation Redwing. I'll never forget it.
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