The gripping memoir of Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart recipient SEAL Lieutenant Mark L. Donald...
As A SEAL and combat medic, Mark served his country with valorous distinction for almost 25 years and survived some of the most dangerous combat actions imaginable.
From the rigors of BUD/S training to the horrors of the battlefield, Battle Ready dramatically immerses the listener in the unique life of the elite warrior-medic who advances into combat with life-saving equipment in one hand and life-taking weapons in the other. It is also an uplifting human story that reveals how a young Hispanic American bootstrapped himself out of a life that promised a dead-end future by enlisting in the military. That new life begins with the Marines and includes his heroic achievements on the battlefield and the operating table, and finally, of his inspirational triumph over the demons caused by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that threatened to destroy him and his family.
Includes an excerpt from the SEAL creed read by the author and a bonus conversation with Mark L. Donald and his editor.
©2013 Mark L. Donald (P)2013 Macmillan Audio
I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.
Yes, I would listen to Battle Ready again. This memoir held particular interest for me because it dealt with a wartime medic. The book detailed how Mark Donald accomplished this specialty, in order to serve his comrades on the battlefield. Mark had begun his career by enlisting in the Marine Corp. He successfully completed basic training and was on his way to becoming a Marine. Mark found himself thinking, not about becoming a Marine but wanting to become a SEAL. Mark was steadfast and did not abandon his quest. He eventually transferred to begin his training toward becoming a medic in the SEALS. This book includes what it takes to become a SEAL. The men who begin training can start with a group of 220 men and women. But by the time their training is complete there may be 20 left who will graduate as a SEAL. There have been times where there were no graduates. Yes, that number was zero graduates. Surviving the excruciating ordeal of becoming a SEAL and having the honor of earning the most coveted Trident, that affirms their being a member of the SEALS, are few. When members of the military see the Trident affixed to the uniform, they step aside and many will even salute that person even though that SEAL is of lower rank.
The memoir is well written and the narration is excellent. I would enjoy listening again because Mark Donald's journey from a young boy of 18 to becoming a distinguished member of the elite community, known as the SEALS, the best of the best, was a great listen and needs another listen. I would like to encourage my friend's to read or listen to Mark Donald's memoir, explaining to them that the book was indeed worth a second listen for me and is definitely worth the first time.
My favorite character was Mark Donald. Mark struggled while growing up in a community where there were gangs, fights, guns and other disturbing attributes, that led many to being killed or living behind bars. Mark had worked very hard to avoid becoming a part of that world and realized that moving away from home and family would be the only chance that could help him to succeed. With the help of a Marine recruiter, who understood, after talking with Mark, that he was an excellent candidate for the Marine Corp. Listening to his memoir was an inspiration. I listened as Mark made a success of his life but not without determination, commitment and a lot of hard work. Listening to his journey was riveting. His courage on the battlefield was described so clearly that I felt as if I was a part of that world. His fears, accomplishments, defeats and tears made Mark evolve into the man that he is today.
Fred Berman's performance made the words come alive. The character's were well done, allowing me to distinguish one from the other. The emotions Berman was able to project were done with forethought. He made the book a very enjoyable listen.
There was a moment in the book that particularly moved me. SEAL Team Six were in the mountains of Afghanistan, I believe, in the Kandahar Kush, doing reconnaissance, when their men were ambushed. Mark had to pull one of his friend's off of the battlefield dead and another friend, Mark held in his arms and held his hand, and had to watch him die.
Mark became a medic for SEAL Team Six, which involves more education than other military services. However, he went on to become a Physician's Assistant, which required more education and responsibilities. Mark was the man who fixed the wounds of other soldiers, helped to save the lives of other men with life saving interventions and, yes, to be there for those who died. He was also trained to hoist his gun, aim it and shoot to kill the enemy, which he had to do. While serving in the SEALS, Mark began to have nightmares, relating to his actions in the war. He would wake up drenched in sweat, sit up and try hard to bring himself back to his surroundings. Mark began to have hallucinations, reliving the war. He would go into his own world, not hearing anything or anyone. Mark would stand by a window and stare down at the parking lot. But instead of a parking lot, Mark would see the battlefield and the altercation taking place, as if in real time. He understood that he was having problems but Mark was certain that in order to be a SEAL he had to remember that SEALS do not voice that there are issues that he needs help with. No, SEALS were taught that there was nothing that a SEAL couldn't do. Therefore, Mark continued to struggle, that was until his superior's, friend's and family began to notice the changes taking place. A superior officer took him aside and discussed his awareness that Mark was having serious problems with functioning normally. After this meeting, Mark did as superior officer had suggested and sought help. He had PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a disorder that many men and women of the military suffer from. Mark required a therapist to help him to learn how to deal with PTSD.
Mark served for 25 years as a SEAL. When he was honorably discharged from the SEALS, Mark wanted to help others who also suffered from the same disorder as he did. Mark reiterates that PTSD is not an illness but a disorder. Mark pulled together a nonprofit organization, with the help of friends and others, to assist other men and women who also had PTSD. His objective was to help those with PTSD to return to society and be able to function as normally as possible. There were those he would integrate into his organization to help them with their need for further help. There is no cure for PTSD, it is a disorder that men and women will have to learn how to survive with and not allow the disorder to overwhelm them. Hopefully, with help, they will once again begin to function in a way that may be different than before but not disable them so severely that the world that surrounds them, they cannot be a part of it because of PTSD. Mark is a caring, loving and supporting man who knows what it like to have PTSD. He struggles everyday, just like those he is helping. I don't profess to be an expert on PTSD. I only know that there is a man, Mark Donald, who wants to assist others.
If you are looking for a book with a lot of detailed battle scenes and excitement, this is not the book you want. This is a story about one man and his military career. There are a few "war stories" but in general, this is a life story. It's a good book, well performed, but not action packed.
Battle Ready ranks in the top 5, but as far as the author and his personal writings, it ranks #1.
It was a great story about the SEALs with a side that allows you to see Mark as a very personable and humble man. Mark lets you in his head so much that I started feeling the emotions he wrote of, if he was nervous, I felt nervous etc.. Well written.
No, but I thought he did an outstanding job. Never missed a beat in my opinion.
Yes, a personal moment Mark had while sitting at his computer and he was told his team had another mission.
I'm a flight nurse and Navy Vet, so I could understand the lingo very easy, being in the field I am, Marks writings made me open up and take a look at some or my own personal issues with my job. He made me feel like I wanted to work with him ( on the medical side, I am no SEAL). To sum it up, it was a real treat to hear such personal details in the life of this man. I felt homered to be allowed to read it.
The author's internal struggle with the dichotomy of healer/killer.
The brutal honesty.
The second guessing of his actions after the battle where his team mates were killed.
I have just finished this book. I listen to a lot of audiobooks driving every day and this one had me pulling over and re-listening to several chapters. It has the best discussion of the internal struggles of a shooter-medic I have ever heard or read. The discussion of his fight with PTSD beginning with his father and how it effects families is superb. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I feel any street EMS provider in particular would profit from reading or listening.
I would absolutely recommend this to anyone seeking a story of personal dedication and a higher calling. If you are looking for a book full of Navy SEAL operations, this may not be the book for you. Instead, it chronicles the the journey of the author's career from the Marine recruit though to becoming a Navy Seal and ultimately a physician's assistant in the post-9/11 special operations community. There is a fair amount of deployment action toward the book's end. This is a powerful and inspiring book!
One of top 5 books I have read. Lone Survivor and Fearless beat this book out but not by much.
He breaks down PTSD down for people who have no idea how combat effects individuals, who have seen combat. He breaks down how what happens to your buddies effects you, much more than what you do to the enemy.
I cannot say enough good things about this book. The author pulls no punches when it comes to telling his story. Most of the things are good, but he goes into great detail about his battle with PTSD and his ongoing struggle to deal with it. I loved hearing about the track of his career, from Recon Marine, to Corpsman, SEAL, and Physician's Assistant. He mixes humor with dead-serious very well, keeping the book from being either too dark or too light-hearted. (I laughed out loud when he tells of checking into Corpsman A-school and being accused of wearing devices he hadn't earned. He'd gotten jump wings and Navy Diver certification as a Marine, but the officer who saw him did not know that.)
There were a few small issues. First, it is very hard to determine how time passes. He tells his story in chronological order, but the only time frame he gives is the First Gulf War and 9/11. At times, I thought he was talking about events close in time, only to later learn there were years between them.
Second, the reader, though mostly very good, occasionally paused at odd times. It was not a huge issue.
As far as military biographies and memoirs go, Battle Ready was superb. Definitely one of the best I have read/listened to.
While very different overall, for me this book compares best to "The Heart and the Fist." Both authors are extraordinary men sharing a realistic perception of war and they both convey it and their experiences with it in an honest and humble way.
Often, I dislike non-fiction when read by someone other than the author (and even then, it can be quite terrible). This book was so well narrated by Fred Berman that I was able to lose myself in the character, much like in a novel. He did not "relay a factual account" so much as he told a story. While the writing style of the author lends itself to a good story, it would have taken an excellent narrator to bring it to life. Mr. Berman did just that.
I was brought to tears more times with this book than I have been from nearly any other book, and I rarely find cause to cry. I also laughed often at some of the situations reported, situations anyone familiar with the military will find comical.
Worth it for anyone looking for an accurate portrayal of the spec ops community and what these men and their families endure for their service, both at home and abroad.
"hard to stand"
I don't know if it was the writing style or the narrators perception of the tone of voice but this wasn't a good listen/read.
First of all, It felt abridged and I had to check, because the author left out a few deployment and other parts and went straight in to the 2nd or 3rd deployment, which was frustration. You want to know why he thinks the way he does from previous encounters.
Second was the author bringing up being a medic and a SEAL constantly. I feel like he should of known the two conflicts and dealt with it, instead everything other line ( it felt like was the self conflict of his roles) was about just this and for that reason it wasn't engaging
having said all this I'm Greatful he put it on paper.
"from one warrior to another thankyou"
Love it got me thinking about live after serving myself it questioned me and my actions
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