If the Marines are "the few, the proud", Recon Marines are the fewest and the proudest. Only one Marine in a hundred qualifies for Recon, charged with working clandestinely, often behind enemy lines. Fick's training begins with a hellish summer at Quantico, after his junior year at Dartmouth, and advances to the pinnacle, Recon, four years later, on the eve of war with Iraq. Along the way, he learns to shoot a man a mile away, stays awake for 72 hours straight, endures interrogation and torture at the secretive SERE course, learns to swim with Navy SEALs, masters the Eleven Principles of Leadership, and much more.
His vast skill set puts him in front of the front lines, leading 22 Marines into the deadliest conflict since Vietnam. He vows he will bring all his men home safely, and to do so he'll need more than his top-flight education. He'll need luck and an increasingly clear vision of the limitations of his superiors and the missions they assign him.
Fick unveils the process that makes Marine officers such legendary leaders and shares his hard-won insights into the differences between the military ideals he learned and military practice, which can mock those ideals. One Bullet Away never shrinks from blunt truths, but it is an ultimately inspiring account of mastering the art of war.
©2005 Nathaniel Fick; (P)2005 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division.
"Candid and fast-paced....Like the best combat memoirs, Fick's focuses on the men doing the fighting and avoids...sensationalism." (Publishers Weekly)
I really enjoyed this book. I recommend it to anyone interested in what our troops are currently experiencing. It helped me to understand what U.S. troops go through and how much they sacrifice. Great book for any military guru.
My particular interest was in the making of a recon marine, as my dad was one in the Korean War. The rest was secondary for me. Thankyou, Nathaniel Fick. It was an insightful and interesting and amazing account of tough warriors who handle small children like butterflies, in the midst of war.
His account of the psychology of the Iraqi people was wonderful to read, and puts tv reports in so much better perspective.
This is a page-turner, and a gift to the informed American reader.
If you're looking for support of your view on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, this is not the book to find it. Rather it is a compelling listen from a dedicated Marine who begins his career with idealistic patriotism, and sees it morphed into a love of his comrades. You'll witness the journey from gung-ho officer candidate to combat leader to sober veteran. I finished this book with a greater appreciation for the dedication and sacrifice we ask of our military men and women, not only in terms of the risk to their lives, but the cost to them after their part in the wars are over. This book toned my political rhetoric down a few notches and it just might yours.
The author creates a no-nonsense, straightforward image of who he is and what he experienced. I was particularly impressed with the complexity of his thought and the skill of his writing.
This audiobook had me hooked from the start. The story is down to earth, not pro political propaganda or full of brovado, just an individual's experiences, both good and bad. The author shares his fears, thoughts and views and shares a very personal insight as to what it's like to got to war and then to come back home and readjust. I felt like I had come to know the author and was saddend when the audiobook came to an end. This is one book where I wish it was unabridged. Of particular interest was the descriptions of the pro's and cons of the military organisation, things they do well, things they don't do well - working for a large company I could relate exactly to these descriptions.
The narration was excellent, low key but never boring or monotone, but added to the personalisation of the story (the author, Nathaniel was also the narrator).
Congratulations Nathaniel on an excellent book - this is one of the most balanced down to earth accounts of life in the US Military that I have read/listend to.
This is a must listen. One of the best audio books that I have listed to.
Nathaniel should consider a followup story of his life after the military and how his experiences in war have influenced his path in life....
Fick is a gifted observer and story-teller. Wish unabridged version were available. Couldn't quit listening, even though it wasn't always what I wanted to hear.
I listened to the audiobook and then happened to correspond w/ the author. He recommended I read the book itself b/c the abridgment wasn't good in his estimation. After reading it I agree w/ him. It's a great and prescient account of a young Marine officer's training and the earliest days of the Iraq War by a thoughtful, dedicated leader of troops, and I recommend the story itself highly. But whoever abridged it did Capt Fick and his men a disservice. Better to listen to the audiobook than not experience the book at all, but the audio book does not do it justice.
I rated this book higher than average for me since it is provides a firsthand observation of a non-military person joining the military. In addition, it was pre-9/11 and post 9/11 experience of person as well as Marine Officer Candidate School experience. Finally, the author was part of the decisive combat phases of both OEF and OIF.
As always, take the story with a grain of salt. One, it is one person's perspective. This is not to say the story is not true but all writings are bias in presentation; the best writings are less bias most. The author details some very odd decisions by the chain of command. Even he admits he cannot know all the context of all decisions but some seem out of place with doctrine. As always, in war with the stresses of a lack of sleep, water, food, etc, some will make unwise decisions. Second, counterinsurgency themes seem quite unto date with the current doctrine of counterinsurgency. Although this author is quite educated and followed the path now recommend by some military writers for the strategic leaders (military tactics and history with social science familiarization), the statements either show great foresight or a revision of his thoughts at the time. If it is the former, the author or the Marines was then quite advance and better read on the subject than discussed in the book and the Corps has retain well its lesson learned on the subject from the last century’s operations in “small wars”.
This is a good book for military enthusiasts. However the author does grandstand and I feel like at times he makes his role a little more important. Overall worth the credit.
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