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The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education | [Craig Mullaney]

The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education

A fascinating account of an Army captain's unusual path through some of the most legendary seats of learning straight into a brutal fight with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, The Unforgiving Minute is, above all, an unforgettable portrait of a young soldier grappling with the weight of his hard-earned knowledge while coming to grips with becoming a man.
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Publisher's Summary

Craig M. Mullaney's education had been relentlessly preparing him for this moment. The four years he spent at West Point and the harrowing test of Ranger School readied him for a career in the Army. His subsequent experience as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford couldn't have been further from the Army and his working-class roots, and yet the unorthodox education he received there would be surprisingly relevant as a combat leader.

Years later, after that unforgettable experience in Afghanistan, he would return to the United States to teach history to future Navy and Marine Corps officers at the Naval Academy. He had been in their position once, and he had put his education to the test. How would he use his own life-changing experience to prepare them?

The Unforgiving Minute is the extraordinary story of one soldier's singular education. From a hilarious plebe's-eye view of the author's West Point experience to the demanding leadership crucible of Ranger School's swamps and mountains, to a two-year whirlwind of scintillating debate, pub crawls, and romance at Oxford, Mullaney's winding path to the battlegrounds of Afghanistan was unique and remarkable.

Despite all his preparation, the hardest questions remained. When the call came to lead his platoon into battle and earn his soldiers' salutes, would he be ready? Was his education sufficient for the unforgiving minutes he'd face?

A fascinating account of an Army captain's unusual path through some of the most legendary seats of learning straight into a brutal fight with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, The Unforgiving Minute is, above all, an unforgettable portrait of a young soldier grappling with the weight of his hard-earned knowledge while coming to grips with becoming a man.

©2009 Craig Mullany; (P)2009 Tantor

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (151 )
5 star
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4.2 (46 )
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4.4 (45 )
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Performance
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  •  
    John Austin, TX, United States 08-21-09
    John Austin, TX, United States 08-21-09 Member Since 2007
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    "The Unforgiving Son"

    The author never quite gets inside anything, especially himself. Though he has many occasions for probing reflection and compelling observation he is too stuck in student/soldier routines to see much. Even his account of his romance with the woman he married is thick with cliches and thin with insight. The real failure of the book is Mullaney's self-righteous and callous attitude toward his father, who created a family crisis, well after his son's successes, by leaving home for another woman. Though Mullaney Sr. gave his son everything and no doubt stayed in a loveless marriage many years for the sake of his children, the son can only respond by riding his high horse and congratulating himself on his moral superiority. (All of a sudden the son takes an interest in his mother who is barely mentioned for three-quarters of the book.) I found this whole dimension of the book strangely unselfconscious for an autobiography.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Richmond, VA 08-08-09
    Daniel Richmond, VA 08-08-09 Member Since 2009
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    "Real"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Craig Mullaney shares his story with candid honesty. My heart wept with his as he described in refreshing detail the pain of losing a fellow soldier. Thanks to Mullaney's accounts, I can't help but to have a stronger sense of empathy for those men and women who lay down their lives for our freedom.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Albuquerque, NM, United States 05-31-09
    David Albuquerque, NM, United States 05-31-09 Member Since 2005
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    "Nicely Done!"

    I found this very interesting without it being totally gung ho or overly jingoistic as other similar stories I've read. Craig gives a nice insight into the blending of a military life with an academic bent to it. It gave me a view that I haven't really appreciated before. Good story but I wanted more at the end. I'm sure his story will continue.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Prairie Village, KS USA 06-09-09
    Amazon Customer Prairie Village, KS USA 06-09-09 Member Since 2002

    Larry

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    "Long Gray Line - Continued"

    Craig Mullaney shares with us his struggles, pain and triumphs as he grows from youth to manhood and command in this very touching and very personal account of his military training and service. This is a must read for anyone who thinks the youth of this nation have somehow not gotten the message of history.

    I enjoyed Todd McLaren's narration.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James 10-10-14
    James 10-10-14
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    Story
    "Learn the words"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Someone reading the book who could pronounce Adjutant!!! It is not adJUTant. Isn't it reasonable to thinking that the reader would learn to pronounce the words in the book? It lost all credibility when he kept referring to his position as company adJUTant. Come on!!


    If you’ve listened to books by Craig Mullaney before, how does this one compare?

    I wouldn't knowingly listen to another book read by this reader.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Todd McLaren’s performances?

    No.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    It was frustrating to try and visualize the tension in the book when the reader clearly was not in tune with the book.


    Any additional comments?

    I guess I can't give this zero stars. Would if I could

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elise Gladwyne, Panama 05-30-13
    Elise Gladwyne, Panama 05-30-13 Member Since 2008

    I ENJOY BIOGRAPHY AND NON-FICTION. I LIKE TO LEARN FROM STORIES.

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    "Excellent suspenseful novel"
    Would you listen to The Unforgiving Minute again? Why?

    If you are looking for a book that will keep your attention on a car trip, this is it!! You wont be able to get out of your car.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DS 05-24-13
    DS 05-24-13 Member Since 2012

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "interesting contradictions"

    A West Point graduate becomes a Rhodes Scholar becomes an Army Ranger becomes an Infantry platoon leader in Afghanistan. Interesting look at life at West Point (spoiler alert: not the usual college experience) and the Rhodes Scholar experience (spoiler alert: reading history at Oxford is more fun than West Point).

    God knows we need more really smart, highly educated people in the upper ranks of the military but I have the feeling that those people will not become Head of the Joint Chiefs anytime soon, alas.

    I highly recommend this "thinking man's" look at the Army, modern warfare and casualties.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Topeka, KS, United States 07-07-12
    Jim Topeka, KS, United States 07-07-12 Member Since 2003

    I'm GM of the WIBW Channels in Topeka, Kansas. We have two television channels and multiple web channels that we program.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Modern Warrior Tells His Story"
    Would you listen to The Unforgiving Minute again? Why?

    Because it tells how a member of a current generation of Twentysomethings makes choices that define them.


    What does Todd McLaren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He makes it feel like a personal narrative.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    His first time dealing with the death of soldiers under his command.


    Any additional comments?

    This was required for my rising freshman at the University of Kentucky to read. I am glad I experienced it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles LYNDON STATION, WISCONSIN, United States 03-28-12
    Charles LYNDON STATION, WISCONSIN, United States 03-28-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Wars reallity."

    A West Point grad. depicts what war is really about, and that even his parents change and are not as you see them as you grow up. There are adjustments, in life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Republic of California, USA 03-16-11
    William Republic of California, USA 03-16-11 Member Since 2007

    American

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    "Yawn..."

    I expected a war memoir. A tough listen unless you enjoy stories with all the excitement of an adolescent???s personal diary. Full of mutterings best saved for the author???s immediate family.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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