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
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.
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.
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.
I'm GM of the WIBW Channels in Topeka, Kansas. We have two television channels and multiple web channels that we program.
Because it tells how a member of a current generation of Twentysomethings makes choices that define them.
He makes it feel like a personal narrative.
His first time dealing with the death of soldiers under his command.
This was required for my rising freshman at the University of Kentucky to read. I am glad I experienced it.
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.
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.
War or Peace is not so much about the Unforgiving Minute, but about the Forgiving Self. If we look at Craig Mulvaney's purpose in writing this book, I think we find that it is ultimately more about the war within himself than the war in Afghanistan. The book, "Good Soldiers" by the embedded journalist Finkle, contrasts well with this book to reveal that Finkle's book is much more about the Iraqi war than the warrior Finkle. Throughout the autobiography, Craig continuously struggles with guilt, acceptance by others and authorities--especially by his father, by a need to keep his brother from his own fate, and to write this book to exculpate his demons. His guilt drenches his story, continuously expressing his responsibility for his men's lives that he leads into battle--only two were killed. He is relentless in holding himself excessively guilty for their deaths up to the last Unforgiving Minute. Until a Warrior fights his own internal demons of unquenched need for father approval, etc., he is in no position to fight the external demons of War, as this autobiography demonstrates. He gets demoted from the front lines to Adjutant and is reduced to teaching the history of War in the Naval Academy, still trying to quell his guilt demons with ineffectual theories. Minutes are not Unforgiving, but we may be Unforgiving of ourselves. Responsibility for others in war does not include some fantasy that you have the ability to keep them from dying. Craig still lives Unforgiving Minutes so we hear more about him than the War.
I expected so much more from this book after reading the description and other reviews. I kept waiting for something to happen. I guess I expected more battle and war stories. What action that was described was little and far between and followed with substantial self guilt & pity because he blames himself for an alleged poor performance. The author can't seem to get over that. Too bad, it could have been a much better story and book. I spent 20 years in the Army myself so maybe that is why I was hoping for more than this book delivered.
This is one book I wish I'd read (not audio). I think the narrator thought he was being "militaristic", but I took it as pretentious. I saw a few videos of the author and he didn't come across that way at all. This guy was a poet - I thought the narration should have been "softer". So I'd give the book itself 5 stars, but I couldn't get over the narration - it changed how I felt about the story.
First off, the author makes me feel like a serious underachiever. Secondly, he gives very good descriptions of life at West Point, Ranger training, Airborne training, being a Rhodes Scholar, and life as a young officer at war time.
One more good book to add to your military history books.
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