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Publisher's Summary

A former captain in the Marines' First Recon Battalion, who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, reveals how the Corps trains its elite and offers a point-blank account of twenty-first-century battle.

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.

Critic Reviews

"Candid and fast-paced....Like the best combat memoirs, Fick's focuses on the men doing the fighting and avoids...sensationalism." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Gillian
  • Del Mar, CA, USA
  • 10-14-07

Good story badly abridged

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Captures both the heroism and frustration

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Josh
  • Cedar City, UT, USA
  • 10-15-05

Great book on the war experience of a Marine

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Book incomplete.

Would be 5 stars except that someone decided not to tape the whole book. Instead this Audible version only presents excerpts. A fact not mentioned when I bought it. C'mon Amazon-Audible please DO NOT DO THAT.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story but abridged

Worth listening to but the full book is so good that it's a shame that it's shortened.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robin
  • Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA
  • 08-23-08

Great insight and a great read

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • New York, NY, USA
  • 06-06-06

Sincere and straightforward book

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Steve
  • Mount Nelson, TAS, Australia
  • 01-20-06

Captivating listen.......

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....

Steve

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Abridged

I did not know this was an abridged version, as it is not marketed as such

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Ok book but missing parts

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I think that anyone who is interested in the life of a solider would like this.

Any additional comments?

It was not a bad book. I found it very interesting, especially since I was in high school when the author was at war. What I did not like, was that the audio book was missing parts of the story that was in the hard copy of the book. I was using both the book and audio book in order to read through quickly for a class that I was taking, and it made it difficult.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Umashin
  • 02-16-17

good

good book with good narration. compelling story. if you're interested in military novels I'd recommend

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • sooyun
  • 04-02-16

Absolutely brilliant.

Perhaps the most and honest account of an experience as a marine officer. Very well written and honestly illstruative of the development as a leader and moral dihlmeas of combat as well as the issue of leadership in war.