Sea Stories

My Life in Special Operations
Narrated by: William H. McRaven
Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
5 out of 5 stars (4,082 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Following the success of his number one New York Times best seller Make Your Bed, which has sold more than one million copies, Admiral William H. McRaven is back with amazing stories of bravery and heroism from his career as a Navy SEAL and commander of America's Special Operations Forces.

Admiral William H. McRaven is a part of American military history, having been involved in some of the most famous missions in recent memory, including the capture of Saddam Hussein, the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, and the raid to kill Osama bin Laden. 

Sea Stories begins in 1963 at a French officers' club in France, where Allied officers and their wives gathered to have drinks and tell stories about their adventures during World War II - the place where a young Bill McRaven learned the value of a good story. Sea Stories is an unforgettable look back on one man's incredible life, from childhood days sneaking into high-security nuclear sites to a day job of hunting terrorists and rescuing hostages. 

Action-packed, humorous, and full of valuable life lessons like those exemplified in McRaven's best-selling book Make Your Bed, Sea Stories is a remarkable memoir from one of America's most accomplished leaders. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 William H. McRaven (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Exquisitely simple...superb, smart, and succinct." (Forbes)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • N.
  • 10-23-19

Behind-the-scenes look at high level military life

tl;dr - Sea Stories offers a higher vantage point view of special ops than most military memoirs and benefits greatly for it.

OVERALL - 4/5 ("It's Great")
If you're into military memoirs, particularly anything special operations related, this is a good book. There isn't a ton of "on the ground" action, but it provides a look behind the scenes that acts as a nice supplement to the numerous other books that do. 

McRaven comes across as a truthful, reliable narrator and I had no problem accepting his words at face value. This is not a book written by a politician. 

PERFORMANCE - 3/5 ("Pretty Good")
I am usually pretty wary of non-actors narrating their own books, but McRaven does an admiralble (get it!?) job here. He's not a natural born narrator, but he speaks with conviction and puts you into his mindset. 

STORY - 4/5 ("It's Great")
William McRaven has lead an extremely compelling and intriguing life. In books like these, the childhood days are often a part that must be trudged through to get to the real reason you bought the book. That isn't the case here. McRaven grabs you from the beginning and even his childhood stories had me fully invested and eager to hear more.

55 people found this helpful

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Overall excellent

The only part of the book i didn't enjoy was the first chapter where the author discusses his childhood. While it was essential to set the book up, it was relatively uninteresting. (in my humble opinion)

13 people found this helpful

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Amazing & Totally Enthralling Book!

Admiral McRaven has written a tremendously engaging book that will have you hooked from the opening words to the ending credits. He has done a fantastic job at retelling his life stories in a way that makes you feel as though you you truly know him at the end of his book. You will feel a deep sense of pride as you listen to every one of his stories and in the end you will have a deep connection to him as a man and leader! Loved every minute of this book and it definitely left me wantimg so much more!

31 people found this helpful

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Stories that touch your soul

True to its title, each chapter is a self-contained “sea story” that, for busy folks, can be “snacked” one chapter at a time or (as I did) all at once with the audio book READ BY ADM McCRAVEN. (Nothing beats a book read by the author!) In the he first two chapters, Adm McRaven teases the reader with dramatic stories of battle that...but no spoiler from me. You MUST read (or listen) it!
But the book is more than just stories. Adm McRaven link these stories to the values that define him—patriotism, religious faith, family, the deep friendships forged in combat. He favorably interprets the millennial generation in the context of his role as Navy seal commander and as chancellor of the University of TX System
The audio production is excellent. The beginning snd and of each chapter starts with the heroic, expansive music that I loved in the “Victory at Sea” TV series of the late 1950s about Navy ships and battles.
If you are a hero-worshipper, this book is for you!

32 people found this helpful

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Great behind scenes look at the special operations!

Only negative was felt like he went on too long on front end about growing up and kid activities. Once that was behind me I really enjoyed these high profile missions. Well put together with OBL take down for final mission. Captain Phillips was crazy and made into a movie. Good book and great man

6 people found this helpful

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Top notch storytelling and content!

Bill McRaven has a very conversational tone and tells great suspenseful stories. He paces it perfectly. By far my favorite performance and overall story line of any book on audible hands down.

6 people found this helpful

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Great Listen

Compelling story given personally by an excellent storyteller about diverse experiences. Good from beginning to end

11 people found this helpful

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Great collection of Sea Stories

This sailor can really tell a story. From the very first chapter to the end,Bill McRaven writes a fascinating tapestry of his life. His stories about being a Seal Tram officer we’re a truly inspiring insight into Naval special forces. Thanks for sharing!

10 people found this helpful

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loved the stories

incredible stories! author/narrator was a bit dry (though what you'd expect from a senior military official) and the music between chapters made it all feel cheesy.

4 people found this helpful

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McRaven is a 5 Star Writer

This is an outstanding story by someone who dedicated his life to serve his country. He would make an excellent president. Thank you for your service Admiral McRaven.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-16-20

5 Stars for the 4 Star Admiral!

A fantastic life story from one of the most influential military commanders in the modern era.
What a read! Or, in this case what a compelling listen. Thank you Sir for your story. Thank you for your service!



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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-09-20

Fascinating and gripping stories, brought to life by the man who lived them

I don’t usually write reviews, but I enjoyed this audio book so much I felt compelled to.

For anyone interested in global affairs, the military or tales of valour and fortitude, this is a must listen.

It is an absolutely fascinating window into some of the most high profile and significant military operations of the past 20 years, insightfully and thoughtfully narrated by the man who led them, without any hint of grandstanding or hubris.

McRaven is an inspiring man, and I am grateful he shared these stories.

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  • David Currie
  • 09-17-19

Fantastic

Inspirational man with some great stories and life lessons to take away! His other book is also fantastic but this is more personable and you get a better Idea of the man in this one as opposed to just a single speech.

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  • NM
  • 06-24-19

An outstanding story

Moving, motivational and historic. McRaven has deviated from the traditional step-by-step autobiographical format and instead delivers a series of short stories; utterly gripping and brilliantly narrated. It gives a great insight into a very impressive human being and superb leader.

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  • Rescue rabbits please
  • 06-10-19

Inspiring, utterly gripping, very moving.

Superb stories and excellent narration- it's great to hear the stories straight from the author! Told with humour and great pace, Admiral McRaven paints vivid pictures that take you to the heart of the action. He also thoughtfully pays tribute to some of the people who have inspired him and shares the credit for his remarkable achievements. I highly recommend this book.

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  • L. Cantlay
  • 06-10-19

Inspiring tales

Admiral McRaven continues to lead into retirement. It is comforting to hear his views about the next generations of “rough men” being more capable an just as dedicated to the protection of the innocent. It was also great to hear him doing his own reading.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-04-19

Sea stories

McRaven's hope is that he lives a good life. It is certainly an interesting one: military 'brat'; US Navy SEAL on active duty and more administrative posts but not less interesting as we watch with him the rescue of kidnapped Captains and the attacks on terrorists.
He reads it himself. He is no trained narrator but these are his sea stories and I like hearing his words in his voice.
You might want to follow on with "Make your bed"; ten life lessons from his time in the SEALs, also read by him.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-01-19

great book and great narration.

great book and narration. exciting from the first page. easy to get through and ever interesting.

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  • W*BvK
  • 06-06-19

Attention, Officer on Deck, You have 5 Stars, Sir

Admiral McRaven is a Man's Man. A leader, who many would and have followed through hell and back. Admiral McRaven, you have earnt your 5th Star and I am grateful for your service and this book. Sea Stories only covers a very small but extremely significant part of Admiral McRaven's career and life. I highly recommend reading/listening to Sea Stories.

I stand in awe of this man, his career and his sacrifice.

I can not leave a review without noting Admiral McRaven's most recent demonstration of what a true officer and gentlemen is all about: "Revoke my security clearance, too, Mr President". McRaven said when Brennan had his security clearance withdrawn by, the Trump administration, Of Brennan, Admiral McRaven stated "He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question ... except by those who don't know him." Of Trump, McRaven wrote, "Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation."

I heartily say of Admiral McRaven, using his own words, "Is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty, humility and character have never been in question" A true modern day hero who knows how to sugar cookie with the best of them.

Must read/Listen.
***** Admiral.

I stand to attention, there is an "Officer on Deck", a hero in the Hall.