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Publisher's Summary

How does the US Army mold a video-game generation with its thumbs on the joystick into a proud fighting force with its fingers on the trigger - and lives on the line - in America's War on Terror? Michael J. MacLeod, already an accomplished professional photographer and journalist, decided to find out the hard way: by enlisting in the armed forces at age forty-one. What he observed and experienced as an embedded reporter and a serving soldier makes for an unflinching and inspiring portrait of endurance, sacrifice, discipline, and courage.

From the trials of basic training on the home front to the ranks of the legendary 82nd Airborne Division to taking fire in the hot zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, MacLeod chronicles the soldier's evolution as only one who's been in those boots can. Candid, wise, and powerful, his memoir takes listeners on an unforgettable journey through war and allows them to witness bravery firsthand.

©2015 Michael J. MacLeod (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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What listeners say about The Brave Ones

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A real story of war.

enjoyed the narrator, story was well written I would find myself laughing at times then wanting to cry, I like how nothing seemed to be sugar coated it was real. As a veteran myself I salute you Michael McCloud.

9 people found this helpful

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mature account of war and it's warfighters.

From the view of a 40+ man who joined the 82nd as a enlisted journalist. Probably the best account I've read or listened to, expertly narrated.

8 people found this helpful

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Best modern military book I've listened to lately.

Outstanding story that was written and performed outstandingly well. A win, win, win! Trifecta! Bravo!

7 people found this helpful

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Excellent !

Events extremely well written and
Patrick Lawlor brings them to life.
Unable to put it down.

5 people found this helpful

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Should be a staple of any War reading collection

Why is this different then other war stories?
Because it’s not written for a journalist point of view note a life long warrior point of view.
It’s written by a journalist who join the warrior class and then wrote a story.
Why does that matter?
Because it means he stood fire watch and understands the ass pain of being looked at as a rank and not a person.
He isn’t writing from an abstract point of view of a journalist not the altruistic point of view of a warrior.
To his credit he goes through the not so sexy parts and not just the sexy made for Hollywood parts.
As a reader of over 100 war biographies, this one stands out as top ten.



1 person found this helpful

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Army journalists observations of today’s war.

Michael McCloud might not have been an infantryman on daily missions, but he was an airborne soldier doing his assigned duties in a combat environment. His job was to record what our soldiers were doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. With a focus on recording history being made, he was able, in most instances, to see more overall than the infantryman looking over his gun sights. He was able to observe combat more closely than civilians were allowed to be.

As the Army says, there are no front lines and rear echelons like previous wars. McCloud experienced bullets nearly hitting him, explosions that shook him, and the loss of friends to enemy action.

I developed a much better appreciation for these young men and women. If I had the same challenges and family separation as these troops, I might not have stayed for 24 years. God bless them.

1 person found this helpful

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Very accurate view of the Army

When people now ask me why I left the Army, I can tell them to listen to chapters 3 & 4.

1 person found this helpful

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Snarky Public Affairs soldier shocked at profanity

Would you try another book from Michael J. MacLeod and/or Patrick Lawlor?

Probably not. Maybe the narrator, but definitely not this author. The author operates from the mistaken impression that he is a spectacular writer and that apparently there are no other books, films, etc. that relate the experiences of boot camp, jump school, war zone, etc. Way too much attitude from a REMF Fobbit, who's not in combat arms or even combat support, but only went through jump school because he was assigned 82nd Airborne (public affairs).

What was most disappointing about Michael J. MacLeod’s story?

Mostly his snarky attitude about pretty much everything from boot camp, drill sergeants, jump school, and being a fobbit, while real soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines were actually risking it all on a daily basis.
I'm very disappointed that the publisher made this appear like it was a first-person experience of one of our airborne troops, while it was actually just the incessant whining of a middle-age guy who, probably from lack of work, enlisted in the US Army thinking it would be a great experience for the book he knew was within him. But rather than going for infantry, armor, artillery or something that actually contributes, he gets guaranteed "military journalist."There are too many real first-person accounts from all sorts of men and women in this and past wars who actually did "see the elephant" and survive for this spoiled child's account of mostly hearsay and third-person stories to matter a whit. A good editor could have salvaged this by removing most of the snarky, superior tone of voice and deleting about half the stuff that does a poor job of re-telling boot camp, jump school, etc. Good thing he picked PA, he would never have made it in the Grunts, much less Rangers.

What didn’t you like about Patrick Lawlor’s performance?

His high whiny voice just exacerbated the whiny, snarky tone of the author's words.

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

Mostly it sparked disgust. There are quite a few really good narratives by people of all sorts who have gone through the US military experience in war and peace, in all sorts of jobs, in all sorts of places. I cannot imagine how this even got published, unless it was self-published or specifically targeted to an audience that thinks being a fobbit who coincidentally has jump wings merits a "self-esteem" award for being sort of close to "there."

Any additional comments?

For a polar opposite of this piece of junk, try "Goodbye Darkness" by William Manchester. This is how a skilled writer tells the tale of his personal experience in war.

5 people found this helpful

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Utterly fascinating US Army memoir

In 2008 Michael McLeod, a 41 year old husband, father, and Montana native with no military experience, decided to join the US Army as a buck private. He hoped to become a military journalist and photographer. This is his story of his 5 years as an enlisted man beginning with boot camp and including a tour without combat in Iraq and a tour with heavy combat in Afghanistan. The perspective of a well educated 40+ year old is fascinating and even humorous at times. McLeod was old enough to be the father of most of his peers and even many of his superiors,so his perceptions are certainly different than others.

I recommend The Brave Ones without reservation to all. It is a wonderful and well narrated audiobook!

7 people found this helpful

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Never Forgotten

I purchased this book to get a little better understanding of what my unit did while we were down range, it brought back a lot of memories. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to join the Army.

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  • Rob Budden
  • 10-31-16

this is a brilliant book

This is a brilliant book that I would recommend to anyone. An extraordinarily heartfelt ride.