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The Unforgiving Minute

A Soldier's Education
Narrated by: Todd McLaren
Length: 13 hrs and 33 mins
4 out of 5 stars (238 ratings)

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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • DS
  • 05-24-13

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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

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

Such and honest and well written book

Read this book years ago and it’s one of my all time favorite books. As a veteran I can relate to so many things but it’s also so honest about more than just the military. His doubts and questions are ones we all have if we are being honest with ourselves. It’s beautifully written and as an enlisted soldier I had some new respect for all West Point graduates. This is a must read. You will not be disappointed.

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

excellent listen <br />

great story of one Americans journey to leading his men into battle and the ups and downs that comes with that great responsibility

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

Loved the story!

This book was really well written and narrated. The overall story depicted the human side of most soldiers and it related the common feelings and fears that are felt. The narrator did an excellent job of telling the story with energy and accents. Both story and narrator kept me enthralled the whole time.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

This is a must read.

CMM does a great job integrating experience with literature. The low performance score is due to mispronunciation of military terms to the point of distraction.

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

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