There are a couple of reasons why someone would pick up this book. The first is the most obvious: because of the advance publicity. That’s why most people will read it. There’s a certain curiosity surrounding “forbidden” writing. (If there’s ever any discussion about suppressing a book, it’s human nature to immediately want to read it.) The second reason to read this book is because of the inside information about training and executing these top secret military missions.
Either reason works. It isn’t a very long book, and it’s certainly engaging. It’s worth it alone to read about the $64,000 night vision goggles.
Mark Owen, the name under which this anonymous Navy SEAL writes, devotes his first chapter to explaining how he has changed names, deleted sensitive material, and not divulged anything classified. (Just in case you were feeling squeamish about forking over the $26.95 for the book.)
What follows is a pretty entertaining account of the training and travels of the elite unit. There are a few mildly interesting accounts of his personal life, and lots of interesting detail about SEAL training. First-hand accounts of successful missions, and some not so successful, make pretty good reading. Navy SEALs are some of our most elite servicemen, and their stories are valuable. The amount of intelligence and painstaking detail involved in executing their missions is awe-inspiring. You don’t have to be a fan of military books to enjoy this story.
Since we all know how it ends, there’s no reason to skip over the fact that the entire book is about the successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden. The first-hand account of the actual raid on bin Laden’s compound makes pretty compelling reading. There are several sections of photographs, including some of fairly sophisticated weapons. The descriptions of what they carry on a given mission, and the lengths SEALs go to avoid detection are pretty fascinating. There’s a lot of description about specific SEALs, some of whom have been killed in action. There are some pretty effective stories about certain battles, and how some men have rightfully earned the legendary status of heroes within the SEAL organization.
As Americans, we should be very proud of this elite fighting group. If you haven’t read any accounts of these men, this isn’t a bad place to start. By any standard, these are true heroes.
But you can’t avoid the last chapter, which is a pretty elaborate riff on why it’s OK for this particular SEAL to break a non-disclosure agreement about never revealing information about his job. As a matter of fact, I suggest that you Google this book, or his real name, Matt Bissonette.
It’s almost impossible not to have an opinion about this latest hot literary property! This book may lead to some fairly exciting sequels. . .