Monday, November 26, 2012

Book Review: No Easy Day

A few months ago the book No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama Bin Laden hit the press.  As this book neared its release date on September 11, 2012 much drama began to circulate.  Threats of a lawsuit from the Pentagon began to surface and the media was all over it.  It seems I read about this book daily in the local paper until the tragic events of Benghazi when the news of this book seemed to fade away.  Within the community people seemed divided over how to respond to this book--and all before it was released!  I wasn't sure what I was going to do.  Was it all hype and just a marketing scheme?  Or was this a legit book?  Many people began asking my opinion and I figured I should read the book and throw my two cents in the ring.  I just finished the book today and my goal is to throw out some quick rough thoughts rather than produce an exhaustive book report.

This book is for mature audiences.  I realize I have a varied demographic of people who read this blog.  This book is a first hand account of a Navy SEAL.  There is some colorful language and some questionable humor.  Read with caution.  But what would one suspect from this sort of book?  In the field of like books, I would say that this one is on the cleaner side.

Start reading at the back of the book.  In my edition, on page 301, immediately after the epilogue, there are nine pages of men who have fallen since 9/11 either in combat, or in training.  Read the names.  Each one slowly.  Let them sink in.  These are men who gave all.  Many of whom were dear friends of mine.  As I finished this book today, I received word that a Navy SEAL was killed in Afghanistan this weekend.  The war is not over.  Peace is not here.  We long for the Lord to return for peace, but until then, we are reminded that men and women are serving around the world and in our backyard keeping us safe.  The farther away I move from my old life as a SEAL the greater my appreciation is for those who are serving us in this very special capacity.  If you are on active duty, or are a law enforcement officer, I thank you for your service from the depths of my heart.

A lawsuit from the Pentagon, really? I am shocked that there were threats of a lawsuit from the Pentagon.  I found no tactical leaks in this book.  There is nothing new, other than it is a first person account, in this book concerning the operation that killed Bin Laden.  Toward the end of the book, the author expresses his disbelief of the leaks that came from the White House following this very classified operation.  He wasn't back for 24 hours from the op before he started seeing images and official reports about the operation being broadcast on every network.  I'm not sure why the threats came from the Pentagon, clearly this is a tier-one operator that knows what he is allowed, or not allowed, to share with the public. 

A humble perspective.  I love the humility of the author.  This book is a super easy read.  I loved being taken back to my time in the teams.  I believe the author of this book painted a real picture of the SEAL community and the great sacrifices that are made day in and day out.  I loved his attitude that it wasn't about him, but was about acknowledging the hard work and sacrifice made by many people over the years to make this operation happen.  I believe he rightly gives credit where credit is due.  I wish the politicians would follow his lead.

I highly recommend the book.  The bottom line is I do recommend this book.  It is not written by a hotshot, but by a humble American hero that was at the right place at the right time and happened to partake in a significant event historically.  His heart is to share an eyewitness account that is free of political spin or implications.  If you read this book, I believe you walk away with a deeper sense of gratitude for the the men and women involved with operation, and for the men and women who are currently serving our country today.


Rikalonius said...

While listening to your sermons today while I worked at my desk I had this blog up but never had time to read it. I thought towards the end of my day to scroll down and see what things you commented about. Coming across your review of this book I was pleased to see that we were of like mind on this particular topic.

I wasn't a SEAL, though goodness knows I wanted to be one more than I have ever wanted anything in my whole life but the Lord didn't have that for me. Pneumonia had scared a lung and while I begged the dive doctor not to disqualify me, he did what the Navy required him to do. I still served for the next 19 years retiring in 2008.

While I couldn't do what I loved I still had the opportunity to serve along side some of your community while I was on the USS Nassau, and while I served as an instructor at Dam Neck where I had a number of friends who were in DEVGRU support.

As a SEAL fan boy I've read memoirs voraciously, going back to Men with Green Faces, which made me immediately identify with the author as that book was the catalyst for my own desire to be a SEAL as it was his. I too was shocked at the controversy considering how many like books had been released by other former SEALs.

I was a Cryptologist in the Navy and I'm familiar with classified information, and like you, I found the book gave away nothing that would compromise the community, their methods or tactics. I made a statement during the controversy that it was pretty disingenuous of the Pentagon to back the film Act of Valor, then criticize this book so vehemently; especially when it was well known that Kathryn Bigelow's film team had been given unprecedented access to the raid's details by the same Pentagon now threatening No Easy Day's author.

Now, I understand, holding the clearance level I do, that technically the Pentagon has a case being that the book was never submitted for possible redaction as per non-disclosure agreements we all sign, but it was strange that this book was the one chosen, pardon the idiom, to make a Federal case out of.

Like you I though "Mark Owen" was very humble. His admission at the end that any SEAL could have done what he did was particularly noteworthy, especially coming from someone of his extensive training. Anyway, thank you for your review. Thank you for your service, both to the Navy and especially to the Lord. Your brother in Christ,

Richard Jefferies, CTO1 (SW/PJ) Ret.

Gunnar Hanson said...

Thank you for your comment. Well said. Blessings, Gunnar