Reviews for No Easy Day : The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden: The Autobiography of a Navy SEAL
Booklist Reviews 2012 October #1
"Mark Owen" is a pseudonym for Matt Bissonnette, a Navy SEAL who took part in the 2011 raid on a compound in Pakistan that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. His muscular memoir was cowritten by Maurer, a journalist who has covered American special-ops forces for nearly a decade, including a stint as an embedded reporter in Iraq. Owen was already a SEAL at the time of the 9/11 attacks; the book begins shortly thereafter, as he is qualifying for the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group (otherwise known as the famed SEAL Team Six), and follows him through various missions, culminating with a detailed account of the planning and execution of the assault on bin Laden's compound. His version of events has already sparked some controversy--no surprise there, since the mission itself is still a controversial subject--but it doesn't feel as though Owen intended to add fuel to the fire. Incendiary subject matter aside, this might feel somewhat familiar due to its thematic similarities to such books as Anthony Swofford's Jarhead, Evan Wright's Generation Kill, and Mark Bowden's Black Hawk Down. Like those modern classics, No Easy Day doesn't merely tell war stories--it also explores the culture of war and what it means to be a soldier. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This is the book of the moment and has already ended 50 Shades of Grey's record-setting run at the top of various best-seller lists. Last Sunday's 60 Minutes interview with the heavily disguised author only added fuel to the fire. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2012 October #1
Books on Navy SEALs have poured off the presses for years, but this one has generated national interest and controversy for a reason the title makes clear. Sensibly, the author (a pseudonym of ex-SEAL Matt Bissonnette) works with military journalist Maurer (Gentlemen Bastards: On the Ground in Afghanistan with America's Elite Special Forces, 2012, etc.), and the result is a fast-paced, professional narrative that will appeal to military buffs as well as general readers. Raised in rural Alaska, Owen yearned to be a SEAL from childhood. He succeeded in 1998, passing the brutal screening and training. After several deployments, he passed another screening to join the SEAL's specialized anti-terrorism unit in 2004. This is a mostly traditional SEAL memoir filled with nuts-and-bolts descriptions of weapons, gear, training, tactics and short, nasty battles in which (unlike the movies) plenty goes wrong, but (like the movies) many bad guys pay the price. The book's second half delivers a precisely detailed, vivid account of the Osama bin Laden mission. Luck, good and bad, plays an essential role in any raid. One attacking helicopter crashed, but the veteran team worked around the mishap. On the bright side, the Pakistani hideout was feebly defended. The author does not deny that the SEALs shot every male on sight, bin Laden included. Since bin Laden was a significant figure, historians will consult this book as a primary source; they, as well as most general readers, will not regret it. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.