“I found this book to be a fascinating read. Well written. ”Frank Mattioli wrote this review Sunday, February 3, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Great, straight forward, compelling narrative. For a memoir, it was refreshingly humble. There is no false modesty. But, the author makes it clear that he is telling the story of the seals with examples from his own experience. He doesn't sound like he has an ax to grind with the president. But he tells about some mild mocking of the president, and Washington politicians in general. But it comes off as the type of mocking anyone does when their experience is far removed from a different type of experience--the type of mocking that business people and academic economists might display. There is not a lack of respect, just a stated feeling that the other has absolutely no idea how the real world works. In other words, he tells about the shared mocking of the president that took place rather than using the book to mock the president. It comes across as genuine and not angry.
I've stopped reading Washington memoirs because they are usually written by those who have made a fatal political error and yet use their book to justify their missteps and subtly discredit their victorious opponents. I suppose that the author of this book does something similar. He, not so subtly, villainous his opponents--terrorists. He admits some of his own mistakes, but doesn't admit to any major errors. Of course, this comes across as believable since any major errors and he would not be around to write the book.
I suppose what sets this memoir apart is that the author writes after incontrovertible personal victory. So many write after they have met their political end.
I do think that Gary Schroen's First In is a book written from a comparable experience. And yet, he seems to have some real bitterness against the military brass and one high level diplomat. He never acknowledges any real errors or lapses of judgement on his part. And it may be true that he got a raw deal. But, there is none of this bitterness in No Easy Day.
I really liked this book, both the story and it's tone. And I think the book is a great addition to history. The author seems to give an awful lot away from a tactical perspective. But, if I were on a jury, I think I'd buy the defense that it was all given away in public sources by others already--particularly the political class.
There comes to my mind, from the Funeral Oration of Pericles, these words, "Then in the studies of war we excel our enemies in this. We leave our city open to all men; nor was it ever seen that by banishing of strangers we denied them the learning or sight of any of those things which, if not hidden, an enemy might reap advantage by, not relying on secret preparation and deceit but upon our own courage in the action."
The author, and his team mates, are true heroes in the classical sense. They are modern day versions of Achilles or Odysseus or the Spartans. I'm truly impressed and grateful for the service they have provided our democracy. In my mind, he's earned the right to speak freely.”