From Publishers Weekly
Among America's Special Forces, the Green Berets stand out because they can "do it all," according to this enthusiastic account of their training. Ex-SEAL Couch (Down Range
) explains that Green Berets not only fight, they teach: living in the world's hot spots, they speak the language, win the trust of the locals, and train and fight alongside them to defeat a common enemy. They are the "Peace Corps with guns" and the key to winning the war on terror, he asserts. Only the most fit, smart, stable and multilingual need apply, but training is so rigorous that recruits first undergo 25 days of pretraining, from which only one-third proceed to Green Beret school, where attrition continues. Military buffs will enjoy the descriptions of exhausting marches, realistic combat simulations, high-tech weapons and dramatic instructor/student interactions. Though Thomas Ricks showed in Making the Corps
that one can write an admiring account of an elite military unit without neglecting its warts and missteps, Couch loves the Green Berets too much to look beneath the surface; still. he tells an entertaining story. 16-page full-color insert. (Mar.)
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Couch could have applied the opening chapter's title, "Special Forces 101," to the whole book, for it is a portrait of the men who arrive at the JFK Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, and the minority who make it though the training and join A Teams. Few of them are Rambos, for they need to be able both to function alone and to be closer than brothers to their teammates and the frequently foreign soldiers they train in combat and nation building. Whatever the future role of special forces in particular may be, the book adds substantially to the serious layman's knowledge of the men now playing vital roles in the war on terror, and who may number in their ranks more of the army's future leaders than the general media anticipates. A book worthy of the quality of the soldiers it profiles. Roland GreenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved