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122 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, great insight into one of Iraq's most closely guarded chapters from the man at the center of it
Just typed up a couple pages, computer crashed, can't retrieve it, so here now goes a quick summary from the top of my head:

Erik Prince, real Man of Mystery speaks. Portrayed by some as archvillain, thought by others to be some kind of modern day Knight Templar, this real life Navy Seal and entrepreneur tells all about the founding of Blackwater and their role...
Published 14 months ago by Alex

versus
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very readable; some convincing arguments; some stories selectively told or avoided - like most autobiographies
I read this book and also the book by Scahill on Blackwater. I suspect most people will read one or the other, depending on their politics, but it helps to read both, to get a more complete understanding.

In the end, like most autobiographies, the stories are often selectively told. But they are well-told and often convincing.

I read the books...
Published 13 months ago by MG


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122 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, great insight into one of Iraq's most closely guarded chapters from the man at the center of it, November 18, 2013
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Just typed up a couple pages, computer crashed, can't retrieve it, so here now goes a quick summary from the top of my head:

Erik Prince, real Man of Mystery speaks. Portrayed by some as archvillain, thought by others to be some kind of modern day Knight Templar, this real life Navy Seal and entrepreneur tells all about the founding of Blackwater and their role in Iraq.

The book starts off as a mini-biography of his dad, a man who started off as a salesman making forty cents an hour to founder of a billion-dollar company. Prince makes it clear that his father instilled in him the foundation that led to his later success.

It was as a Navy Seal in the Balkans that Prince first realized the need for private training facilities for special operations and highly focused training. Previously, Seals and their elite counterparts often had trouble getting sufficient training time on military training facilities that were over capacity from general use training by others.

Columbine becomes a turning point for the Blackwater team as law enforcement brutally realizes the need for more specialized training. Several years later Iraq explodes and the need for highly trained security teams draws Blackwater into its largest conflict and most controversial affair. While under government contract, Blackwater was forbidden to speak out publicly in its defense, especially against one high profile lawsuit that eventually tarnished its reputation almost beyond repair. Now free to speak, Prince effectively reveals The Other Side of the Story, and it's clear that Blackwater was often a scapegoat for others' ineptitude and politically driven agendas.

Many interesting stories are revealed, such as a huge ambush of the Polish Ambassor. Unlike Banghazi, this has a happy ending as Blackwater and Polish security valiantly band together and keep him alive. In a later ceremony honoring the fallen, the Polish ambassador gratefully credits Blackwater for his survival. Lesser known stories of BW's involvement providing security in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans are told. A sweet love story between him and his beloved wife Joan is interwoven in between them all.

The book is all meat and no filler whatsoever. Fact-dense with so many footnote links that it becomes hard to turn the page without accidentally touching one.

Perhaps the best summary comes from the book itself:

"There is much the government doesn't want told about the work we did: the truth about our State Department-sanctioned operational tactics in Iraq, including our rules of engagement; or Blackwater's involvement with President Obama's ever expanding terrorist-hunting tactics in Pakistan and beyond..."
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104 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blackwater Wife, November 20, 2013
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This review is from: Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror (Hardcover)
As the wife of someone who has worked for Blackwater for 9 years, I can attest that this book is 100% genuine. Finally a realistic and factual light has been shed on this company and it’s heroes. The men KIA and the men and women who risk their lives everyday for our country are getting the respect they deserve. It’s an informative read and I highly recommend it for anyone familiar with Blackwater and for anyone who would like to know the truth.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening and candid, well documented and troubling book, December 4, 2013
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This review is from: Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror (Hardcover)
well, like most people I had a negative opinion of Blackwater. First of all the name was ill chosen and reeks of evil. Second, of course, all I ever saw were the pics online and on TV of these massive guys cradling sub machine guns. Who were these mercenaries, I wondered?
Well, of course, like most people I was grossly under- and ill informed.
Prince has his flaws, of course, let's not be naive. My wife passed away from cancer too but i never was unfaithful. Could I understand why he was? Maybe? Maybe not. But at least he owns it. This was a book about blackwater, not about him, and he could have tried to cover up his foibles. He briefly mentions his family life throughout the book perhaps to show some of his humanity. I found him likeable and candid, and eminently believable.

He supports almost everything he says with documentation, and refutes most critics with equally valid documentation - e.g. when the government tries to accuse him of overcharging them. He contends they actually under bid most of the competition (which still is there, by the way - Triple Canopy, for example. Why isn't Hillary and Henry after them.?) and can prove it.

As far as Blackwater he does an excellent job explaining how this type of contractor is a time honored factor in warfare. Oddly most of their work was security, as opposed to combat. Our own nation was founded with the help of flat out mercenaries - LaFayette, von Steuben, etc. In addition, we fought against mercenaries - the Hessians. And he shows beautifully how biased and grotesquely ignorant, naive, and opportunistic people like Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Henry Waxman are. The fact that Obama still employed Blackwater, the fact that Blackwater RESCUED Biden, Hagel and Kerry from the Hindu Kush and they were too stupid or naive to realize it wasn't the Army....the fact that lawyers tried to destroy them and never prevailed....were all eye opening examples of gross hypocrisy.
I overall thought it was an excellent book and the thing that bothered me the most was the subplot - the fact that our military is so bloated, so awash in regulations, bureaucracy, compliance, and so unable themselves to field a complete army - they NEEDED these type of contractors. For example, historically he says that it used to be for every 10 soldiers/military they needed 1 contractor. By the present day in Iraq, it is one contractor for each soldier. And part of that is the fact that the supposed Obama drawdown in Iraq is actually, like much else in this fraudulent administration - really isn't, because every soldier who is leaving Iraq is being replaced by....a contractor! So the amount of Americans or American advisors and contractors is staying the same. The number isn't changing; just that they are hired help instead of Army, Navy, Marine or AirForce. The government, army and State department simply do not have the personnel to do what they need to do. Partially this is because they are spread thin. Partially because they are inefficient. Partially because they are grossly (and willingly, btw) encumbered by absurd rules - rules of engagement in particular, but also rules about staffing, behavior, compliance, etc. What I took away from this is that our great army isn't so great. It is small and constrained by idiots - witness the entire idiocy of the Fort Hood shooter trial. Our soldiers are terrific but they are working for politicians, even their officers (if you don't believe me, read Honor and Betrayal next). And as a result, contractors have to step in and fill the gaps. They can do it faster, better, and more efficiently. That thin military....with nations like China and Mexico, North Korea and a resurgent Russia....who don't have the same rules....augurs not well for us.
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58 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truthful, Powerful and Inspiring, November 25, 2013
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This review is from: Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror (Hardcover)
Having been protected by Blackwater officers in two war zones, I can personally attest to the high caliber and integrity of the officers who risked their lives daily while we traveled in dangerous places to fulfill the U.S. Government's mandate. The 41 officers who gave their lives for America should be honored as well as the entrepreneur who had the foresight to standup this organization and answering the call when their country needed the most. Thank you for your sacrifice
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Working the Wars..both military and PMC, December 17, 2013
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As a former Army officer and later a contractor (PAE, Dyncorp & MPRI), I experienced both sides of the military culture and that of a contractor.

The book is a history of Blackwater and of its founder-author who presents an honest and forthwith account of building a company in the midst of conducting security US State Dept contracts in an environment not known previously in our military history. For those who never deployed or were assigned during our country's time in Iraq (and especially those who attempted to second guess what it was like), Iraq was absolutely monumentally dangerous. The dis-organization that was Bremer's time as a result of inept post invasion planning highlighted by the disbandment of the Iraqi military and moreso, the civilian infrastructure was (in my opinion) a large part of the catalyst and causation of the insurgency.

Although this reviewed never worked with Blackwater personnel, I knew of their missions and of their force protection challenges in terms of both physical resources and qualified personnel. The US State Department was the singular beneficiary, as no personnel were KIA. Blackwater's record of accomplishment was stellar. Several chapters deal with incidents which resulted in civilian deaths-unfortunately war, especially the war in Iraq was in essence.."who are the bad guys?"

Without a doubt, no other organization with that much exposure to the insurgency performed so well under absolutely critical security and force protections metrics. Things changed daily-I cannot imagine how a civilian organization could adjust without dedicated, well trained and focused personnel who understood the dynamics of the overall situation.

So as to the mission, Prince, et al in the management did what few organizations could accomplish. Even our military would of had a difficult time adapting to changing times on the ground with as many troopers and unlimited resources which were available.

The comments about his family and the devastating and horrific personal experiences with regard to his wife while she was undergoing cancer treatment..and the indiscretions along the way.

For those who worked contract in either Afghanistan or Iraq, this book provides and insight into the workings of a company contracted by the Federal government and at the same time viewed with great indifference within members of Congress.

Make no mistake for those who question the salaries of those who worked on conflict/war zones. No benefits, no retirement, just straight salary with the belief one was doing something good (good guys against the bad guys) and supporting our troopers.

Frankly, post Iraq was a mess and as mentioned the Bush, Cheney & Bremer trio "of who made the decision" to totally dismiss some 400,000 Iraqi soldiers who allegedly (read Fiasco by Tom Ricks) and according to their Iraqi commanders wished to support the new government post Saddam. Add to it the civilian infrastructure directly caused the country to fall apart..with some 4468 US KIA and over 30,000 WIA and at a cost nearly one billion US dollars (mostly borrowed from China).

The legacy of the war in Iraq will be with us for decades to come..

Enough said..

RH (Haiti, Bosnia, Croatia, Sudan ( 2 tours), Afghanistan, Iraq, Uganda)
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book about how a company was formed and turned into a $2 Billion powerhouse., November 27, 2013
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Excellent book. A whole bunch of questions answered as to why this company was made out to be evil by the same government that hired them and still does business with them to this day. Politics at its best. Great stories of the hero only known as a contractor.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of a tragically missed opportunity for our country, December 9, 2013
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WMB MD (Va. Beach, VA United States) - See all my reviews
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I have had the privilege of knowing Erik Prince both professionally and personally during some of the most trying periods of his life. From the first day that we met, he impressed me as a uniquely talented, truly first class individual totally dedicated to his family and his country.
He combined his superior intellect, entrepreneurial talent and heart felt patriotism into one of the most impressive companies in our country's history. One that served our country more effectively and more efficiently than the DOD could ever have envisioned. As a result, some in Washington saw him as a threat, and by lies and innuendo slowly undermined, and ultimately destroyed his dream. As a result, our country suffered the loss of one our most valuable talents.
His book clearly presents his case, which is effectively supported by numerous references from knowledgeable sources, in such a manner that even some of his most ferocious detractors may have second thoughts about what they have done to a unique individual that I consider to be a true American hero and a super patriot!
His side of the story deserves to be read before anyone speaks another word about Blackwater and it's founder!
After his book, you too may regret the day that our country declined to avail itself of his undeniable talents and unquestioned dedication to our country!
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, the BEST book I have read in years...., November 19, 2013
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This review is from: Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror (Hardcover)
Amazing, the BEST book I have read in years. Glad to see the true story of what went on in Iraq finally coming out.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Patriots, November 30, 2013
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The Blackwater organization was far ahead of its time. It is unfortunate politics tore them apart. These patriots provided valuable and much needed training and security. The US government owes all of these men and women a thank you. From one patriot to many more - thank you. While no organized security or military structured entity can ensure perfect adherence to rules of engagement Blackwater track record is as close to perfect as could have been hoped for - especially considering the operational locations and bureaucratic restraints. I can only say that if Blackwater operators were in Benghazi things mould have ended differently. That is where these politicians should be concentrating thier efforts and use professional outfits like Blackwater to safeguard out interests.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great American Patriot, December 7, 2013
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Erik Prince has served our country as a Navy Seal and an innovator .....He is a Patriot who took all the risk as a business man and was extremely successful. It is sad to see the weakness and greed in our Politicians! Thank you Mr.Prince
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Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror
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