Customer Reviews: Down Range: Navy SEALs in the War on Terrorism
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on September 6, 2005
I bought this book hoping to learn something new about Seals and their missions. What I ended up reading was a cheerleading manual on Seals and SOF in general. I will call that the "rah-rah-rah" factor. There was lots of "they (SOF,USMC,CCTs) are our brothers", "they are real professionals", "we are proud to work with them", and "we'd go to war with them anytime". I even caught a mistake: MOPP (military protective chemical suit) stands for Mission-Oriented Protective Posture. The author gave the wrong info for the acronym. I expect the author to have his facts straight. As usual I recommend the following books: C. Pfarrer's Warrior Soul, E. Haney's Delta Force, Walker's At the Hurricane's Eye, Orr's series on Navy Seals (I think there are 2 worth reading, but don't get the most recent one with all the interviews--uhhh), and Waller's The Commandos. I guess if you are new to the subject of Seals and other SOF this book is ok, but otherwise save yourself the money and get more in-depth info from the above books I mentioned.
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on January 3, 2006
With the experience and access of Dick Couch that is touted on the inside flap, I expected something more than what I got. This is a very "novelly" non-fiction book that is light on new or original information, and heavy on the compliments.

SEALs, some of our best and bravest, have withstood some pretty intense criticism as to thier performance in Afghanistan and Iraq - I was particularly interested in getting some insight on that topic - none to be found.

There have been few quality books written on the conflict - mostly due to the covert nature of many of the units currently involved - but you cannot help but notice the sense of inter-service jockeying in the books that have come out. Roberts Ridge, and Down Range both paint glimmering portraits of the SEALS, while "Not a Good Day to Die" really skewers them. In my review of "Not a Good Day.." I point out that Naylor is a writer for the Army times; and mention that there may be some alterior motives for slamming the DEVGRU/SEAL performance in Anaconda, but after reading this and other books, I think his work is superior, and far less biased.
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on September 23, 2005
When I saw a book covering the exploits of Navy SEALs in Iraqi I thought it was far too soon for anything interesting to be declassified. I was very right. Mr Couch's book probably does the best job possible without offending Navy censors, but that still makes for a boring book. Less than 10 operations are covered, and even then many of the details were left out. The rest of the book is filler with information about training and command structures. Maybe in 10+ years Mr Couch will be able to write a more interesting book about Mid East SEAL operations when the information is released to the public.
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on August 30, 2005
Having read Linda Robinson's MASTERS OF CHAOS, I was thinking this book would be more along those lines. The author clearly has the inside knowledge and credibility necessary to write, but I found it bogged down in too many of his rememberances or references to his other books. While the stories of individual missions are interesting, there is little depth. It seems to rely on individual accounts of events, instead of meshing them into more of a cohesive story. That may just be my personal preference, but it's the reason I didn't like this book.
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on June 21, 2007
Well, I picked up this book because I thought, "Sweet. SEALs, middle east, covert ops, what's not to love??" Well the book was more like a documentary or briefing most of the time. It focuses far too much on the development of a SEAL and their organization. If I wanted to read about that, I would've picked up a book about the making of a Navy SEAL. I was disappointed. The story really only had a few exciting parts and those tended to come towards the end of the book. Let's put it this way, he spends around ten pages telling what should've been an exciting mission aboard a ship, only to tell us that the men on board were not dumb enough to carry weapons. Hmph. If you are looking for enemy contact, look elsewhere.
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on September 16, 2005
Dick seems to be living off his reputation from Warrior Elite. That book was tightly written, well edited, and felt like it came from the heart. This book, like his sequal to Warrior Elite, seems like a bit of a rush job. The topic is certainly interesting and relevant, but the writing lacks depth and color. The wording tends to be repetive and while most stories are entertaining, I didn't feel the same level of emotion from the author as W-E. This is not to take anything against the men on the front-line that put their lives on the line for us. The book just doesn' quite do their work justice. It could have used better editing as it reads more like a good rough draft. I would have rated the book lower then 3 stars if it was just on the writing, but I notched it up for the story line.
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on May 18, 2007
Like some of the other reviewers here have commented, based on the background of the author and the notes on the book's cover, I was expecting a much more exciting read. The reality, however, is that Couch hides behind the excuse of "classified details" for most of this work. The early pages are all extremely redundant if you have ever read anything at all about the SEALs; there is nothing new there. And much of the mission details are very sparse and vague. I do "get" that the very nature of the work these men do requires secrecy, but I always feel a little taken when a book promises to divulge some of this information and then ultimately fails to do so. Couch hints more than once at a seething tension between the different service branches by taking every opportunity to make sure many pats on the back are handed out all around. It starts to feel very plastic and forced after a while. Overall I would not recommend this book to anyone who has done much reading in this genre. Frankly it's just boring, light on operational nitty-gritty, and way too easy to read. It took me about 4 hours to read cover to cover, and for $15 for the paperback I feel a little ripped-off. It's an okay way to get an overview for what these incredible men do for our country, but a waste of time for anyone who has a few books under their belt. I won't be reading any of Couch's other works based on this piece.
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on September 12, 2005
While I have respect for Couch and his first excellent book on BUDS,the latest book "Down Range : Navy SEALs in the War on Terrorism" is full of filler and continues to recycle material from his last 2 books. "Down Range : Navy SEALs..." and has little in the way of action or anything new and interesting - save your money.

I still recommend Couch's excellent first book, "The Warrior Elite : The Forging of Seal Class 228" as well as a new book by Reid "Suffer in Silence" a novel about BUDs (has it's flaws, but is gripping unlike the latest Couch book).
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on September 24, 2005
Mr. Couch has written yet another great book with "Down Range." As a former SeAL with service in Vietnam, Mr. Couch is in the unique position of having experienced much of what the current generation of SeALs have gone through. Because of this, many of the SeALs interviewed were more open with Mr. Couch than they would be talking to someone without his background.

While "Down Range" only covers 10 operations, it is important to remember that much of what SeALs do is classified for one reason or another. Mr. Couch provides a snapshot of SeAL operations in the ongoing Global War on Terrorism. This book follows in the footsteps of the authors previous books, including "The Warrior Elite" and "The Finishing School."

The gripping first-hand accounts of action in Iraq and Afghanistan make for a must read. Mr. Couch has created an intimate narrative that, while not quite as good as Erich Remarque or Eugene Sledge's masterpieces, paints a very vivid picture of what our special warriors are going through.
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on February 13, 2007
Down Range reads like a Pentagon de-brief, with little action. Couch, a former SEAL with extensive street cred (mainly Viet Nam) is a terrific writer and even gives over-due credit to the Air Force Combat Controllers, who are often overshadowed by SEALs and Green Berets. This book is detailed, but with the wrong details. I'd much rather read about the men on the tip of the spear, the real war fighters with guns in the fight, than the brass back at HQ calling the shots. Problem is, many of the brass are Couch's personal friends or former students.

The Warrior Elite is a great book, this is just good.
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