47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2011
As a retired Army Special Forces operator I've read and continue to enjoy reading books from the other Services' special operations forces. I'd read "SEAL Target Geronimo" several weeks ago and had, frankly, sworn I'd not read another SEAL authored book for some time to come given how poorly it was written and how, IMHO, misguided the former ST6 author was to have written it at all.
I discovered Don Mann's book while changing planes on a recent trip and on a hunch bought it.
Don and his co-author offer a great story and an intense read. There's something for everyone in this book and more than a few highly personal / motivational insights and "lessons learned". Don's good-natured (mostly) digs at us "Green Berets" reminded me of all the equally good-natured (mostly) shots we enjoyed and still enjoy taking at our SEAL brothers. His hard-earned and totally objective view of how we in Special Operations view the loss of our teammates in training brought back a few memories and reminders, as well.
I was surprised the author team did not simply provide the Navy's reviewers with material showing that much of what is redacted (to a distracting degree while reading the book) was and is previously available in the public and should have been left in the book. This takes a little time to research and compile but letting the reviewers get nearly everything they wanted was absurd, especially toward the ending. If not completely clean for publication I'd like to have seen Don and Mr. Pezzullo rewrite the objected to material in such a way it would have conveyed what the author wanted to convey without necessarily compromise.
It the "black bars of secrecy" were left in for some form of spooky effect they, IMHO, failed to do more than cause the chapters affected to lose their otherwise tenor, tone, and high energy pace. Please don't do this again!
Most of all this, to me, helped in a positive way to blunt the earlier book mentioned. Chief Mann was clearly a monster on the midway, a dedicated warrior and SEAL operator with a lifetime of credentials and experiences, and a man whose own story and stories about others can and will inspire people from all walks of life.
For a SEAL Don didn't do too bad with his first literary effort :) I hope there is more to come.
De Oppresso Liber!
60 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2011
A word of warning, whole sections of this book, including chapter titles and in some cases whole pages, have been redacted. While I understand the preface at the beginning provides a reasoning, it severely hurt my ability to read, follow, and most importantly enjoy Mr. Mann's work. On top of that, obvious things, like the name "Delta" or " Nightstalkers 160th S.O.A.R." have been blacked out. These are things that seem to almost be common knowledge. While there are some entertaining personal anecdotes of Mr. Mann's youth and stories of training missions (the chapter about selection into ST-6 is mostly blacked out), don't pick up this book hoping for a nuts and bolts detailed description of DEVGRU or the SEALs.
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2011
Having served with and supported NSW since the early 80's, and done some ops with the subject of this book, I understand security. But the redacting in this book makes it unreadable. Entire chapters are redacted, and are useless. I would have rather they just left the subject out and made what was there coherent. Changed operators names, dates, etc to make the book readable.
Don't waste your money, it's not worth it.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2012
I attempted to listen to this book in the audio CD version. I have never, ever heard so many words and terms, even those that would seem to be benign "bleeped out". It makes listening almost impossible - and certainly very undesirable to listen to. If you are going to write a book like this, make sure its readable (or listenable). If too much of this material is too classified to write about - don't. My criticism of this book is in no way a reflection on my incredible admiration and respect for all our military men and women. This was the most frustrating book of this topic I have ever attempted to listen to. I can only hope the written version was more acceptable to the readers!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2011
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Guy, Bad Book, December 31, 2011
By David Younger (Birmingham, MI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Inside SEAL Team Six: My Life and Missions with America's Elite Warriors (Hardcover)
Don Mann deserves our respect for serving our country and being a great SEAL, and I'm sure Don Mann is a good guy, and has what it takes to be at the tip of the spear.
That being said, this book was about the long distance races Don Mann trained for and participated in. There was very little Seal Team missions or training, and even less SEAL Team Six information. 90% of this book is about Don Manns personal life, how he grew up, and how he trained for extreme long distance races. There were some brief missions but it seemed like he just threw those in to pacify the reader so he could hurry and get back to talking about extreme racing, and what happened outside of the service.
The most annoying parts of this book are the long periods of information that have to be blacked out for so called classified reasons. That is a bunch of crap. For instance, the name of a operator in the Black Hawk Down operation was blacked out and everyone knows he was a Delta operator who now lives in Texas. There are many others also. I blame most of this on the editor. They could have cut down on the blacking out of information by calling sensitive information by a generic name, or just the country it took place in and not the Op name. Most of this information is public knowlage. I don't know why a writer or editor would put a reader through this. Whatever the reason, it is frustrating and annoying.
I'm sure Mr. Mann has a lot of inside SEAL Team Six information, and interesting missions he could talk about. But you wont find it in this book. I give this book two stars just because Don Mann is a SEAL and deserves our respect for that.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2011
I'm pleased to say I have met Don Mann twice. Once at Primal Quest Utah, and again at Primal Quest Montana. I know him as the guy who heads up the toughest adventure races I've ever covered as a journalist. I'd heard he'd been a Navy SEAL, and that was interesting, but not the reason for our relationship. He answered my questions about whether adventure racing teams would climb Utah's sandstone spires in electrical storms (they would not), or whether he thought the Crazy Mountains in Montana were aptly named (he said they were). He was the guy I interviewed when I wrote about Primal Quest.
So to read this new book, "Inside SEAL Team Six," brought for me revelation after revelation about Don Mann, especially about his personal life. And my respect for him has quadrupled.
There's a co-author on this book, Ralph Pezzullo. I don't know how much of the wordsmithing was done by Mann vs Pezzullo, and honestly, I don't care. The pace is brisk, the subject matter fascinating, and the ending satisfactory. I feel more informed about SEALs, but especially about the mindset required to be one, having read this book.
Throughout the book there is blacked-out text, or "redactions" of classified material. I found that if I paid close attention, the paragraphs that followed usually revealed what the Department of Defense wanted removed. That was not the case in the book's final chapter, titled "ST-6 Today," where the black marks were used to keep secret details of how ST-6 took down Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan. I imagine that resourceful readers already know more about the raid than the DOD blacked out of Mann's manuscript.
Any momentum lost by black marks in that final chapter is more than made up for in the touching epilogue, where Mann writes about a visit to his hometown of Methuen, Mass. It is my favorite part of the book. In these final pages, Mann humbly shows instead of tells how a local boy can make good in the big wide world, and it's a true story. Hollywood tries to write this kind of plot every day and often falls short. Don Mann is no Hollywood production. He is flesh and blood. His character development is real, not fake. And I'm proud to say I read his book.
- Mike B.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2012
I love, adore, and appreciate our military so it's always disappointing to come across bad reads.
I can't help but feel this guy is simply taking advantage of the popularity and curiosity of today's SEAL Teams for a profit. I was really bored w/his escapades as a punk growing up. It definitely was a Me, Me, Me book. The guy was all over the map w/his stories, I felt like I was reading someone's notes that were written down on a napkin later to be added to a book in process. I admit at a certain point I converted to skim reading.
I certainly hope our military medics have found a way to move past Goat medicine.
If you enjoy reading about an adrelin junkie that is extremely disappointed he was on ST6 at the wrong time in history then this book is for you. I wonder what other SEAL's think of this book?
I will give Mr. Mann credit in that he did seem to have a thirst for learning. I realize it's a book and the telling of his story, but this book does not have the humble feeling that I get when I read other military books/stories. House to House comes to mind. An amazing story about one individual but told w/humility. It was genuine, in SEAL Team Six I didn't feel the authenticity or anything genuine. I also felt like it lacked the love of country and patriotism that I have found w/some authors that have served. I am not saying Mann isn't a patriot, just saying his book lacked that aspect.
And yes, all the black out pages were annoying. I can't help but think it was done on purpose to make his story seem more than it is. It makes for being important. I am a civilian and could figure out certain references that were in the dark. In today's age of the internet and loose lips I doubt there was a single thing that had to be kept classified in that book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2013
First off, I need to let you know that I am XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. That has never stopped me though, and I often find myself on Amazon looking for a good XXXXXXXXXX despite what the Police and my Pastor say. This book, is by far and away the XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, take my word for it. I XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX - Can you believe it!
This is what the entire book is like. Good luck guessing what was redacted while reading. So frustrating. Hey DON - how about leaving in the redaction's, followed by an acceptable version of what was blacked out. You have no idea how frustrating this is for the readers, because you know what is missing from the story, and dont see the holes we fall into. We are left with only one option and that is to XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. I mean, what else can we do?
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2011
I'll admit something in line one, I know Don Mann and it was my p to to serve with him at privilege to serve with him at the Naval Special Warfare Development Unit (DEVGRU). Don has seen things and done things few people can even imagine--and has served his country in the shadow places of the world. Inside SEAL Team Six takes readers on a rare inside view of the Team that took out Osama bin Laden, and gives us a picture of how arduous that service is. Don Details some of the missions he has participated in,-- and they are amazing. His clear, clipped prose puts you on the line with the shooters at Six . Don's book is a tribute to the operators who daily put their lives on the line for the country that they love. Highly recommended for its no BS depiction of the life of an operator.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2011
The book starts with a note from the publisher, "'Inside Seal Team Six' contains redactions of classified material as required by three U.S. agencies. We have left the redactions in place rather than deleting the challenged material, so readers will understand that Don Mann's experience and knowledge go even further than he is permitted to report due to requirements of the U.S. government."
This book is a complete waste of time, every page is filled with sentences and paragraphs completely blacked out due to redactions. It makes the book hard to read and it is very distracting. As an experienced member of Seal Team 6, I think readers would've have fully understood how experienced and knowledgeable the author is in his field without needing to keep these redactions in place. I would have preferred the material be deleted and the book re-edited to show that the author couldn't include sensitive details.
This really speaks of lazy editing and it is very frustrating. Wish I had not bought this book in a digital version, otherwise I would be taking it back for a refund.
I've read plenty of other books by former members of the Navy Seals and Seal Team 6 (Dick Couch, Howard Wasdin, Chuck Pfarrer) and was able to enjoy those books thoroughly even while knowing that names and details may have been changed because of classified material. This book is awful, don't waste your money!