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Killer Elite: The Inside Story of America's Most Secret Special Operations Team Paperback – March 4, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312378262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312378264
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #637,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“[An] extensively researched and crisply written exposé….An important primer for anyone hoping to understand the successes and failures of U.S. intelligence in the last 25 years.” --Publishers Weekly

"Well written and authoritatively sourced, Killer Elite is the first detailed account of a Special Operations unit that Smith regards as America's most effective."--Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Michael Smith writes on defense for the Sunday Times of London. A former member of the British Army’s Intelligence Corps, Smith covered the wars in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq and has broken a number of important stories. He is the award-winning author of numerous bestselling books, including The Emperor's Code, a true story of code-breaking during World War II. 


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Customer Reviews

Some (though by no means all) of the information in this book was interesting and even surprising.
Ryan E. Warren
After reading about 1/3 to 1/2 of the book, I just set it aside for a few days ... thinking perhaps it would get better if I took a break.
David
There are just too many other good books on this subject, my personal favorite being Eric Haney's Inside Delta Force.
Rodney

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By JMC on March 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
Smith's account of the special forces community from Desert One to Enduring Freedom offers an interesting glimpse into the byzantine workings of special operations. If you were expecting a white knuckle Clancy-esque account of operations reeking of cordite and sweat; FORGET IT.

Smith reveals that much of the work is in gathering and proper inmplementation of intelligence, through exploitation and signals gathering. There are myriad of operations recounted in this book: the killing of Pablo Escobar, SAS and Delta snatches of Serb war criminals and the current ops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Smith also covers the battles within the Penatagon, the scramble for funding and the decision makers.

The authors approach is academic and even handed, so if you expected "go-team-go" and techno-thriller action you're going to be VERY disappointed. Killer Elite is a great page turner for those of us who understand that "James Bond" movies are just that and the REAL shooters are quiet professionals.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hello on May 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A little dry at first, but overall this is a great book about a little known unit that was present at many of the events that shaped the history of our military and the world we live in.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this book shows another good idea brought forth by the military but never used to its full potential due to all the political bullcrap that always prevents units such as these from doing their job.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jesus M. Arellano on June 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you read the book by Steven Emerson Silent Warriors you have read Killer Elite. Killer Elite is a copycat of Secret Warriors except that it was written in the 21st century and Secret warriors in 1988. The book does not describe what the title states. Suppossedly Killer Elite will describe elite commnandos performing raids against terrorism instead you get a description of how an intel unit was created, managed and mismanaged. At least it tells you that people in the Pentagon are gutless and egotistical. I am given three stars beacause the work the author did after what Steven Emerson wrote. If you are looking for action you will be disappointed.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ryan E. Warren on June 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
Some (though by no means all) of the information in this book was interesting and even surprising. However, the book was poorly written (I agree with the review stating that it was heavily written) and recounted well known information that could be gathered from the newspaper as though it was exciting, new information apparently never before revealed. This felt like a very long college paper.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By W. C. Mays on October 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
Interesting subject matter and worthy of a book, but the title gives the impression that these folks breath fire and are ruthless killers. Perhaps they are, but the content does not support that view. What the book does do in an excellent fashion is describe the backbone of a military intellegence organization that works quietly and efficiently behind the scenes to collect and process the operational intelligence critically needed by the front line commanders where the rubber meets the road. Those of us who know and understand the special operations community know that the bulk of intellegence gathering is the patient and "quiet" gathering of accurate information (humint and electronic)followed by the distribution and professional analysis of that information. Most of the time, it's not the fire-breathing "killer" with a knife in his mouth who is the real hero, but the folks who watched,listened and assembled the real picture of what's going on so the guy with the knife in his mouth can do his job and come home in one piece. The book's subjects certainly are the "elite", but "Killer Elite" is a stretch. There may be more to the story than the author has shared (and that's OK in my book) but the execution of the ops described in the book is often left to others (Delta, etc.) and to me that's OK too. I'm delighted to have some insight into what these pros are doing and have done, warts and all.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sam Farris on January 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book reads like a text book. It appeared that the information came from public sources. Beyond the group name, "The Activity," I didn't learn much. Most of the events (written about in the book) like, Panama, Iran, Columbia (Pablo Escobar) and Somalia have already been written about and published in other (much better) books. Vague, boring, tedious waste of time. I will avoid any future writings by this author.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Rhodes on November 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have not finished reading this book yet, but it is for the people that want to be educated on the roots of the very special ops community. if you are looking for a blood guts and gore read, then you don't need to get this book. if you are looking to hear of the hardships these units go through and the paperwork our government makes them file in triplicate only to get lost along the way, just to go and complete a mission that shouldn't need more than an instant green light then this is a pretty good read. has everything from iran, beirut, and panama in the 80's up to present day missions. I am thoughroughly enjoying this book so far. and i'm sure anyone who appreciates gaining insight into things the general public are not entitled to know at the time of their going ons to give them a general idea of what might be going on behind the scenes today will enjoy it as well.
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