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on November 25, 2011
I read a lot of history books, and I find they tend to fall into two general categories -- a) those that are years in the writing, scholarly, exhaustively researched, extensively footnoted and annotated, and b) those that make history come alive. This book is clearly in the latter category. If you want to know what it's like to train to be a SEAL and to participate in a mission, this is that book. The author -- who was a Navy SEAL and for years has been involved in training Navy SEALs here and in Afghanistan and Iraq -- writes so descriptively, you'll feel the heat of the weapon in your hands, experience the jolt to your foot as you kick down the door in the Abbottabad compound and smell the musty air of Bin Laden's bedroom when you burst in.

What I didn't expect, and the book delivered, were chapters that put the mission in context -- including the geopolitical context going back decades, and the preparation for this particular mission through the context of the last several decades of SEAL missions. One element I particularly appreciated in the book was the section that gave a background to what made Bin Laden Bin Laden. It's popular to think that he sprung up from nowhere as a fully formed monster. But many factors made him the man he was who did the things he did. Chuck writes so vividly -- well, you don't exactly sympathize with Bin Laden -- but you do have an idea what it would have been like to BE him. That accomplishment takes a special and rare kind of historian and, I think, represents the main value of this book. A value that will stand even decades from now when the mission is declassified and someone has the extensive time and many research assistants it will take to write the fully annotated, exhaustively researched definitive account of the killing of Bin Laden. Perhaps Chuck will be that person. Perhaps it will be someone else. Perhaps, as is usually the case, it will take several books for the reader to be able to get "the full story".

I do want to address the negative reviewers -- not the one-star troll flamers who have never reviewed on Amazon before this and clearly have never read this book -- but the people who bought the book and thought it wasn't "extensive" enough. You do know the years and years of work that goes into those sorts of books? I doubt we'll ever have a more definitive book on Seabiscuit than Laura Hillenbrand's or a more multi-leveled biography of Kit Carson and his impact on the American West than Hampton Sides', but it took both of those authors nearly a decade to research and write each of their books. They also had the advantage of being able to stand on others' shoulders as they had access to a wealth of history, research, newspaper and contemporary accounts of their subjects and the gift of distance to put it all into perspective.

Chuck's book is first out of the gate and, it does have the advantage of his first-hand research -- both in his role as a contractor involved with the training of SEALs, his former service as a member of the elite SEAL Team Six and his primary research here and in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, not only did he not have Hillenbrand or Side's luxury of time for research, he was dealing with a subject for which many details are classified and necessitated that, even if he was privy to some of those details, he omit or obscure them for security's sake. It's a huge burden on a historian, but, as I contend, when the exhaustively researched, annotated account of the Bin Laden mission comes out, this book will still stand -- as a visceral description of how the mission went down.
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on November 18, 2011
I find it strange how many of the reviewers who gave this read one star have never reviewed a single product on Amazon before! I sense a political desire to discredit the author and the truth because his account does not jive with the official "White House" account of what happened. I do know this, I read the book as I have read just about every book written on the Navy SEAL's, and I found it informative, exciting and more plausible than the "official" account of a "45 minute raid" and certainly more believable considering the author. My only reason for not giving it five stars is that it seems there was a rush to get this to print and the result was a few typos.
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on January 28, 2012
Chuck Pfarrer's SEAL Target Geronimo covers the length and breadth of the history of this mission. He explains the history of the SEAL Teams and what it takes to become a member of the elite force. His insight into the political machinations of the military, FBI, CIA and other government agencies as the web of intelligence tangles and twists is gut wrenching. No amount of news monitoring gave me the true story of what happened behind the scenes the way Pfarrer did as he described the domestic and foreign players in terrorist attacks from Lebanon to the US.
Bin Laden's evolution from a spoiled rich child to the most wanted terrorist in the world unfolds in vivid detail in these pages. Pfarrer answers the big questions "Why?" and "How?" He names the major players in the terror trade and tells us how America became the epicenter for attacks.
As a retired Navy SEAL, Pfarrer possesses the knowledge and experience to draw an accurate picture of the operators who brought down Bin Laden. The reader gets an intimate look into the training, personalities and strength of the men who risk their lives every day. SEALs have been lauded in the news recently with the killing of Bin Laden and the rescue from the Somali pirates but their covert missions are rarely in the press. Pfarrer brings to light the mind boggling skills and determination possessed by these heroic men. SEAL Target Geronimo is a vital piece of history vibrantly brought to life by Chuck Pfarrer and I highly recommend it.
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on November 27, 2011
This book is phenomenal and it makes sense. The official story from the White House changed multiple times, as if they were trying to make it "fit." Anyone who thinks OBL was sitting in his room as SEALS fought for around a half hour in a quiet neighborhood, then reached for his weapon and hid behind his wife, are not using common sense. He would have been fighting or prepared to fight and likely in a different location. Honestly, does the official story make ANY SENSE? It is obvious the SEALS surprised Bin Ladin, as this author asserts. Dropped on the roof and OBL dead in less than 2 minutes? OK, that makes sense!

Additionally, the personal attack on him and the comments from the White House are suspicious. If he were a "crack pot" or clueless, they would leave it alone. He simply isn't a "pawn." This is the only book officals have commented on, likely because it is correct and thus dangerous.

This guy is/was well connected and highly respected. In the spirit of "full disclosure," I had read a previous book by him called Warrior Soul. Once while on a plane and reading it, a former SEAL was sitting next to me. He told me Chuck Pfarrer was a legend. Legends are typically well connected.

The books is a terrific "read" and common sense dictates, the most accurate account.
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on December 27, 2011
Chuck Pfarrer and I were at OCS in Newport, RI together (Class 81001, Mike Co., 2nd Platoon) and I knew him well. I have never met a better leader and I would trust him completely. While I was not a SEAL and what I know of the SEALs is all from public sources, those things in the book about which I do have knowledge are correct. He recounts private discussions between the CO of SEAL Team Six and the commander of JSOC, which indicates that he either has incredible sources or is a complete liar. That being said, I would trust him before I would trust the current government.
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on December 14, 2011
The timeline thread is well researched and entertaining to follow from the beginning to eventual demise of this enigmatic and ruthless killer, Osama bin Laden.

Chuck Pfarrer has a writting style that, along with educating, proffers entertaining prose that is quite hard to put down; litterally grabbing your interest by the neck. Not your ordinary retelling of an event in history, but a great story as it unfolds through time.
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on December 3, 2011
A very powerful account of what actually happened! Couldn't put it down. It was also interesting to read about the Navy SEAL training and some of the missions that they have been involved in. If you liked this book you must also read the best-selling autobiography, Warrior Soul, The Memoir of a former U.S. Navy SEAL by Chuck Pfarrer!
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on November 27, 2011
SEAL Target Geronimo is a compelling recount of the night that Osama Bin Laden was killed by a group of Navy SEALS. Chuck Pfarrer does an amazing job of introducing the reader to the world of SEALS and then takes the reader on a journey through the sequence of events that led to the demise of the world's most reknown terrorist. It is a book that provides a unique blend of the author's person experience with the hard facts and critical steps of what has become our country's 10 year search for redemption. SEAL Target Geronimo is a "must read" for anyone who wants to know the truth about this incredible man hunt actually organized, planned and (with no pun intended) executed. If you want to know the facts behind 'the story', read SEAL Target Geronimo.
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on October 6, 2012
These two accounts of Bin Laden courier Ahmed al-Kuwaiti's death cannot both be true:

Pfarrer:
Stealth Hawk helicopter Razor 2 flies over the compound yard. Al-Kuwaiti and his wife appears in the lit doorway of the guest house. Al Kuwaiti fires his AK-47. From the helicopter doorway, Master Chief Mel Hoyle (of the Maersk Alabama rescue), and a second sniper fire down on al-Kuwaiti. "In the doorway, al-Kuwaiti was blown off his feet. His AK-47 spun in a half circle up and out of his hands. Two of the bullets passed though his chest and killed the person standing next to him. It was his wife".

Owen:
Stealth Hawk Chalk 1, carrying Owen's team, crashes in the compound. The team escapes from the helicopter, breaches the compound's inner gate, and assaults the guest house where al-Kuwaiti is waiting. Al-Kuwaiti fires from behind the guest house door. Owen and an Arabic-speaking team member return fire. Shortly, al-Kuwaiti's wife emerges from the guest house carrying a baby. "He is dead," she said in Arabic. "You shot him. He is dead. You killed him."

According to various Pakistan news media, the Pakistan Inquiry Commission on the Abbottabad Operation
interviewed the wife of Abu Ahmed Al-Kuwaiti, who is therefore alive, obviously.

Since al-Kuwaiti's wife is alive, Pfarrer's version cannot be correct.
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on December 14, 2011
This book was ordered as a gift and was very much appreciated. Excellent reading. Was read by another party but I was well informed as he enjoyed the book that he would share sentences, experiences and thoughts through out the book
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