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Trigger Men: Shadow Team, Spider-Man, the Magnificent Bastards, and the American Combat Sniper Hardcover – March 18, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0312354565 ISBN-10: 0312354568 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (March 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312354568
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312354565
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,043,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Halberstadt (Roughneck Nine-One), a prolific chronicler of the U.S. military, pulls no punches in this uncompromising examination of the shadowy world of the combat sniper. Halberstadt warns forthrightly that this is a book about "the business of hunting people . . . and killing them in a calculated, methodical way" and "requires brave readers." Drawing on the observations of thirty military snipers and his own time shadowing Army Sniper Class 2006-3 through five weeks of grueling training, the author methodically surveys the training, weapons, traditions, and missions of modern military snipers. There is ample technical information about the snipers' primary weapons-the M24 and M40 sniper rifles-and the vagaries of engaging long-range targets-referred to as voodoo ballistics by practitioners. There also is an insightful analysis-with first-person commentary from veterans of Iraq-of the changing role of the sniper on the modern urban battlefield. No longer the "unloved stepchild," today's sniper is a major part of the new battle space and is responsible for a disproportionate number of enemy casualties. As Halberstadt warns, this book is not for the squeamish, but for those looking for a thorough primer on the role of the military sniper in today's counterinsurgency missions, this is a solid introduction.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"A chilling look inside what a sniper's effect has on both friend and foe. Straightforward and insightful.”--Jack Coughlin, Gunnery Sergeant, USMC (Ret.), and New York Times bestselling author of SHOOTER


"A gritty inside look at a Special Forces team at work." --Publishers Weekly

"A rare glimpse into the inner workings of a Special Forces A-team...A true story that is easy to read and hard to put down." --Army Magazine

 “A gripping account…A notable contribution to the literature on both the Iraq war and the capabilities of special-ops units.” --Booklist

“A terrific inside look at a Special Forces A-Team at war.” –Sean Naylor, author of Not a Good Day to Die

 “ROUGHNECK NINE ONE takes you behind the scenes into the struggles, complications, preparation, training, and turf issues faced by our most elite forces as they go into battle.” --Col. Gerald Schumacher, US Army Special Forces (Retired), author of TO BE A US ARMY GREEN BERET

 “A powerful no-holds barred, first-hand account of actual ground combat in Iraq. ROUGHNECK NINE ONE most definitely captures the professionalism, comradeship, self-sacrifice, and courage that define the heart and soul of America’s finest warriors---US Army Special Forces. A must-read book!” --Col. Tom Yarborough, USAF, author of DA NANG DIARY

More About the Author

New Book About to Hit the Street: US NAVY SEALS
My "author copies" of the new edition of US NAVY SEALS just showed up last week and that's a pretty good sign that it will soon show up here on Amazon and in the bookstores. This seems to be my 66th book, although it gets hard to count when revisions and second editions are considered. Part of it includes a discussion of the story behind the story of the Osama bin Laden mission, written with a little help from several friends in the SOF community but including some educated guesses. At the time, the mainstream news media were dishing out the usual BS about it all, based on misleading information from the WARCOM public affairs shop. But a lot has changed in the Naval Special Warfare community since my first book on the subject and it was time for an update. If you read it and have comments -- good or bad -- drop me a line, but be sure to sign your real name, please, because I will answer your note no matter what it says.

People often ask how I became a writer and generally assume that anybody who has written a lot of military books must have a passion for the process. The awful truth is that I was a poor student in high school English classes and became a writer entirely by accident. The accident was a happy one, though, and I love writing about the men and women of our modern armed forces. I really learned to write while in the Army when I corresponded with several very pretty girls. Writing those letters without an English teacher poised to pounce on every error became fun, and it paid off, too -- I am still friends with a couple of them many years later.

My training is in documentary film, a discipline that requires a lot of writing and a good ear for conversational speech. My first books resulted from documentary film productions, the first on stained glass (STAINED GLASS -- MUSIC FOR THE EYE, with Bob and Jill Hill). The book was Bob's idea and was a huge success thanks to a sweet review in Newsweek magazine. A public relations film for Exxon led to a chance meeting with Capt. James Shanower, a US Coast Guard officer who invited me to spend some time on his ship, the Morgenthau. That experience accidentally resulted in my first solo book, USCG -- ALWAYS READY, for Presidio Press, published in 1984.

Well, it was all downhill from there -- next, a book about the Army's Airborne, then another on Green Berets. "Let me do one on Army aviation!" I begged Richard Kane at Presidio Press. "Please!" He tossed me a contract for that one, then another for a book about tanks. I was hooked! Pretty soon I was neglecting my film projects and writing books instead. I thought I could quit any time and get back to honest work, but I couldn't help myself. One book followed another. I tried a twelve-step program for people who write too much, but they threw me out when the leader discovered I was taking notes for a book about it all.

In case it matters, I have lived in California most of my life, am married to a gorgeous babe named Miss April, and have lived in the same neighborhood for thirty-five years. I belong to a few organizations -- E Clampus Vitus, the UDT/SEAL Association, Association of the US Army (Life), and Author's Guild. I am working on a book about brothels and bordellos, but that's another story from Your Faithful Scribe, Hans Halberstadt.

Customer Reviews

Very good and informative read.
Russell Stein
There are a whole handfull of books on store shelves about us.
James M. McGlynn
It has quite a few grammatical errors.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Rick Shaq Goldstein on March 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A sniper's preferred method of killing people is when they are not expecting to be killed. "This is the story of the ways people are selected and slain, sometimes at long range, sometimes at very close quarters, by soldiers who are, in effect, invisible to their targets. This is the story of the art and science of precision long-range marksmanship and the effect of a bullet on the human body. It is about ambush, battle, mayhem, slaughter, winning, losing, living, dying, and war." "The sniper community is incredibly tiny; add up all snipers from the Marines, the U.S. Army, the SEALs, and the Rangers who are behind a gun in a combat zone at any one minute, and they will add up to about a few hundred men and no women." "Add up the kills these snipers make and compare them to the results of infantry battalions and brigades and divisions, and you'll find that many of them individually make more kills than entire battalions or brigades operating at the same time in the same area."

I am a Viet Nam era veteran and I find the study of the changing landscape of battle since the time I served extremely interesting. I believe the biggest change is in the evolution of the "SNIPER". One of the most powerful components this book provides is detailed reporting of not only the role "sniper/scouts" play in the current war in the Middle East, but also their prior roles in Viet Nam and even Panama. (Operation Just Cause). The United States has absorbed a hard earned education. Whereas in the past, a couple of snipers or marksman would accompany a battalion and all their armored equipment, now in today's urban, building to building fighting, the battalion and armored vehicles support the sniper teams.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dalton Fury on March 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book couldn't have been written before the tragic events of 9/11. Not because snipers on the battlefield are a new weapon of war but rather how snipers have reshaped and marketed themselves as much more than a "one shot, one kill" asset. In fact, as Hans Halberstadt makes perfectly clear with exceptionally thorough and smooth writing, snipers in the war on terror seldom leave the comfort of their firebase with a single shot and scoot mentality. The numerous fascinating vignettes of real 21st century snipers, using both Vietnam era rifles or today's most advanced weaponry, are a lesson in true courage, deadly skill, and rifle scope face-to-face reality of executioner within the limits of a sometimes shifting combat rules of engagement. And although Hans leaves little to the imagination, and does without apology, the subtle but inarguable lesson is that the snipers' work has evolved. Iraq presents an urban jungle of high angles, dilapidated structures and stairwells, and narrow dark alleys spaghettied with low hanging high power lines. And although the sniper seeks secreted points of domination to overwatch a specific area for insurgent activity, it still requires a gutsy commander to approve the operation. Hans tells us how it took awhile, sometimes years actually, for many peacetime commanders to finally realize that a risk averse mindset actually led to more casualties of their own as IEDs were planted with impunity, insurgents established armed checkpoints, or ambushed passer bys at will. Hans tells us how snipers in Iraq were initially misunderstood, not employed with any imagination, and kept on a close leash for fear a sniper team might be overrun.Read more ›
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Mast on March 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In the spirit of full disclosure, I've known Hans Halberstadt for nearly 20 years. He and I worked on a couple of books together and I followed his progress as he put this book together over the past two years. When I got my advance copy of the book I was, even after all the hours of discussion with Hans about the content, thoroughly engaged by the stories inside "Trigger Men". In particular, the stories from Iraq drive home the point that the ancient craft of sniping is rapidly adapting to the dynamics of a new type of war.

Hans strips away the delicate Pentagonese that is often used to describe a sniper's job, the sanitary euphemisms that cloak the brutally efficient task of killing people, one bullet at a time. This is not a glorification of murder but an honest account of what happens when a country asks men (and sometimes women) to take up the difficult and isolated task of eliminating specific targets with a well aimed rifle shot.

I can recommend this thought provoking book on several levels but I found it most interesting as an oral history of a topic that is not often covered.

[This review was edited to correct spelling errors]
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James M. McGlynn on March 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
My name is James "Rock" McGlynn. I was a Marine Scout/Sniper and I fought in Beirut Lebanon in 1983. Hans Halberstadt was gracious enough to interview me for this book and I think this book has the ability to give it's readers a much better understanding of what it means to be a "Sniper" on the modern battlefeild.
There are a whole handfull of books on store shelves about us.I have been written about in a few of them. Yet, "Trigger Men" will give you a view that not many of you have ever witnessed before. The art and the craft of being a Sniper has evolved into a new era. The Battles we are fighting in the Middleast and the urban settings in which those battles are taking place, have forced the modern day Sniper to adapt and overcome many obstacles that previous generations did not have to deal with.
This book tells the actual stories from those of us that have been there. I strongly reccomend this book to you. It is written well and it's told without being filtered. You get the realism that others may have lacked. Not because other books are not truthful but, because Hans has written it without being apologetic or fearful of offending.
Combat is the most Barbaric event that man can partake in but, killing the enemy is what it's all about. Snipers' kill with accuracy that our enemies have never seen before. "Trigger Men" will bring it home to you.
Thanks, Hans for writting a great book and I am honored to have been included in it.
Semper Fi
Rock McGlynn
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