From Publishers Weekly
Pfarrer, a former Navy SEAL assault element commander and now a Hollywood screenwriter (The Jackal; Navy SEALS; Darkman, etc.), looks back on his time in the special forces in this adrenaline rush of a memoir that grabs readers from the first page (in which he readies for his final-and nearly fatal-jump). Writing with the efficient clarity and brawn of one of the U.S. military's most special operators, Pfarrer describes the rigorous, nearly sadistic SEAL training that propelled him toward covert operations in the 1980s and early 1990s. He recounts his missions to various Cold War hotspots in Central America and the Middle East, where he patrolled Beirut's bombed-out streets as part of a multinational peacekeeping force during Lebanon's ravaging civil war. Pfarrer's somersaults through Navy service and personal challenges, including failed marriages and a bout with cancer, expose an introspective tug-of-war between disciplined combatant and human spectator, scruffy team leader and reluctant hero. Although chock full of military jargon (thankfully Pfarrar also includes a glossary of terms) and detailed descriptions of special operations, the story remains solidly human, highlighting this "Frogman's" facile combination of self-control and survival smarts in the face of adversities that most readers can only imagine.
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Had the author written his memoir in the 1980s, when he was an officer in the U.S. Navy's special-forces organization, he might have been busted to the fleet or thrown in the brig. Even now that his stories can be told, Pfarrer masks many of the names of his fellow "operators," a plain label that carries the highest cachet in the world of the SEALs. Earning and maintaining that designation is the theme that unites Pfarrer's memoir, as he relates his training, relations with comrades and superiors, and discharge. The values of the operator are crystal clear in Pfarrer's account: intolerance for mistakes and mastery of fear--with disdain for operators who can't command courage. These martial values are necessary for survival, and their enforcement by in-group psychology is amply illustrated by operations in Honduras, Beirut, and an unnamed Arab country, which are among the stories Pfarrer recounts. A must for military affairs readers, Pfarrer's recollections, allied with those of another SEAL (One Perfect Op
by Dennis Chalker, 2002), vividly portray the elite warrior's arduous, perilous calling. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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