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Warrior Soul: The Memoir of a Navy Seal Mass Market Paperback – December 28, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

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 Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press (December 28, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891418636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891418634
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (224 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Philip Nolan is Chuck Pfarrer's captivating adaptation of the classic short story "The Man Without a Country", first printed in the Atlantic Magazine more than a hundred years ago. Masterfully blending history and fiction, Pfarrer tells the story of a young artillery officer, Phillip Nolan, who becomes embroiled in Aaron Burr's 1807 conspiracy to invade the territories of the Louisiana Purchase. Insinuating that his plot has official approval, Burr convinces Nolan to carry a coded message into the Orleans Territory. Nolan has no idea that the former vice-president intends to set himself up as a dictator-- and Burr has no idea that his scheme has been discovered. Burr is soon arrested and Philip Nolan is taken into military custody, charged as an accessory to the plot.

The nation holds its breath as Burr is put on trial for attempting to dismember the union. The charges against Burr seem ironclad, but his lawyers are able; to the outrage of all, Burr is acquitted. An embarrassed prosecution looks for a scapegoat. The charges against Nolan are expanded to include desertion and treason-- capital offenses. Learning that his own court martial will proceed, even though Burr has walked free, Nolan furiously denounces his accusers, damns his country, and tells the court he wishes never again to hear the words "United States" as long as he lives. Nolan's fateful words stun the court. The judges return with an ominous verdict: the prisoner's wish will be granted. Nolan is sentenced to banishment aboard a series of US warships. While imprisoned, he will never hear news from, or be allowed to speak of his country-- ever again.

Shuttled from ship to ship, first to the Atlantic, then the Pacific, Nolan comes to realize that his sentence is indefinite. Years pass-- America's first secret prisoner discovers that he has become a stateless person, estranged from his keepers and forgotten by his country. Decades after his trial, Nolan is passed aboard an American frigate in the Mediterranean. There, he comes into the custody of a newly commissioned lieutenant, Frank Curran. It falls to Curran to carry out the stringent conditions of Nolan's confinement-- forcing both into the tense relationship of prisoner and captor. When Barbary pirates capture an American whaleship, the pair finds themselves drawn into a complex web of international deceit and mortal danger. As a desperate rescue mission is launched, Nolan teaches the young officer a poignant lesson about duty, loyalty and the meaning of patriotism.

Phillip Nolan is equal parts adventure, naval history and morality tale. Brilliantly evoking the age of sail, Pfarrer brings alive convincing details of that courageous and sometimes brutal world. More than broadsides and small boat actions, Philip Nolan is a clear-eyed examination of the human condition. Beautifully crafted, populated with fully realized characters, punctuated with riveting sea battles and crisp dialogue, Phillip Nolan will take its place with classics of the genre.

CHUCK PFARRER is a former Navy SEAL turned screenwriter and author. He has written seven Hollywood blockbusters, including The Jackal, Red Planet, Darkman, Hard Target, Navy SEALs, and Virus. He is also the New York Times best-selling author of SEAL Target Geronimo, Inside the Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden, Warrior Soul, The Memoir of a Navy SEAL, and the critically acclaimed novel Killing Che.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 82 people found the following review helpful By D. Pickett on July 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I picked up Warrior Soul while waiting for William Gibson to show up for a reading at Barnes & Noble and was so struck by it that I went back and bought it. Pfarrer is a better writer than most ex-military men, and his descriptions of the men he encountered and training he endured to become a SEAL stuck in my head. After getting the book home I devoured it in two days, and promptly read it again.

Pfarrer's excellent writing aside, I was struck by his tone: he neither romanticizes his military experience nor disdains it. He is as honest about it as one can be when writing about missions which were, at one point, classified. Instead of the gung ho, Rambo figures were are usually presented with when dealing with special forces soldiers, he shows us a group of highly dedicated, highly trained men who are willing to do some of the most dangerous jobs in the world. What comes though is their humanity and, for me, the most interesting thing about the book was the way in which the SEALs dealt with the unimaginable stresses under which they operate. The secrecy and tight bonding required for their job becomes, in many ways, their own worst enemy, as they are forced to live in a world apart from the rest of the military and far, far removed from any civilian life. No coming home and blowing off some steam with your wife or friends, if you have been able to hang onto them.

Pfarrer reached the pinnacle of then-current U.S. Special Forces (SEAL Team 6) and left the Navy, worn down, I think, by the intense emotional pressure of the job. I was left with a sense of awe at what these men are capable of, and compassion for the wounds they received, both physical and emotional.
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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Steven L. Waterman on April 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Chuck can take simple words and twist them into a visual image that needs no further input. Going from the mundane hurry up and wait mentality of typical military ops, he takes you from humorous bar scenes to the horrors of terrorism and the mayhem resulting from underestimating the enemy and complacency. Political correctness takes its toll in attitudes, men, and the morale of entire countries. This can be read between the lines. Chuck pulls no punches and lays it out for anybody to see. The men who do the fighting and the ones who create the need for these men to fight are not generally on the same sheet of music. Politics and appeasement are the enemies. WARRIOR SOUL is not just another 'SEAL' book in typical fashion. I DO NOT compare it to the other books by former SEALs. This one is in a class by itself. Thanks for a great book and thanks for your service to our nation. Grab a copy of WARRIOR SOUL and devour it.
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Bracken on April 27, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I finally read Chuck's book, and I only wish I had read it earlier. We were team mates in the early 1980s at UDT-21/ST-4, and in fact his platoon relieved mine in Beirut. I have probably read just about every book on the SEAL Teams written by actual frogs that is out there, and Warrior Soul is now up with the top 2 or 3 covering all eras for its military value. Covering the modern (post Viet Nam) era, there is no SEAL Team book close to Warrior Soul. Yes indeed, it's a terrific book on SEAL training and tactics, and is well worth reading for that reason alone.

But Warrior Soul goes much further beyond being a mere military autobiography. Chuck has laid his soul bare on the pages. I can't begin to think of another military autobiography (or any autobiography) which has come even close in terms of often merciless self-examination. (God knows I wouldn't have the guts to tread there!) This book tells it all, and I can't avoid a cliche here: the good, the bad, and the ugly. This book will move you, and you will not forget the story it tells of the Teams, and you will not forget Chuck Pfarrer the man.

But now I want to tell readers something which Chuck didn't (and couldn't) tell in his own story without sounding self-serving. In the Teams, Chuck was a 250 watt bulb that stood out among a very bright group of guys. He was literally the life of the party where ever he went. He told the funniest jokes, made up the best drinking and running songs, drew the most amazing frogman cartoons. He got everybody stoked, all the time!

Here is one example referenced in the book. The teeth drawn on his platoon's Seafox in Beirut? That was all Chuck.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes an author's work transcends the genre. Warrior Soul is one of those rare and wonderful surprises. Pfarrer has written the finest memoir to emerge from the SEAL Team experience. At times humorous and tragic, it never fails to grip the reader, and hits the target again and again. Without bravado or conceit, Pfarrer's silky, powerful prose puts the reader into the heart and mind of a SEAL operator on patrol through the streets of Beirut, during the storming of the aircraft containing the Achille Lauro hijackers and off the Mosquito Coast of Honduras in a deadly game of cat and mouse with a Sandinista patrol boat. Warrior Soul stands with its comrades in arms, Jarhead (Anthony Swofford), In Pharaoh's Army (Tobias Wolff) and The Hunters (James Salter), as three of the finest books on men in combat written in the last fifty years. Honest, troubling and emotionally rich. Mark my words: this book will become a classic.
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