Customer Review

105 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Damn Good!, February 15, 2013
This review is from: Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior (Kindle Edition)
Some may wonder why I, a romance novelist, am reviewing Damn Few, a book about training America's elite warriors, the Navy SEALs. That's easy to answer. It's because I am a romance novelist. I write books wherein the male lead is always a hero: a man who does the right thing for the right reasons.

I've read and reviewed quite a few military memoirs. I admire men who put themselves in harm's way for the greater good of their fellow soldiers and their country. Rorke Denver, former head of Basic and Advanced SEAL Training is one of these men. In his book, he shares his own experience as a SEAL and later as the man who directed SEAL Training, as well as his philosophical insights into the mental and emotional makeup of a candidate who successfully completes SEAL training and wins the Trident, the gold pin that is the visible symbol of being a SEAL.

Of all the books I've read about Navy SEALs, this is the first that offers the perspective of an officer who was an active duty SEAL and who was the officer in charge of a SEAL team. Denver shows the hard decisions an officer must make to consider the risk and reward of every operation, to deploy his team effectively, and to know that every decision he makes will affect not only a SEAL in his command but also the wife, children, parents, and siblings waiting stateside for that SEAL to return.

Although not characterized by "war stories" of firefight after firefight, Denver's story has power that comes from the emotion and philosophy he infuses. To be perfectly honest, he had me from the first line of the dedication: "For my wife, my heartbeat." There is not a woman on this earth who would not be affected by such a declaration of love. The fact that it comes from a man's man, a warrior, just makes the sentiment more profound.

There are three sections in the book: Learning It, Doing It, and Passing It On. If you've seen any of the popular television documentaries that began popping up after the rescue of Maersk Alabama Captain Richard Phillips in 2009, then you probably are familiar with the Navy SEALs BUD/s Training and Hell Week.

Learning It, the first third of the book, deals with BUD/s and Hell Week in detail as well as an analysis of why some men make it, some don't, and some quit before anything really hellish even begins.

The second third of the book, Doing It, covers the Peacetime Warrior era and Denver's long-awaited and eagerly-anticipated insertion into war-torn Iraq.

Passing It On is the final third of the book. Denver discusses his movie role as a Navy SEAL in the movie "Act of Valor," produced by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh and written by Kurt Johnstad who wrote the screenplay for the very successful "300," about King Leonidas and his 300 men who fought the Persians at Thermopylae. After reading the "behind the scenes" story of this movie, I plan to watch it again with an eye for the detail Denver mentions.

More importantly, in this part of the book, Denver presents the challenges facing the SEAL program now when they are under pressure to produce more SEALs, as if that would be the ultimate answer to the challenges facing our country. I think it's obvious to anyone, after reading this book, and others written by SEALs, that if more SEALs are wanted, they'd better start young.

The will to prevail--to never give up--is the overriding characteristic of these warriors. That is not something that can be created in an adult. It's something that is created as a child grows and is influenced by parents, by a value system that emphasizes greater good as well as a belief in one's ability to succeed, just to mention the obvious.

Damn Few is a testament to heroic men who are not saints, but who are selfless in their patriotism. Perhaps more than any other group of people, SEALs recognize, as Denver says in his book: "You can do everything right, and things can still go catastrophically wrong." How tragically true.

At the beginning of Damn Few, Denver quotes an early Scottish toast that seems ironically appropriate given the murder of SEAL Sniper Chris Kyle, killed by a former soldier he was trying to help. "Here's tae us / Wha's like us? / Damn few, / And they're a' dead."

Damn Few will inspire, educate, and instill in you a deep appreciation for these men who are the ultimate warriors and for their willingness to make hard decisions and do the right thing.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 20, 2013 5:30:48 AM PST
Thank you Joan Reeves for this outstanding review of "Damn Few", well done.

Posted on Feb 26, 2013 5:32:39 AM PST
G. Townsend says:
I can only add to what LittleWolf said, Joan: Splendid review! Thank you so much!!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2013 8:20:43 AM PST
Joan Reeves says:
Thanks, LittleWolf. I get a lot of review requests, but I never post a review unless I can wholeheartedly endorse the book. With Damn Few that was easy to do. That's why you'll rarely see a review of mine that isn't 4 or 5 stars.

Best wishes,
Joan Reeves

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2013 8:22:44 AM PST
Joan Reeves says:
Thank you, G. Townsend. I hope you enjoy the book. I'm thinking of getting the audio version of it. I've listened to the audio edition of most of the current SEAL memoirs. They're enthralling too.

Best wishes,
Joan Reeves

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2013 10:35:55 AM PST
nellie says:
where can i get audio editions of SEAL memoirs? thanks. nellie

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2013 12:42:08 PM PST
Joan Reeves says:
Damn Few is available at Audible.com probably iTunes also.

On Amazon page for the book, look at the box that says: Formats. Click the link for audio book.

Best wishes,
Joan Reeves

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2013 2:36:47 PM PST
nellie says:
thanks very much. nelllie

Posted on Jul 30, 2013 4:08:09 AM PDT
DG says:
Mr. Denver's entire Dedication drove his story. What woman wouldn't want a man like this? Principled, selfless, honorable, loyal...faithful to his cause, his family, his brotherhood, his country.

Posted on Aug 14, 2013 11:37:57 AM PDT
Joan, thank you for this well-written review. It is hard to find decent book reviewers, particularly for books in this genre. I was drawn to yours particularly because you reviewed it as an author who read the book as research for your heroic male protags. You are one of only three individuals I have looked to for reviews of other books as well, perusing through your massive list of admirable effort toward making a positive difference the Amazon review process.

Through that, I accidentally ran across your review of a book of a client of mine. Thank you for that. I won't disclose it here as I don't want to make this look like a commercialized comment.

I did also go out and take a look at your books. Congrats on your many reviews of your most recent title. Good luck to you in all of your endeavors as a published author!

Michelle Dear
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