Customer Review

97 of 121 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Exciting but Unpolished, May 16, 2011
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This review is from: SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper (Hardcover)
It's an exciting albeit clunky read. I enjoyed it for the story and the information it covered. There are lots of intriguing historical and anecdotal references throughout that keep it moving along. But it really could have used some additional editing and/or co-writing from someone who truly is a skilled writer. There are passages that are a bit too tangential and thus disrupt the flow. Information sometimes seemed crammed in out a sense of stream of consciousness rather than serving pertinent narrative value at that point in the book. They are often interesting or significant asides regarding historical events or referencing other operatives, but they seem jarring in their placement and all too often so brief that you feel left hanging for the rest of that piece of story.

That said, the story of Howard Wasdin's journey from being a kid with an abusive step-father to becoming an elite operative and how his experience as a youth directly influenced and guided his ability to excel at training was fascinating. And of course there is plenty of exciting reading when he recounts the various missions (both training and "real world") he was involved in leading up to his involvement in the Battle of Mogadishu. I also found the section of the book about post-operative (pun unintended) life to be a very nice surprise that really gives the whole book a very real and personal arc. The internal battle he had transitioning into a civilian life without team camaraderie and his path to finding a new career that he genuinely loves and his passion for helping people are endearing.

My only real criticism of the book is it's rather inelegant and blatant product placement. It is one thing to mention the arms maker and model of weaponry and equipment used in operations and training. That type of information is required for a properly detailed book on this subject matter. However, the book is riddled with brand name references to minor pieces of equipment and clothing that are just too prominent, and at times it is almost comical. There are whole portions of paragraphs that run on like some pieces advertising copy for things like sunglasses and casual pants and at times I found myself surprised that they didn't included the manufacturers model number and a "Buy It Here" link. In other spots the brand names are conspicuously not referenced, thus making you wonder whether they aren't named because they didn't pay a product placement gratuity or something. It's certainly not a deal breaker, but by the end of the book I did find it a bit tedious and amateurish.
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Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 18, 2011 12:45:00 AM PDT
Becky Ware says:
Well, you are welcome to your opinion, but no, commercial product placement did not play a part in "Seal Team Six". If you ever hang out with military members, particularly anyone in the infantry & special ops, you do need to know your equipment, as it plays an integral part in saving your life, & the lives of your fellow soldiers. According to Stephen's Facebook page, " I'm seeing a number of complaints on Amazon about "product placement" in our book. Fact is, Howard and I don't have any deals with any companies. Simply, when he and I wrote the book, we talked about gear--anywhere from sniper opticals to German beer. In the SEALs, and particularly in Team Six, gear can give an edge that can decide a battle--and beverages can make or break a party. We had fun talking about it, but I'm sorry if it annoyed. P.S. If anyone writes a review for Amazon, please set them straight. Thanks."

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2011 2:46:21 AM PDT
LeeHoFooks says:
Thanks, Becky. I've been trying to explain this to people alleging product placement (though I haven't even read the book yet!).

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2011 5:28:32 PM PDT
Bruce says:
Forget the product placement. This book should be titled fiction. Howard did not have an "abusive step father". I know I was in the same house. Everyone feels sorry for him because of his childhood. I feel sorry for the readers because they are being feed a bunch of lies. It does make for a better story though. Wonder what else isn't real?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2011 7:42:45 AM PDT
Mark S says:
Bruce, I don't think anybody can argue since none of us were there. My Dad did some things we now consider abusive but I don't think of him as an abusive father but it's a generic term with a very wide definition.

I just saw Howard on Jon Stewart and even though he's a republican I want to buy the book.

Posted on Jun 16, 2011 7:48:29 AM PDT
Big Fudge says:
I agree with your assessment of the writing. The information in this book is fascinating, but the delivery could use some help from a seasoned writer. I found the historical anecdotes about Viet Nam and former SEALs hard to follow, especially to combat descriptions. In contrast, the narrative around Hell Week is done quite well.

I disagree about the product placement. Some people, especially military, are really into their gear. It is probably second nature for these guys to refer to brand and model number when talking about it. Did you notice the ritual of swapping gear with foreign advisors? I got the feeling it's pretty deeply embedded in warrior culture.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2011 9:03:11 AM PDT
Jerry George says:
"Oh, that isn't so... I saw otherwise on Facebook!"

Posted on Aug 5, 2011 1:43:49 PM PDT
B. Grubb says:
I don't read a lot of books(so I got the audio version). I buy $5 sun glasses. I had a swiss army knife once. His mention of product names let me create a stereotype of these guys -----it was great! The description of sun glasses from a SEAL's point of view was incredible---attention to detail. My grandma gave me a pair of Addidas flipflops BEFORE they were really in style so I probably will never wear Tevas. I don't like beer but next time I have a Coors Light I'll feel like a SEAL. Awesome book!

Posted on Mar 9, 2012 10:21:44 AM PST
don gubelman says:
tangential.....really?.....tangential ? he's a navy seal not Hemingway

Posted on Jun 2, 2012 11:10:33 PM PDT
Agreed.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 5:57:31 PM PDT
Capolan says:
I was wondering the same thing here. I'm reading this book and I am curious and saying to myself "where is this guys' editor???" The book rambles, creates incoherent sentences, and is overall very "2nd draft". where was the editor? I'm not saying the book isn't interesting, because it is, and as far as "product placement", gear listings is not product placement. What I am saying is that there are entire setting changes that take place in 1 sentence, and then revert back to the previous topic 2 sentences later with no segue. The writing is bad, but the information and the story is good. If this was fiction it would be horrible, and anyone that says "reads like Tom Clancy" has never read this book. I have two complaints about the book. 1. -- the writing is sloppy (which an editor should have fixed) 2. -- Wasdin isn't shy about talking about how much better he and his group is than say, Deltas, or the "new" seal team 6 group and he bashes Demo Dick every chance he gets. He needs to give some credit where credit is due, but instead he likes to talk smack to some people that started the unit he so desperately wanted to get into, the same people that structured the unit to make it as elite as it truly is. I get it, you don't like the guy, but he's genuinely rude (and if he ran into Marcinko in the street and told him to stick his thumb up his A** Marcinko would probably kill him on the spot) and not just rude but arrogant.

Read "Warrior Soul" by Chuck Pharr or "Inside Delta Force" by Eric Haney and you'll get an impression of operators that aren't out to prove to themselves they can do something. They have less of a chip on their shoulders.
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