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Showing 1-10 of 166 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 198 reviews
on March 17, 2013
Mark Donald--recipient of the Navy Cross--has written one of the most inspiring memoirs I have ever read. The author begins by describing his upbringing in a dysfunctional home in a rough Albuquerque neighborhood. He attributes any successes in life to his strong, insightful, and loving Catholic mother. She was his rock.
The book traces Donald's military career first as a Recon Marine, then Navy SEAL, and later as a combat medic. In mid-career he is selected to attend the Navy's grueling year-long physician assistant program. Upon graduation he receives a commission as a Navy medical officer. He soon finds himself on the battlefields of Iraq and northern Afghanistan as a SEAL "shooter" and as a medic, a conundrum he must resolve. The battle scenes are vivid and detailed.
The main theme of Donald's memoir is how he finally takes charge of the demons from his PTSD. Even as he comforts others, Donald shows signs of strain that overwhelm him upon his return from multiple tours of combat and threaten to destroy him and his family.
Mark Donald has written a book of personal courage and sacrifice that will tug at your heart. "Battle Ready" is very well written--it reads like a novel.
Thank you Mark Donald; you have written a book stemming from the heart that everyone should read, particularly veterans.
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on March 27, 2013
As an author and avid reader I found this book to be one of the most inspiring in many years. Mark Donald is a man who exhibits "quiet assurance" and does not refer to himself as a hero. His ability to take the reader on a journey into the depths of his life; the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly, is extraordinary. He begins with his childhood on the "not so good" streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico where a wrong decision could result in disaster. Raised by his mother and her strong character and values, Mark is torn between wanting to serve in the Marines yet not to abandon his family. He finds a way. As a Recon Marine, he discovers that his "calling" is in the medical field. To follow this path, he is discharged from the Marines and enlists in the Navy to become a hospital corpsman and then, with his recon background, he applies to become a Navy SEAL. The reader experiences highlights of the arduous training attempted by many yet attained by few, to wear the gold Trident of a SEAL. His role is sometimes conflicting: To save lives as a hospital corpsman, and, if necessary, to take lives as a "shooter", in order to save the lives of his team mates and others. His experiences and actions in Iraq and northern Afghanistan are vivid and emotionally described. Suffering the effects of PTSD which threatens to destroy the family he loves, he faces it head on in a positive manner with determination to succeed. Mark Donald is not only a hero, he is an inspiration to all who meet him.
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VINE VOICEon March 13, 2015
Sober account of what it takes to become a Navy Seal Warrior Medic. Undoubtedly a fine book that describes the level of excellence and committment it takes to be part of this elite force, second to none, in our modern world. The author (s) Mark L. Donald with Scott Mactavish do a fine job, measured and poignant as the story unfolds. One of the better books dealing with the difficult subject of war in our present age. Serving his country for almost twenty five years, with unwavering valor in the moments that counted, Seal Mark Donald joined the Marines, a proud and tough branch of the military, and later on also went through the rigorous training that is demanded to become a Seal.
To say that this warrior is up there with the best our great country has to offer, is an understatement, for he has proven his worth in sweat, blood and tears, and paid a dear price for his efforts as well. Fine book, very well written, one more example of why US has the most powerful Armed Forces known to mankind. 4.5 Stars.
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on May 3, 2014
Lt Mark L. Donald was a Navy SEAL Warrior Medic. He started his military carrier as a Recon Marine, and wore his Jump Wings, Dive Bubble and marksmanship medals with pride. But he wanted to serve his fellow marines as a Navy Corpsman. After the change from the Marines to the Navy he breezed through boot camp. He attended Navy corpsman school and graduated as a Navy Corpsman Seaman Apprentice. Advancing in his career, he took advanced medical training, and along the way his COs talked him into becoming a Navy SEAL. That led to OCS, and later Physicians Assistant School. At one time in his young Navy career a Lieutenant Commander chastised him for wearing his Jump Wings, Dive Bubble and his marksmanship medals. When the officer returned red faced from a 30 minute chat with Mark Donald’s CO the officer apologized to the Young Navy corpsman. Lt. Mark Donald later was awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for a fire fight in the Battle of Khand Pass. Lt. Mark Donald is the only Navy SEAL Warrior Medic to be awarded the Navy Cross. He served his country for 25 years.
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on March 5, 2014
I loved this book, it was obviously written or at least edited by a real author (nothing peeves me more than spelling and grammar errors). The only gripe I have about the book, is that Lt. Donald is far too modest, it would have been nice for him to go into a bit more of what he did as opposed what the other's did, so if being humble can be considered a negative, than it is what it is. On the other hand Lt. Donald spares nothing when laying out own his shortcomings and he goes deep into his own problems with PTSD. The book addresses his childhood which with this warrior gives some important insight into why he was able to accomplish his many accolades. The book flows very well and I found I seldom had to go back a paragraph or 2 to make sense of something I'd just read.The emotion flows from this book, from awe that's sweet to tears flowing freely (if you can get through page 263 without openly weeping, call 911, because someone has stolen your soul) without ever getting bogged down with weepy, touchy, feely crap other's throw at you to illicit sympathy for their shortcomings. This is one of the best memoirs I've read, it's right there with John McCain's Faith of my Fathers.
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on March 6, 2014
This book is one of many books I've read about true stories as told by Seals. It is, however, the first book I've read about a Seal Medic.
I enjoyed it a lot. It gives insight into the world of the medics, what it takes to become a Seal medic as well as the impact such work has on the individuals who do this job. Mark overcame many obstacles and dedicated many years to train as a Seal and a medic, which is indicative of his intelligence and dedication.
The impact that his experiences on the battlefield had on him (PTSD) is described and one again realises how tough these guys have to be to do their jobs on a daily basis, but it also reminds you that they are only human (be it remarkable humans, but still) and they also have a breaking point.
Mark's openness about PTSD and the work he's done to help other servicemen and women, and also veterans, is praiseworthy. The decision makers who decide the fate of servicemen & women while they are on active duty and also after retirement, should realise how much they give to their country, and also the impact their jobs have on them for the rest of their lives. As a result they should put aside their political agendas and ambitions and ensure that these brave men and women are looked after while, and long after, they leave the service.
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on May 21, 2013
I picked up this book to read because of this sentence in the description: "Battle Ready dramatically immerses the reader in the unique life of the elite warrior-medic who advances into combat with life-saving equipment in one hand and life-taking weapons in the other."

I was interested to find out how a man would handle those conflicting ideals and emotions. Mr. Donald does an excellent job revealing his inner struggles, and the incredible sacrifice he and others have made in the name of our country, both while they are deployed and while they are at home. There isn't any sugar-coating in this book. Mr. Donald openly and honestly traces his struggles with PTSD and the demons that go along with it. His bare honestly will break your heart at times. That he has overcome so much and continues to serve by working with other Veterans is astonishing.

As a nation we need to be grateful to the men and women of our armed forces who willingly put themselves on the physical, mental and emotional line for us. This book tells so much of what those troops deal with that no one ever talks about. Battle Ready also sheds a light on how much the families of our troops suffer and sacrifice, perhaps even more at times than the troops. Every American should read this book.

Thank you Mr. Donald, for baring you soul to tell this story that so desperately needed to be told.
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on June 23, 2015
Let me start by saying those of us who have had the privilege of carrying seals on board our sub have a profound respect for All SEALS, They are truly a breed apart. So quiet and respectful, yet they have an aura of "been there, done that, don't have to talk about it and they have.
I am honored to call some of them friend and all of them SIR, out of respect for who they are. I have read most of the books written by seals, current as well as former( as if "former" could ever be attributed to them. This book stands out as one of the finest I have ever read. Anyone who survives BUDS and can take a few paragraphs to describe it as well as covering hell week in a few sentences is an amazing writer as well as too humble.
This author takes us from a very poor family background through his upbringing to his becoming a marine, then his transition to the navy as an enlisted medic and his training as a seal medic. He covers all this in very few chapters keeping our attention keen to follow his journey to is completion. He covers his combat in a manner that pays homage to his brothers and the native solders they work with as well as other special ops friends and fellow warriors. This book follows him from grade school to his retirement from the Navy many years later without BS or boring us.
I am fortunate to know others who have taken the same path and are still in the military and they are all from the same mold. There are few that can say I am a Seal, and of those few unfortunately stay for the 20 years it takes to retire. If I was to recommend one book this year it would be this one. I just sent it to another retired seal to read and comment on. If I could speak for him( and I can't) I am sure he would say yep great book!
I feel the comment "highly recommended" is too understated but it is the best I can say, other than read it, you won't be disappointed! Hand Salute Sir
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on June 23, 2017
This was a fascinating read. A Navy Seal operator and also Medic combined in one. From very humble beginnings, a great mom, and a instilled dedication not to quit, Mark is the real deal. I had the opportunity to meet him in person and spend some time getting to know him. He is a true American hero, a quiet professional, and a humble man. He is dedicated to make a difference even more now than during his military career. Read this. Share it.
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on May 7, 2016
A must read for everyone who depends on our military and first responders for their safety.

There is a monument where the last Spartan died defending the pass at Thermopylae that reads “Hello stranger passing by, here according to our laws, we lie.” It’s a testament to the culture of Sparta, who’s famed warriors would die before defeat. The US Navy SEALs are America’s Spartan warriors.

Mark Donald’s book is a story of battles when you live and then battles of how to live when you don’t die. It’s about the agonies suffered when friends die and it was your job to keep them alive. It is often the case where the strongest among us have the greatest capacity for suffering. There comes a time when the pain and guilt of living is greater than the fear of dying. Donald’s experience as related in this story is about both sides, the heroics of battle and the struggles afterward. Extremely well written and a tremendous read.
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