Delta Force: The Army's Elite Counterterrorist Unit Mass Market Paperback – May 18, 2000
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“Delta Force is arguably the most effective fighting unit in the world.” -- Washington Post
“A page turner. ... Hard to put down. ... One of those rare books that military people will annotate and underline and hesitate ever to lend out. ... Beckwith’s candor is extraordinary.” -- Armed Forces Journal
“Delta Force, considered the equivalent of SEAL Team 6, are far more tight-lipped than the SEALs.” -- New York Times
“Absolutely compelling...nations without men like this simply don’t survive.” -- The Wall Street Journal
About the Author
U.S. Army Colonel Charles A. Beckwith was the founderand first commanding officer of Delta Force. For his service,he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star,Legion of Merit, and Purple Heart. He is interred in the FortSam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas.
- Item Weight : 6.3 ounces
- Mass Market Paperback : 365 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0380809397
- ISBN-13 : 978-0380809394
- Dimensions : 4.19 x 0.96 x 6.75 inches
- Publisher : Avon; Reissue edition (May 18, 2000)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,603,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The book itself is quite interesting and filled with political intrigue and military action. However, half way through it becomes a book on project management as the author deals with the problems of developing the army's elite anti-terrorist unit.
It is interesting to note that Beckwith writes about getting his men training. But doesn't get very specific with the skills he required. I think this was an intentional as at the time the book was published there was little information available about this unit. More current information can be found in Eric Haney's book Inside Delta Force: The Story of America's Elite Counter terrorist Unit and The Mission, The Men and Me: Lessons from a former Detla Force Commander by Pete Blaber.
It is also interesting to note that while he does give a complete description of what he saw on the failed Iran Hostage Mission that this portion of the book is very small in comparison to the rest of the book. If you are interested in first person accounts of the hostage situation, I would recommend reading 444 Days by Lt. Col. Scott, and Guests of the Ayatollah by Mark Bowdin (not first person).
What I enjoyed about this book is it is well written, shows the author has a sense of humor, and most of the entire trip down Memory Lane. I remember these times. They had a big impact on who I am and what I've done in life. This book is a time capsule.
What was just as interesting and terribly disturbing was the shortsightedness and turf-protecting response from the military brass that Col. Beckwith had to struggle against for years. He's not shy about naming names either, which I give him a lot of credit for. It's frightening to think that our armed forces are being run by such short-sighted, petty, and "what's in it for me, to hell what's best for the troops or the country" high-level military brass.
Great book, great read, and Colonel Beckwith is a true hero. Thank you, Sir.
The story is fascinating mostly for its demonstration of the large institutional roadblocks thrown in the way of those leading new initiatives. In this case it was "Big Army" vs. COL Beckwith. Though he had key champions in high places, Beckwith still ran up against established units who thought his effort would be redundant. He ran into people who disliked him personally and therefore oppose him. In the end the requirement for a counterterrorism force became obvious, especially with the way other countries demonstrated their effectiveness, and how no other unit in the US military had been identified to fill the role.
Beckwith ends the story with his telling of Operation EAGLE CLAW, the attempted rescue of American hostages in Tehran in 1980. As is well known the operation ended in failure and the hostages weren't released for nearly another year. Beckwith chalks the failure up to too many hands being involved in the operation, and the surprise sandstorm.
Though Beckwith ends his story rather abruptly with a short chapter of the continued need for Delta Force, and many of the details were (and are) likely still classified, the first person account is still worth the read. And even though Beckwith often appears bitter, the personal details about how the sausage is made is fascinating.
Top reviews from other countries
I also found in the closing chapters a strange switch from first to third person narrative which suggests to me it may have been written after Col.Beckwith passed away (and somehow got past a proof reader).