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on September 20, 2012
This is a suspenseful, first-person account of the raid that took down Osama bin Laden in May, 2011. The author, writing under the pseudonym of Mark Owen, was one of the elite SEAL Team Six operators that participated in the raid (his real name has since been revealed as Matt Bissonnette). The book debuted at number one on Amazon. It does not disappoint.

The first half of No Easy Day covers Bissonnette's work in SEAL Team Six prior to the Osama bin Laden raid. After a cliffhanger opening that anticipates the climax of the book, the story backs up several years to Bissonnette's Green Team training. He was already a Navy SEAL at this point, but he was trying to become a member of the elite Seal TEAM Six, which is composed of the "best of the best." We follow his deployments in both Iraq and Afghanistan, where the recounting of certain missions serves to establish the proficiency of the author and his team at their job. This is rather standard fare for the subgenre.

The latter half of the book is devoted to the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound, including the extensive preparations and some of the political aftermath. The actual raid is told in almost moment-by-moment detail, transporting the reader to the compound in Abbottabad. The scene is described so richly that it feels as though we are climbing the stairs with the team as they close in on bin Laden. Several maps and charts help us to picture the location.

No Easy Day focuses almost exclusively on Bissonnette's training and deployments. We learn very little about his personal life, which--combined with his intentional pseudonymity--makes it harder to connect with him emotionally. This information was omitted for obvious security reasons. He does share the toll that SEAL life takes on family life, however. "Many of my teammates suffered through bitter divorces. We missed weddings, funerals, and holidays. We couldn't tell the Navy no, but we could tell our families no. And we did often. . . . Work was always the number one priority. It took everything out of you and gave back very little. . . . everything else in the world took a backseat" (106-7). For those wanting a fuller portrait of a Navy SEAL's personal life, see the excellent book by Eric Blehm, Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown, which details the life of SEAL Team Six operator Adam Brown.

Bissonnette does not engage in self-aggrandizement or bravado, which has marred some earlier books by former Navy SEALs. The author seems to have a realistic view of himself. He says at one point: "I am not unique or special" (298). He does not hesitate to share instances in combat when he was afraid or made a mistake. He occasionally engages in self-deprecating humor. He regularly dishes out praise for his teammates. Bissonnette says that today's SEALs have "evolved past being egomaniacs" (289). Such professionalism is appreciated.

Bissonnette states in the introduction that he has sanitized the book so that it presents no threat to national security. The identities of those involved are masked; special tactics and technology are not revealed; and certain information is generalized. The author says, "If you are looking for secrets, this is not your book" (x). Yet none of these precautions affect the impact of the book. There is still enough specific information to make the action riveting.

Despite Bissonnette's precautions, the book is nonetheless generating controversy. Some special operators have challenged his decision to reveal details about the mission, breaking their traditional code of silence. The Department of Defense has threatened to sue because he did not present the book to the Pentagon for inspection prior to publication. The author has responded by pointing out that many people, from the President on down, have revealed details about the mission. He says, "If my commander in chief is willing to talk, then I feel comfortable doing the same" (298). He claims that everything in the book has already appeared in other unclassified sources (xi). I for one am glad that the book was released. It shows that those who commit acts of terror will suffer retribution--perhaps even deadly retribution--for their evil. This should serve as a warning to our enemies.

At the end of the book are the names of those SEALs who have paid the ultimate price since September 11, 2001. Bissonnette claims that he is donating the majority of the proceeds from the book to charities that support the families of these fallen Navy SEALs. He encourages readers to donate as well.

The book is well-written and a page-turner. Even though the outcome of the book was already known, it maintains a high degree of suspense throughout to see how the situation actually played out. I read it in one sitting. Highly recommended.
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on September 26, 2012
If you are interested in the subject matter of U.S. special operations in Iraq and Afganistan including the Bin Laden elimination in Pakistan, this book will hold your interest and provide the information from a point of view we have not seen. Up close and personal. The author held true to his statement that it was not a political work. The Bin Laden raid was given a large portion of the story, and did correct the record in regard to who actually accomplished this task. I don't think that anyone would be surprised by the details unless of course they were the people that think a politician is a god. Oops, I guess that leaves only the thinking people (independents and republicans) that would be interested in the book. Sorry. On second thought, the democrat reader might actually find a reason in this book to flatter the current President. The author found a way to be respectful of the President without distorting the facts. Our current President did more to prevent the U.S. from being able to accomplish this feat than he did to expedite it; however, he did allow the mission to proceed. I personally don't believe he had a political option. The author presented this in a factual context based on how his operational tactics changed when the current administration transitioned into power. The author did not present a political opinion only an operational description. All political opinions in this review are mine and based on facts from the book as well as other sources. The lying liberal media has not been one of my sources for over 30 years. This book is an important work for keeping our country safe from those who wish to harm it.
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on November 8, 2012
Wow! Almost three thousand Reviews prior to mine, so I won't repeat the aforementioned, but rather, put in my own plugs.

I have seen various documentaries on t.v. illustrating the situation of the mission, Operation Neptune Spear. This book is different than that of the documentaries. And that is why I wanted to know of this story first hand--by a Special Ops. person who happened to be a team leader, and one of whom had access in seeking out this mass murderer in a compound consisting precisely of enemy encroaching protection. With that said, it happened, not as smoothly as was to be initiated, but with the final outcome to be completed...that of ending Osama bin Laden's further destruction on mankind.

If you want a good book learning more of this Seal Team 6, then this is for you. Not only will you learn exactly what went down in the compound, you will be told of this Seal Team by this soldier's narrations, his thoughts, and his conversations. This is a never forgotten mission executed by a certain group of men from our military on the ground who trained endlessly, along with all those involved with listening and watching the best that they could in command posts.

I discovered another meaning to a name that had not been explained in a documentary, and that is the word Geronimo. The word had meaning to all branches involved with this mission. Geronimo was to be used in reference to Osama bin Laden if...he had been found, was in the custody of the USA special force teams, and if this mission had been safely accomplished by gaining access back into Afghanistan. Everyone in on this longed to hear that word...knowing the mission was accomplished...waiting the longest and most important 40 minutes plus, of their lives! No one other than Team 6 could see what was happening; the same applying on the helicopters--seeing one crash land and having the author of the book being in that helicopter, so close to the opening of the door that he could have easily lost his life due to the crash landing (not to be attributed by the pilot) but by air factors explained. This happened at the mission's beginning, everyone in communication of seeing it hoping that it did not kill those inside the chopper or hinder a 'possible once in a life time' historical accomplishment. When all was clear and the teams were all basically unharmed, were in their choppers with the body of bin Laden along with his vast wealth of media including discs, drives, tapes, and his own writings, and once across the border of Pakistan and back into Afghanistan as that is where they started from, all those involved could breath and react! Not just those in the White House as we all remember that intense picture, but those in hangers; those who refueled the choppers and for all the other special ops snipers who were in the bushes ready to kill if anyone followed the choppers with the 'precious cargo' who were being refueled; to those at C.I.A. mission headquarters; to Rangers who were ready to do their job; and to the Navy who took the body and did a respectful Muslim burial, though not allowing a trail to his tomb within the dark, deep waters, be of observation. We can not imagine how so many people involved must have felt.

When I think about Geronimo, I think back when our soldiers in Iraq searched and stumbled upon a well hidden Saddam Hussein. After a soldier had discovered him and told him that 'President Bush had sent his regards', I then thought of when Paul Bremer walking to his podium those years prior and said to our nation and to the world, "Ladies and Gentlemen...We Got Him!" Years later, proudly again due to our United States Military of Special Ops, President Obama, (who made the decision for the way that this mission would be played out) went to his podium to tell the world of this #1 World's Most Wanted Man, now dead by an undercover operation involving a Special Ops team.
Goose bumps still travel my arms when I think back to both and how proud I am to have such an intelligent military working diligently for our nation...behind desks and those on the field everywhere. One can not do without the other, as that is to be.

A must read book if ever I have recommended one!
This is history in the making!
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VINE VOICEon October 1, 2012
The book was interesting, both from a technological and human viewpoint. The tools of warfare have certainly become quite sophisticated, and I am sure they serve to help preserve the lives of the brave men and women who take on the job of protecting America. The dedication and devotion to duty of the men in this area of the military is admirable, but that it is, by necessity, so all-absorbing seems unfair to the young men involved, and to those who love them. And, make no mistake, this is a young man's game. These guys are in the prime of their youth as they train and train, hardening their bodies and their hearts to the job at hand. This is how it has always been with war. It is a destroyer in so many ways that one wishes the human race would move beyond it.

However, that is wishful thinking. War is a fact of life, and we who live in peace only do so because others make the choice to take on the burden of protecting us from those who would do us harm. This book is the story of one such group of men and the mission that put an end to one serious threat to our nation. The debate is, of course, over whether this story should be told or not. Does it compromise the safety of the men and women on the front lines around the world? I do not know. They are certainly in no worse danger because of me, but are they in increased jeopardy because this book was published.? Only time will tell the truth of that, but I do think it is worthwhile for Americans to realize the extent of the sacrifice these young men make for our well-being and the preservation of our way of life.

It isn't the best piece of writing I even encountered. It was clearly created in a rush in order to get it out there as quickly as possible, and I honestly hope the proceeds will benefit the wounded warriors of our nation. The most impressive, and certainly chilling, aspect of this book is the honor roll in the back of the book of those brave soldiers who have been killed in the war on terror since Osama Bin Laden started that war against Americans. I am humbled by their sacrifice.
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on March 25, 2014
This book was a bit disappointing, I expected it to be focused on the Bin Laden mission and the lead up to it. Instead it was a overview of Mark Owen's service career (I thank him for that service) without a whole lot detail to bring it to life. I realize that many procedures, people and sources needed to remain undisclosed to protect those that still and will serve. There is though a wide volume of info on techniques and tactics of spec ops that is in the public domain that could of been expanded on to document and describe the preparation and training needed. If you want a good example to compare, even though the material is dated, read Inside the S.A.S. by Tony Geraghty. The mission and the lead up to it was a very small part of this book and I expected it to be a large part of it, I will have to wait for later books for that.
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on April 11, 2014
2012 will be remembered as the year of Navy SEALs autobiogrpahies. In January there was "American Sniper," the story of Chris Kyle who is America's sniper with the most confirmed kill in military history. Then there is "Seal of God" about a West Coast SEAL who became a Christian. But no SEAL autobiography has been able to generate so much interests and controversy in a short amount of time as this book, the story from one of the SEALs in DEVGRU (more better known with it's old name, SEAL TEAM 6) that was involved in the Operation to get Osama Bin Laden. There's no need to rehearse every detail of that controversy (which is still ongoing and brewing) and surely by writing this book the author has taken a lot of risks. Even as I read other reviews, there is no doubt controversies continues even with how people read and appreciated it (or not appreciate it). I thought some of the reviews of the book tells more about the reviewer's background and values more than the book itself--no doubt my review will reflect a bit of who I am too, but I hope this review will also cause us to reflect more deeply about the last decade of warfare since 9/11, and about our society/culture and perhaps also the question of God and faith too even if you disagree with me.
I think to fully appreciate a book at times require one to ask how does it relate and fill a niche in relations to other books of the same subject or genre. So I suppose my review will keep that in consideration and from this angle, "No Easy Day" was definitely a different yet fascinating book. For starters, typically in SEALs biography, everyone gives an account of BUD/S (for the "lay" reader, we can call this SEAL boot camp of six months). This book does not, breaking the mold of the canon of SEALs autobiography. That's because the book goes deeper and further into another world that is rarely mentioned or understood among all the SEALs books out there--the world of DEVGRU, the Navy SEALs highly secretive counter-terrorist group. Sure there is Richard Marcinko's books, who was the founder of DEVGRU back in the 1980s when it was still known as SEAL TEAM 6. But there is little published in book form from an insider about the 21st Century, post 9/11 DEVGRU. The author describes in one of the early chapters of the book his unexpected physical try-out for DEVGRU, his acceptance into Green Squadron (the selection training in order to enter into DEVGRU's command) and his acceptance into the team. His description of the selection and elimination process in Green Squadron is fascinating such as how candidates are required to write down whom they think are the five best candidates and five weakest candidates.
Though the author has been deployed around a dozen times this last decade of warfare suprisingly the book does not go into all the blood and gore details of most of his operation prior to the mission to get Osama. You would expect more--but then no doubt that would take away from the main story about the Bin Laden Raid--not to mention that he had to do it all in 336 pages. Readers who have been in the military would have appreciated his account of OIF 1--and things going array in their first mission. It reminds the rest of us in the military that did not serve in a SOF capacity that Navy SEALs are humans also. His account of working with DELTA was also a great insight into the other TIER 1 unit, though I suppose one might get a fuller account with Dalton Fury's book. Going back to this book, the author also revealed his involvement in the Maersk Alabama hijacking rescue operation and his account of it indicate that this kind of operation was welcomed by the SEALs since it was a break from the routine of deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. What I found most intriguing in the author's account of this operation was the fact that he parachuted into the Ocean with a Navy communication guy attached to him who has never done a parachute jump before. One can imagine how frightening that is--and the thought, "No one back home is going to believe this..." I've seen some reviews that complained about all these back story leading up to the Bin Laden raid in the book--you can tell they are pure civilians with no grasp of operational history or biography. But for the readers who are willing to look long and reflect harder, the first half of the book should make you appreciate the incredible amount of sacrifice, skill and dedication of people like Mark Owens who worked so hard to be the best of the best in their job in order to protect us. The account of the amount of sleeping pills these guys take and the weird hours they operate during deployment (what the author calls "Vampire hours") should make us appreciate the toll it takes on these guys--and we are not even yet discussing about the lives and injury involved in what they do.
Of course, most of the book was devoted to the raid itself. I learn from this account that it was not any one of the existing four squadrons in DEVGRU take took part in the raid but rather a special gathering of different guys who have been around the block that was gathered. From the standpoint of a military biography with an operational history bent, I thought it was good (but not good to those reviewers who are looking for some existentialists need for "feelings" to be described). Here is where I could not put the book down. The description of him being on the helicopter that crash and the amazing description of him almost falling out since he was hanging out with his legs outside the crammed blackhawk. The amazing miracle of the helicopter handing on it's strongest point on the wall which ended up not causing the rotars to hit the dirt and chaos that would have followed. The raid itself was incredible. Here is where I suppose this review tells more about me than perhaps the author or the book itself. I couldn't help but to note all the things that went wrong or could have went wrong but turned out to have worked miraculously as something amazing enough to provoke in me an awareness of God's providence throughout the raid. It's a reminder that sometimes the bad guys do get their justice here on earth right now--and that skill isn't enough but the providence of God as well.
Just as interesting as the raid itself is the author's story of the raid afterwards. His account of Obama and Joe Biden is worth the read. To read of a real member of "Team Six" laughing at the silly things that has been said about them is quite entertaining; he even take on some misconception the ROUGE WARRIOR and the founder of SEAL TEAM 6 himself has said to the media, revealing that Richard Marcinko's comment about DEVGRU being the most arrogant SEALs might be a little out of touch with contemporary DEVGRU.
Overall this is a good book. It is a historical account of an important part of history--not just the Navy SEALs, the U.S. military, but to close a chapter for so many Americans who have lost loved one since that fateful day on 9/11 and from the two wars stemming from it. If you ever had shed tears on 9/11 or if you have lost people in this long war--I think this book ought to be on your shelf.
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While I thoroughly enjoyed reading No Easy Day, I have to take issue with the many reviews here that focus their comments solely on the Bin Laden raid. Although it is a very important event, the raid on Bin Laden's compound accounts for a very brief portion of the contents of this book. The vast majority of it is centered around describing the life of being a SEAL team member. While the chapter describing the actual raid is indeed exciting, I found the background on what led up to the event far more fascinating.

While much of the buzz surrounding this book has died down since the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, some issues should be addressed here concerning the book's possible implications regarding national security. Some elements of the media labeled this book as a threat to national security due to the author's refusal to go through regular channels and gain the Pentagon's approval prior to the book being released. After having read the entire book though, I couldn't disagree more. In fact, most of the book was very critical of the Obama Administration's numerous press "leaks" and official disclosure of details that should not have been made public to begin with. The only material in the book that could possibly put any of our soldiers in harm's way lie in the Obama administrations own on-the-record disclosures that are reprinted from White House sources. In fact, I would have to say that the author's dim view of how the White House treats national security issues was the real motivation behind releasing this book to begin with.

That being said, the author may come across as biased against the Obama administration, but his criticism is clearly motivated by his own personal experiences rather than by political motives. I did not get the impression that it would make a difference whether Obama was a Democrat or a Republican. The fact that an individual would disclose information to the press that could endanger the security of the troops involved for personal political gain would seem to be the sole issue here.

After reading the book, one is forced to come to a conclusion as to whether the White House narrative of how the Bin Laden raid went down is true, or if the author is the one telling the truth about what really happened. Personally, I'll take the word of a decorated Navy SEAL over a politician any day. The account in this book simply comes across as more creditable than the White House version. While I have seen this book attacked from many different angles, no one is attacking the contents of the book as being untrue. That, alone, speaks volumes.
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Author, and former Navy SEAL, Mark Owen tells what really happened the night his Navy SEAL unit entered Osama Bin Laden's compound to capture the main planner for 9-11. Written in an active tense his book will keep you reading as find out how he became the best-of-the-best in the military's special ops unit called SEALS.

Yes, there is some political commentary in the proper context as the military are required to serve their Commander and Chief (the US president), they are allowed to lead private lives and express personal opinions in private. Owen tells about some of the comments made privately, while not on duty, in his book.

If you want to read about what really happened the night bin Laden was captured, and to see some well drawn graphics, plus photos of where the SEALs serve you will find this in his book. Owen also included some photos showing some of the items used by SEALs.

At the end of the book Owen states:

"One of my first projects after leaving was the book. Deciding to do it wasn't easy. No one at the command thought much of the notoriety that came after the Bin Laden raid. We watched it with amusement at first, but that quickly turned to dread as more and more information leaked. We always prided ourselves for being the quiet professionals, but the more I saw coverage of the raid, the more I wanted to set the record straight.

To date, how the mission to kill Bin Laden has been reported wrong...I felt like someone had to tell the true story. To me, the story is bigger than the raid itself and much more about the men at the command who willingly go into harm's way, sacrificing all they have to do the job. Theirs is a story that deserves to be told, and told as accurately as possible."

This clearly states why this book was written and the importance of reading it.

In his book Owen states he will donate the majority of the book proceeds to charity. He also asks his readers to help veteran's organizations who need assistance.

Finally, Owen lists special operations personnel who have fallen in the line of duty since September 11. Reading this list will allow you to realize what these brave military personnel have given so we may be free.

Highly recommend.
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on October 16, 2012
As a retired Field Grade Army Officer, I was worried with the concerns Active Flag Officers voiced the day this book hit the stands. In my read, I could not find anything that would compromise future missions nor anyone on the mission. If you know a Seal, you know the type of person described in the book as an accurate depiction of one of this elite group. If you do not know a seal, you will have a good understanding of the stress on families, the training required, and why the term, "Ring the bell" is so important to them. Ringing the bell is required to quit the program and every Master Chief pushes every trainee Seal so hard, many focus on "NOT ringing the bell" in order to keep going.

This account is riveting, written in a style you would expect from an active military veteran [now, post-active duty]. He takes you there-then takes you back to where his journey began, only to return to the story at hand. This book isn't about UBL, [Bin Laden]. It is about the forces that train every day to keep this country safe. The forces of the Joint Special Operations Command are the first in and many times, neutralize the situation before any front line boots hit the ground.

I know a Seal-in fact many JSOC men. While I understand their drive and passion, I now know them better. It is hard for them to talk about their missions. Most missions have classifications way above my need to know. This has given me a better understanding of the man in the doorway of the chopper going out in the dark.

It took guts to write this book. Many have disapproved. I do not.
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on September 12, 2014
Nom de plume, Mark Owen, show's his perspective on what happened during the operation to take out UBL. He gives a small insight into what makes/comprises DEVGRU. He maintained OPSEC to a point but gave away some details that fellow SEALs found troubling. I understand why he wrote this book, but in as far as I know anything about SPEC OPS, DEVGRU, SEALs, all of which could fill a sewing thimble, I'd have to say I would've rather he not divulged anything regarding this operation. The book is an easy read, I casually read it in two days, gleaning any technical info that I found interesting. It brought to light how Desert One failed in Iran back in the 1970's and how over ten years of battle in the middle east has brought our SPEC OPS warriors to be the tip of the spear, even the much vaunted SAS has had to agree our SEALs and DEVGRU (being the organizations we know about) are bar none, the best in the world. More to the point, even our US SWAT teams that go out daily can't hold a candle to these warriors who would run a dozen or more ops ever single day/night at a level SWAT can only dream of. If you are to believe Sun Tzu, its best that SEALs cycle out of battle at some point as the tip of the spear becomes dulled. R&R isn't enough. My hope is that these warriors continue their service to our country, training up and coming SEALs to blunt the efforts who wish to kill us all in the most prejudicial way.
Thank you for your service, thank God we have SEALs, Rangers, Airborne (all the way), Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Force Recon, PJ's, and of course the Coast Guard which is in the middle east as well.
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