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Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown Paperback – May 21, 2013
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New York Times bestseller
Praise for Fearless
“As a rule, we don’t endorse books or movies or anything regarding the command where I work—and Adam Brown worked—but as the author writes in Fearless, ‘you have to know the rules, so you know when to bend or break them.’ This is one of those times. Read this book. Period. It succeeds where all the others have failed.”
—Anonymous SEAL Team SIX Operator
“Adam Brown’s zest for life led him down a few dark alleys and more than one dead end. Kind-hearted and wild, Adam led a life that lacked direction. God, a woman, and the U.S. Navy gave it to him. Fearless is a love story...several love stories: a man for his woman, a warrior for his team, parents for kids, and soldiers for their country. There is no greater love than that a man lay down his life for his friends. Be warned—reading Fearless will change the way you see the world.”
—Stu Weber, veteran Green Beret, pastor, and author of Tender Warrior
“When people know they are going to die, often their one regret is that they didn’t say ‘I love you’ enough. Adam Brown never had to worry. His life was about love: love of God, family, friends, country, his fellow SEALs, and the Afghan children who worshipped him. In his latest book, Fearless, Eric Blehm does a marvelous and moving job uncovering the man—the men—beneath the SEAL mythology of elite, rock-hard warriors, renowned for their courage and skill. The SEALs in Fearless hug their children, seek comfort from their wives, wear Batman briefs, answer to names like Big Bird and Fozzy, mourn lost buddies, and risk their lives to rescue civilians from the field of fire. This is a stirring, revelatory, heartbreaking story.”
—James Campbell, author of The Last Frontiersman and Ghost Mountain Boys
“This is not another SEAL book about ego; this is a powerful book about perseverance that will absolutely inspire everybody. Adam was a warrior in the truest sense—courageous, compassionate, intrepid, and humble. And his dedication to God, country, family, and the Brotherhood was genuine and exceptional. This book will motivate you to challenge yourself to be…fearless.”
—SEAL teammate of Adam Brown, BUD/S Class 226
“There is a quote from the Bible etched onto the memorial that stands in the shadow of World Trade Center steel that resembles a massive trident: ‘Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”’ That was Adam Brown. Fearless is a clear and deeply honest portrait of an authentic American man who lived and loved with an intrepid personal velocity. For most of us, the failures and disappointments in life take their toll. Not for Adam Brown. He vanquished all life’s heartbreaks with faith, humility, and hard work. His commitment to his family and his friends helped forge Adam Brown into the rarest of warriors. Long live the Brotherhood.”
—Kurt Johnstad, screenwriter, Act of Valor and 300
“Fearless stands unique among works of modern combat literature through author Eric Blehm’s masterful weaving of a fallen Navy SEAL’s professional war-fighting life with his complex personal victories and travails. Rich in detail and captivating in its honesty, you won’t put Fearless down once you read the first page. Read it and prepare to learn a whole new world of life as a Navy SEAL.”
—Ed Darack, author of Victory Point
"Fearless is a vivid account of one man's journey from all-American boy to all-American hero. Blehm's writing takes you beyond the battlefield and right to the heart of the personal battles, sacrifices, and triumphs of one of America's elite warriors. Anyone looking for an inspiring story of inner strength and courage will be richly rewarded by this book."
—Eric Greitens- Former Navy SEAL and New York Times bestselling author of The Heart and the Fist
"Be prepared for the full range of emotions as the true adventures of a real American hero demonstrate that 'with God, all things are possible.'"
—U.S. Navy Chaplain Timothy Libertay
About the Author
Eric Blehm is the best-selling author of The Only Thing Worth Dying For, which recounts the harrowing story of the first Special Forces A-team to infiltrate Taliban-held southern Afghanistan weeks after 9/11. It was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. The Last Season, winner of the National Outdoor Book Award, was named by Outside magazine as one of the ten “greatest adventure biographies ever written.” Blehm lives in California with his wife and children.
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Fearless is the obvious title for this book. Adam Brown became fearless by his deep belief in God, his wife, his family, and his team. You have to respect a person that would rather die than let down his team. That dedication shows when on the road to Kandahar their Humvee hit another vehicle and flipped multiple times. Adam severed the fingers of his right hand and they were hanging on with skin and tendons, but he completely disregarded that injury and went to work saving his teammate that had his leg crushed in the accident. Only when the Corpsman had his friend stabilized did he allow someone to tend to his injuries.
This book pays tribute to this hero. The author spoke with his childhood friends and family and in the first 80 pages outlined the story of a fun-loving kid. He was a kid who liked to push himself and loved dangerous feats, like jumping off of bridges into the river. He excelled at everything he attempted, and was on the path to do anything he wanted, when he made some bad choices and started using drugs. I have seen first-hand the damage that drugs like crack can do, so this story is even more amazing that he reached the top tier of the Navy SEALs while having to overcome the constant call of his crack addiction. While I did not like the person he was during his dark time with drugs, I did find myself pulling for him to succeed.
SEAL Team Six is the "best of the best" and a place where you have to be in the top 1% of a group that is already in the top 1% of the planet. You have to perform at incredibly high levels that most people, with fully functioning bodies and minds cannot achieve. Adam severed the fingers of his right hand, his shooting hand. He was injured in a training accident and lost sight in his right eye, his dominant shooting eye. He caved in his shinbone, had back problems, arthritis, walked around in constant pain all while fighting the urge to smoke crack, yet he still managed to overcome these issues, any one of which would disqualify a normal man, yet he still forged on.
Adam went to Sniper school, a school with a very high attrition rate, because only the best graduate from this incredibly tough school. Now many SEALs complete Sniper school, but Adam had to relearn how to shoot using his left hand and his left eye. That is unheard of.
All throughout this book you will be touched by Adam's generosity and his constant devotion to others. In Afghanistan he would never leave any checkpoint or observation post without helping fill sandbags or in some way fortifying the outpost. He would regularly give away his MREs to the local children and even organized his church to send kids sneakers when he realized that the local Afghan children had to wear open sandals during the harsh mountain winters. He was a man that always made the world a better place for others.
By the time I was halfway through this book I was increasingly saddened because I felt it unfair that a hero like Adam was going to die. But true to his character his life ended in a detailed battle where he never once stopped to think about himself, he just remained fearless while trying to protect and defend others.
His loyalty to his team was shown in their loyalty to him. When he was shot multiple times and badly wounded his teammates made heroic efforts to save him and get him to a hospital. Sadly, as we all know, he did not make it.
Adam touched a lot of people during his short life. He made a difference to many people. If a man is judged by the positive difference he makes in the lives of others, then Adam Brown truly is a hero.
For some unknown reason, I thought I would give this book a shot, in part because I am trying to try new things and experience different things.
Here goes: this book is meant to let us know who Adam Brown was. He was on Navy Seal Team SIX, which apparently is the best of the best. The team is now known for taking out Osama Bin Laden. We are taken into his life before the Navy, and actually even a bit before Adam, getting some knowledge of this family before he was even born.
Surprisingly enough, I liked this book. I didn't love it, but I was glad to have read it, if just for an insight into military life that does not necessarily glorify violence and gore, or assume that the reader thinks that war is amazing. Is the book perfect? No. And I am not sure that I would have liked it as much had I started reading with the assumption that I would like it. (Call it the anticipation syndrome, but when I assume that a movie or book will not be something I enjoy, then said movie or book tends to be better than expected, and vice versa...sometimes books or movies with a lot of hype do not live up to it).
We get a lot of information about Adam's childhood. He lived his life full steam ahead. He was not necessarily the person with the most sheer physical ability, but he tried hard and was always up for a challenge. And he was wild, but in a good way. He jumped off the bridge into the water below, he wanted to take on the biggest guy on the football field, etc. However, he looked out for others, and the book includes a touching scene where he befriends a boy with Down's Syndrome. There were a few parts in the book I found hard to take, and Adam's near saintliness as a child was one of them. As a former teacher and parent, it is hard to believe that a person can be so aggressive and so kind. Later on, they use the term "gentle giant," and I get that, but I also have to think that there is some amount of revisionist history going on here.
The next main section of Adam's life covers his addiction to drugs, and isolation. The transition to college was a tough one for him, since he missed being part of a group. He was aimless and ended up being addicted and letting drugs run his life. He made a lot of poor decisions during the time. Sharing this part of his life is supposed to make us realize that no matter what your background (he had a good family), you can fall prey to drugs, and also to point to Christ, who Brown credits for saving his life.
The remainder of the book covers Brown's life as a husband, father, and Navy Seal. Again, some of the reports are almost too much for me. I don't expect anyone to discredit him, but he often comes across as superhuman (and I get that some of these elite military personnel need to be close to that, but it's a bit too sugar coated for me). For example, there are times when he reverts back to drugs, and his wife tells him that if he does not stop, then she will leave him. But even in those times, when it must have been very stressful and hard, we get an image of him that doesn't seem quite real.
However, there are other snapshots of him that make the reading rewarding and make it seem like maybe some of the other surreal ones could be true. One of my favorites was when he brought Afghan children shoes and asked for his parents and others to send more shoes for these kids instead of any sort of gifts for him.
I liked the image of the families of the military gathering together as a family themselves. I also appreciated the brotherhood pictured among the Navy Seals teams.
My least favorite section of the book is a bit crass: Brown never backed down from a challenge, and so somehow along the way, he agreed to have his naked testicles on an anthill for a certain amount of time. Several others put in money, and when he made it through the "challenge," he earned all of the money that was put up. Mainly I was concerned that he put himself (and others) at risk over something so juvenile, because he was quite swollen afterwards and in bed for a couple of days, (if I remember correctly), even though he was on duty. He used the money to buy his wife a piece of jewelry she had admired but they could not afford. Afterwards, when the couple was with other couples in the military, the wives of the other men expressed wistfully that they wished their husbands had done that. I found that repulsive, actually, as well as just plain odd. Perry, if you are reading this, I never expect you to have your testicles bitten by insects and then buy me something with the money earned.
On the other hand, I was glad that the book was not white washed even though it was published by a Christian publishing company. While not laced with profanity or anything like that, there are some quotes that included questionable language or a curse word. I thought that the inclusion of those words, without going overboard, added legitimacy to the book.
I would recommend this book highly for those interested in military stories, as well as parental or teaching figures who may want encouragement in situations where those they love have gone astray or those they are responsible for are not exactly following protocol. It's an easy read, and while it doesn't flesh out all people in his life to the degree I would like, it does let us see how a life can change when given a chance.
I was given this book free of charge from the publisher. All opinions are my own.