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VINE VOICEon September 15, 2012
"No Easy Day" begins like a James Bond movie with the flight into bin Laden's compound--and the helicopter crash. The book then takes us readers back in time to give context to the raid. The book has a section of photos showing SEAL stuff and a second section of graphics detailing the events of the raid from infiltration to exfiltration.
Murphy's Law is illustrated throughout the book. The author doesn't stray from what he knows--the pointy end of the spear--to explain the helicopter crash or how intelligence was developed over more than a decade. On the other hand "Mark Owen" does cover those subjects.
I do quibble. On page 60 the Bradley Fighting Vehicle is described in error as being armed with a 20mm turret gun. The turret of the M-2 BFV has a twin TOW launcher (wire-guided anti-tank missiles, Saddam's sons were clobbered by some of these), an M240 coaxial machine gun in 7.62mm NATO, and a 25mm Bushmaster cannon. The latter has two magazines: a 70 round magazine that usually is loaded with armor piercing rounds capable of killing Russian T-72 tanks `up close' (in tank combat terms) and a 230 round magazine usually loaded with high explosive cannon shells (which also proved capable of taking out the T-72) plus 600 more 25mm cannon rounds stowed. The gunner can select which of the magazines with a flick of a switch and also pick rate of fire. The "effective range" of the 25mm Bushmaster Chain Gun is 3000 meters, and its intended mission was "suppressing" SAGGER anti-tank missile crews to protect the M-1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. The 20mm wouldn't be able to do that. On page 259 the text says that the Pakistani F-16 was armed with 30mm cannon--my best information is that these ex-USAF F-16's have the standard 20mm M-61 Vulcan multi-barrel cannon with a maximum 511 rounds of cannon ammunition. Foreign F-16 operators frequent the Hill Aerospace Museum where I volunteer as a receptionist, and I spoke to several Pakistani airmen over the past few months as they attended various F-16 workshops.
Like I said, I quibble!
Nothing was mentioned about the Blackhawk used in the raid being stealthy. By the way, the movie, "Blue Thunder" (1983)
Blue Thunder (Special Edition) mentioned that the helicopter stealth technology was in service--but "No Easy Day" didn't mention that the Blackhawk was stealthy or standard!
The controversy over "No Easy Day" is of the same kind that this movie covers: "The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell," The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell and for the same reason. Dwight D. Eisenhower was threatened with court martial, too, when he completed a 1920 paper on the tank. "Mark Owen" signed a non-disclosure agreement against releasing classified information, but prosecutions are more often for revealing information that is less than flattering to the politicians in power. The author states that he is donating the proceeds of his book to three charities (page 299).
Of course, his statement on page 249 that Osama bin Laden didn't man up and fight to the death might be the reason that the Department of Defense is angry. Or perhaps it is the shoddy way the SEALs were treated by the White House? That's standard for all administrations--regardless of which party "owns" the White House. It's something that military people understand--we're dirt and they are the beautiful people. It's been that way for years. America's military is non-partisan--though Abe Lincoln may owe re-election to the military vote in 1864. On page 298 "Owens" states: "Of course, the raid is now being used in a political wrestling match as both parties fight for the White House. The mission was never about that for the twenty-four men who climbed aboard the helicopters that night. Politics are for the Washington, D.C., policy makers who safely watched the action on a video monitor from thousands of miles away."
On the other hand, the release of "No Easy Day" on September 11, 2012 can be interpreted as a move to influence the November elections. But the book didn't really expose classified means and techniques; these have been exhibited in many other places, many other times over the past thirty years. I did mention "Blue Thunder."
"No Easy Day" was an enjoyable read. Get a copy. If you must, wait until after you cast your ballot in November so that you aren't "influenced" by "Mark Owen"--but it shouldn't make a difference. The Beltway Bandits are out of touch with what happens on the sharp end of the spear--just as the Thin Red Line is out of touch with the politician's world.
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on September 18, 2012
This book is excellent, being a Veteran I greatly appreciate the insight this brave SEAL wrote about the most publicized "Covert Op" in America's History. I do not see where anything is this book would put fellow SEALs or National Security at risk at anyplace in the book. The media already gave most of that when they showed the compound etc. Keep in mind however this book is about Mike's career as a SEAL not just the raid he takes you on making the cut for SEAL Team 6, to jumping out of a C-17 over the Indian Ocean during the Capt. Phillips Rescue. This book is awesome to see how SEALs actually live and work day to day. To a SEAL this is not a job it is a Passion and not enough can be said about this man who decided to "leave the reservation" and write this book. Now the same government he took an oath to defend is trying to put him in jail for telling what actually happened on the inside of the building. The media already told us everything else he just filled in the blanks. Those who called him a traitor are, in my view, wrong.
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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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on September 25, 2012
An excellent no BS account of a historical event and what it took for the hand picked team to get there. The book flows through events and prior training of the main character and he portrays his feelings on the significance of the titled mission. Though I am not a former Navy SEAL myself, I have been stationed at many of the bases described in the book during my career in the Navy and as a Army Contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the descriptions of these places are very clear in the book. However, though many the locations were described well, many key places or names of these places were left out, so I am not sure where the American government says there was classified information in this book. Most of what was described about the SEALS in this book is public knowledge and can be found through research. Once I started reading I could not put the book down and felt similar feelings the characters felt once the mission to take Osama down was completed. Unless one is an actual Navy SEAL or in Special Forces, no book can describe 100% of what it takes to be one and what feels like to be the best of the best, but this book touches on this from time to time.
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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 September 16, 2012
No Easy Day is the story of Osama Bin Laden`s last few moments on this earth as seen through the eyes of a Navy Seal. This book tells of the preparation that an elite Seal team went through to make sure that this mission went out as flawlessly as possible. It's the step-by-step story of the compound from entry to exit, and the aftermath of the mission from the eyes of a Navy Seal. No Easy Day isn't only about this single assignment. Mark Owen has written a story about his time as a Seal, from the difficult testing to become an elite Seal Team Six member, through several missions, and up until his retirement.

This is Mark Owen's story, written in first person, and I found the account of his days as a Navy Seal fascinating. I purchased the book for a couple of reasons, mainly because of some morbid curiosity I had about Osama Bin Laden's death. I wanted to know if a big gun battle took place, if there were followers at the compound fanatically dedicated to protecting him. I wanted to know if he hid with his family, and what sort of defenses he had around his compound. I wanted to know all that and more, and I wanted to hear it from someone who was there. This book answers the important questions - the ones I was most concerned about.

This isn't just a story about the final minutes of Osama Bin Laden's life. It's the story of a Navy Seal, from a his perspective. It talks about earlier missions in Afghanistan, and a high profile job of rescuing a marine captain, Richard Phillips, from Somali pirates. He writes a bit about growing up in Alaska, and his obsession with becoming a Seal from a young age. On some Amazon reviews I've read people are complaining because the book isn't just about Osama Bin Laden, but I found the background intriguing, making the book as a whole more interesting because it shows what it took for Mark Owen to be a Seal. It showed the dedication required to be a Navy Seal, and if it weren't for that dedication and hard work the storming of Osama Bin Laden's compound might not have happened without a loss of life.

As far as the writing goes...well, the story could have probably been told with a bit more flair. That's not to say that it was full of spelling or grammatical errors - I'm sure I probably have more of those in this review than existed in all of Mark Owen's book. (I call my own errors "Easter Eggs" just so it sounds better.) No, the writing style was a bit dry at times, though every chapter held my attention fully, but I was always left wanting a bit more. For instance, he describes his team mates, but I never got a true sense of who they were. I did get a good sense of Mr. Owen himself, and he is a character that the reader is drawn to. He's a man who deserves the title of hero, though he seems humble in his writing. Mark Owen tells of simply doing his job with the help of brave men like himself.

I don't know about the eBook version, or the paperback copies, but the hardcover edition of No Easy Day has several pages of full color photographs of Afghanistan, and Mark's gear. As an added bonus there's detailed images of the Osama compound that lays out what took place during the mission.

So, if you're looking to learn how a member of Seal Team Six lives this book is for you. If you simply want to know the details of how Osama Bin Laden died then this book's for you too, but you're going to need to start reading around page 150. If you're looking for a political agenda then I believe you're looking in the wrong place. Mark notes a few personal opinions of President Obama, but nothing that isn't obvious, and pretty typical running for all politicians. If you're looking for secrets that the government doesn't want you to know then this book isn't for you. Mr. Owen doesn't mention strategies, weapons, or technology that we don't already know about, and that might be what I feel is missing at times. Maybe he was holding back so that the Seals will still have a surprise or two for the bad guys?

Was this the most exciting book I've read this year? Probably not, but considering that the majority of my reading is Fantasy and Science Fiction says a lot about it. I rarely read autobiographies, so the fact that I read though this one, and did it in just a couple of days, it quite a compliment. It even got me to visit Netflix and stream Black Hawk Down when I finished the story.

So, if you haven't read it yet then get a copy. It's a pretty good read, and it answers a lot of questions about the final moments of the world's most renowned terrorist. There's a final plus side. According to Mr. Owen, most of the proceeds from the book will go to charities that help out Navy Seals and their families.
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on September 4, 2017
It is difficult to really discern the author's purpose in writing this book. Sometimes it sounds as if he is bragging, and yet others he sincerely sounds as if he wants to tell the true story of the raid. I have worked with a SEAL team. The most dangerous thing about them is they don't give up and believe they are invincible as a group. The interesting thing is that you get that message from their actions, not bragging. Hard for me to reconcile, but a fun and interesting read.
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on July 19, 2017
I liked the way it was written all except for the cussing. I know most people think everybody talks that way all the time, and I also understand that high stress situations cause it also. Every thing else was well written, understandable, and clear. I appreciate the authors humility and lack of arrogance. I am glad I read this book and understand how it really happened. I saw Mark Owen on TV (appearance altered) and was interested to learn more.
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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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on September 20, 2012
I read most of the comments about this book before buying and almost didn't buy the book. The reviews seemed to be all or nothing. Either people loved the book, or they were put off by it because of other motives. First off, I have read several other SF books and didn't really find this book to be much different from them. I realize that it takes a special type of person to be in SF and have always appreciated their sacrifices to do their job. What the SF community does in protecting the interests of our country is invaluable. So, with that being said, I didn't really find this book to be more bravado than any other book that I've read. Personally, I really liked the book and found it to be a good read and a very good story that I was extremely interested in. This story was 10-11 years in the making and I thought the author wrote from a very unique perspective of being involved in the Seal community from the time of 9/11 until the end of OBL.

Secondly, I had read and heard about all of the political cynicism that was supposedly in this book, but didn't find anything more or less than what I've read in any other book. There were certain comments or statements that were made that I really likened to how a lot of us would write about a previous boss we worked for that seemed to make our work life a little more difficult. Even then, I really didn't get a sense of this book being politically slanted one way or the other.

Third, there was a lot of talk about the amount of info that was released in the book that might compromise national security or compromise the inner-workings of SF operations. There wasn't anything more said in this book that again, I hadn't read about before in other books. Also, I had heard about more details of the operation through news services than what was presented in the book. Now for technical accuracy, I don't have a comment on that. There could've been certain details that were wrong or not and I wouldn't particularly know either way.

Bottom line, there are a lot of comments about this book being made that I just didn't see in the book. I read this book from the start looking to see if everything that was being said was indeed in the book and written the way it was being talked about. For me, this was just a good book about a very important event that I was interested and I liked the book. Is the book a 100% account of exactly what happened? I don't know. I do know that I don't take what I hear from news services or organizations as 100% accurate either and I certainly don't classify myself as a conspiracy theorist by any means. If you're interested in SF books, then read the book and draw your own conclusions.
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