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SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden Hardcover – November 8, 2011
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“A marvelously engrossing account of the military operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden...Richly told in broad, cinematic strokes, this is catnip for readers who enjoy special-ops tales.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“The book is more than just a high-adventure black ops thriller. It is a work of historical importance that sets the record straight about our struggle against forces dedicated to rebuilding an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East... It is a book you will read as you walk on the sidewalk because you do not want the action to stop.” ―Neil W. McCabe, Human Events
“Pfarrer certainly had access. A SEAL Team Six assault-element commander in the 1980s, he is known inside the intelligence community for his well-regarded first book, Warrior Soul...He clearly had detailed conversations with senior officers in the SEALs' chain of command (especially Adm. William McRaven and then–SEAL Team Six commander Scott Kerr) and understands the vocabulary and the culture very well...SEAL Target Geronimo explodes a number of media myths about the raid to kill bin Laden...There was no "45-minute" running gun battle. The SEAL team fired only 12 bullets, and the whole operation lasted only 38 minutes...The most provocative part of the book is pure speculation: by killing bin Laden, did the SEALs accidentally do Zawahiri's dirty work?... As the British Foreign Office used to famously say: 'Interesting, if true.'” ―Richard Miniter, The Daily Beast
“Chuck Pfarrer writes with the brilliant eye of a novelist and the real-world authority of a soldier who has fought in the world's most mysterious corners. He's not only a poet and soldier, but also a deeply read historian. Pfarrer has written a true page-turner about the inside story of Operation Neptune's Spear. There is enough action here, enough human drama, enough fascinating history, to keep you reading until dawn--you simply have to know what happens next. SEAL Target Geronimo is first-rate storytelling. It's an amazing story, written about a world no one knows better than Chuck Pfarrer himself.” ―Doug Stanton, author of In Harm's Way and Horse Soldiers
From the Author
THE DEFINITIVE ACCOUNT OF THE SEAL
NEW IN THE PAPERBACK EDITION
Three new chapters of Information from newly declassified documents captured in the raid as well as a blockbuster independent investigation conducted by Pakistani Brigadeer General (Ret) Shukat Qadir, who interviewed military and ISI personnel as well as debriefing eyewitness and undertaking a guided tour of the bin Laden residence hours after the raid.
The new chapters include detailed information on:
- OBL's exact locations for the ten years he was on the run in Pakistan
- The locations of Ayman Zawahiri and Mullah Omar.
- An analysis of declassified papers taken by ST6 from Abbottabad
- Al Qaeda's planned attack on the Pakistani nuclear weapons facility at Kahuta
- Al Qaeda's plan to use poison gas in Yemen (from a letter dated six days before OBL's death)
- Information taken from an independent Pakistani investigation of the raid to include previously unknown details of CIA's pre mission reconnaissance
- The code name of Dr. Shekel Afridi's CIA controller and details about the "Hepatitis Screening Program" that eventually located OBL
- New details about Al Qaeda's kidnapping of an Iranian diplomat to trade for Khairee bin Laden (Wife #1) who was being held in Tehran
- Details of OBLs detailed planning for the transfer of his wife after the prisoner exchange with the Iranians.
- New details on CIA's phone call to the compound two nights before the raid
- Information obtained during Pakistan's nearly year long interrogation of OBL's surviving wives and children
- Information from the Pakistani first responders who entered the compound only minutes after the helicopters had left.
- Connecting the dots on who the US closed in after the arrival of Khairee bin Laden, as well as the capture of Bali Bomber Umer Patik in Abbottabad a mere four months prior to the raid
- Eye witness testimony about the raid from OBL's widows and Children, as well as Pakistani neighbors who saw the entire raid.
- Confirmation from eye witnesses who saw the helicopter crash in the middle of the operation and not at the beginning.
- Details about Pakistani fighters who were scrambled and nearly shot down the US helicopters as they retreated.
- More details about the "special access granted to Boal and Bigelow--confirmed by Freedom of Information Act requests that show DoD and WH emails confirming that the two SONY Studios filmmakers were give the names of ST6 operators unlawfully.
Top customer reviews
What I didn't expect, and the book delivered, were chapters that put the mission in context -- including the geopolitical context going back decades, and the preparation for this particular mission through the context of the last several decades of SEAL missions. One element I particularly appreciated in the book was the section that gave a background to what made Bin Laden Bin Laden. It's popular to think that he sprung up from nowhere as a fully formed monster. But many factors made him the man he was who did the things he did. Chuck writes so vividly -- well, you don't exactly sympathize with Bin Laden -- but you do have an idea what it would have been like to BE him. That accomplishment takes a special and rare kind of historian and, I think, represents the main value of this book. A value that will stand even decades from now when the mission is declassified and someone has the extensive time and many research assistants it will take to write the fully annotated, exhaustively researched definitive account of the killing of Bin Laden. Perhaps Chuck will be that person. Perhaps it will be someone else. Perhaps, as is usually the case, it will take several books for the reader to be able to get "the full story".
I do want to address the negative reviewers -- not the one-star troll flamers who have never reviewed on Amazon before this and clearly have never read this book -- but the people who bought the book and thought it wasn't "extensive" enough. You do know the years and years of work that goes into those sorts of books? I doubt we'll ever have a more definitive book on Seabiscuit than Laura Hillenbrand's or a more multi-leveled biography of Kit Carson and his impact on the American West than Hampton Sides', but it took both of those authors nearly a decade to research and write each of their books. They also had the advantage of being able to stand on others' shoulders as they had access to a wealth of history, research, newspaper and contemporary accounts of their subjects and the gift of distance to put it all into perspective.
Chuck's book is first out of the gate and, it does have the advantage of his first-hand research -- both in his role as a contractor involved with the training of SEALs, his former service as a member of the elite SEAL Team Six and his primary research here and in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, not only did he not have Hillenbrand or Side's luxury of time for research, he was dealing with a subject for which many details are classified and necessitated that, even if he was privy to some of those details, he omit or obscure them for security's sake. It's a huge burden on a historian, but, as I contend, when the exhaustively researched, annotated account of the Bin Laden mission comes out, this book will still stand -- as a visceral description of how the mission went down.
frankly, most military books are either excessively technical and a constant barrage of acronyms, or, they are some chest beating rant that gets old by the second chapter. this book explains in plain english and without all the "hoo-rah" you get with most military writers.
i think its a must read if you want to know more about OBL and his history, legacy and motives.
I think the guys have genuine gripes and maybe this was a legit way of airing them. They certainly have my respect. To attain then maintain that level of fitness, awareness and focus is really cutting edge physical and mental achievement. Without giving too much away, operations are clearly and convincingly described in the book. I think about as much has been said as could be said, but it is enough to allow insight into how the team functions. I liked the Zen references which highlight the levels of mental and physical control required in extreme situations. The brief references to technology used were also very interesting with enough detail provided to allow visualization of how different aspects come together in general terms.
No need to question Chuck's credibility, holding the position he did, obviously he would have had to have the absolute trust of team members he was training.
It was also a bonus to have an account of the Maesk Alabama mission included which helps to give a broader picture of how the team operates.
I had followed General McChrystal's falling out with the Administration earlier and found that many of the issues raised in this book are consistent with observations he had made back then.
Wishing Chuck and members of the team safe passage.
Most recent customer reviews
It came in new condition with no shipping damage. No breaking of the spine or creases. It was well received and well read.