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SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden Hardcover – November 8, 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 315 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“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


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. 
And there is more, including information that following the November 2011 "Border Incident" in which US Special Operations Forces killed 20 Pakistani soldiers, Pakistan moved surface to air missiles to the Afghan Border.  The source for this information was Pakistani and all of it has been cross-referenced.  
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (November 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 125000635X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250006356
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (315 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #786,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lisa Ann Paul on November 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read a lot of history books, and I find they tend to fall into two general categories -- a) those that are years in the writing, scholarly, exhaustively researched, extensively footnoted and annotated, and b) those that make history come alive. This book is clearly in the latter category. If you want to know what it's like to train to be a SEAL and to participate in a mission, this is that book. The author -- who was a Navy SEAL and for years has been involved in training Navy SEALs here and in Afghanistan and Iraq -- writes so descriptively, you'll feel the heat of the weapon in your hands, experience the jolt to your foot as you kick down the door in the Abbottabad compound and smell the musty air of Bin Laden's bedroom when you burst in.

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.
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By NH_Dad on November 18, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I find it strange how many of the reviewers who gave this read one star have never reviewed a single product on Amazon before! I sense a political desire to discredit the author and the truth because his account does not jive with the official "White House" account of what happened. I do know this, I read the book as I have read just about every book written on the Navy SEAL's, and I found it informative, exciting and more plausible than the "official" account of a "45 minute raid" and certainly more believable considering the author. My only reason for not giving it five stars is that it seems there was a rush to get this to print and the result was a few typos.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Chuck Pfarrer's SEAL Target Geronimo covers the length and breadth of the history of this mission. He explains the history of the SEAL Teams and what it takes to become a member of the elite force. His insight into the political machinations of the military, FBI, CIA and other government agencies as the web of intelligence tangles and twists is gut wrenching. No amount of news monitoring gave me the true story of what happened behind the scenes the way Pfarrer did as he described the domestic and foreign players in terrorist attacks from Lebanon to the US.
Bin Laden's evolution from a spoiled rich child to the most wanted terrorist in the world unfolds in vivid detail in these pages. Pfarrer answers the big questions "Why?" and "How?" He names the major players in the terror trade and tells us how America became the epicenter for attacks.
As a retired Navy SEAL, Pfarrer possesses the knowledge and experience to draw an accurate picture of the operators who brought down Bin Laden. The reader gets an intimate look into the training, personalities and strength of the men who risk their lives every day. SEALs have been lauded in the news recently with the killing of Bin Laden and the rescue from the Somali pirates but their covert missions are rarely in the press. Pfarrer brings to light the mind boggling skills and determination possessed by these heroic men. SEAL Target Geronimo is a vital piece of history vibrantly brought to life by Chuck Pfarrer and I highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is phenomenal and it makes sense. The official story from the White House changed multiple times, as if they were trying to make it "fit." Anyone who thinks OBL was sitting in his room as SEALS fought for around a half hour in a quiet neighborhood, then reached for his weapon and hid behind his wife, are not using common sense. He would have been fighting or prepared to fight and likely in a different location. Honestly, does the official story make ANY SENSE? It is obvious the SEALS surprised Bin Ladin, as this author asserts. Dropped on the roof and OBL dead in less than 2 minutes? OK, that makes sense!

Additionally, the personal attack on him and the comments from the White House are suspicious. If he were a "crack pot" or clueless, they would leave it alone. He simply isn't a "pawn." This is the only book officals have commented on, likely because it is correct and thus dangerous.

This guy is/was well connected and highly respected. In the spirit of "full disclosure," I had read a previous book by him called Warrior Soul. Once while on a plane and reading it, a former SEAL was sitting next to me. He told me Chuck Pfarrer was a legend. Legends are typically well connected.

The books is a terrific "read" and common sense dictates, the most accurate account.
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