Sunday, September 9, 2012

Book Review - No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account Of The Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden

I picked up a copy in the Atlanta airport, mostly because of the controversy which shows no sign of dieing down.  That means that I paid full price. 

The good:

It's a fast read, and it keeps moving quickly.  Navy SEAL Mark Owen got co-author help from Kevin Maurer, a war correspondent who pretty clearly knows how to write.  I got through most of the book before I landed in Albuquerque, and I'm not a particularly fast reader.

The bit about training is interesting, and something that I hadn't really seen before.  Equipment selection was detailed enough to appeal to the gun nut in me, but not so much that it would slow down the read for everyone else.

The description of the raid on Abbottabad is very good, but you need to read three quarters of the way into the book to get to it.  Quite frankly, this is why I shelled out full price for the book, and it delivered.

The 8 pages of diagrams of the mission, the compound, etc are very good indeed, and (I'm guessing here) may be why the DoD seems to be spitting nails mad about this book.

The less good:

I don't think that there's quite enough here for a whole book, and it shows.  Granted, mission training is interesting and all, but that makes up roughly half of the book.  I found myself flipping pages in these parts.  The book would have been better if instead it had given more examples/stories of missions that Owen went on in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And I understand that there's a lot of politics in the service, and a bunch of guys who want to climb the ranks more than they care about any particular mission.  We get it.  Next.

Lastly, the introduction which went on and on about "no classified information", "protect the secrecy of the organization" and all that had the stench of CYA on it.  Not sure that I buy all that.

The Bottom Line:

It's a decent, quick read.  If it's cheaper on Kindle, you might want to get it there.  I usually like books on dead trees, but I don't get the feeling that I'm going to go back and re-read this one.  It was worth the time, but maybe only worth it once.


Brad_in_IL said...


In the same Genre, I suggest you pick up a copy of "Lone Survivor" by Marcus Luttrell. He tells a totally compelling story.


Ian Argent said...

You wouldn't happen to know of someplace I can pay to get a non-DRM-encumbered copy? Particularly given the legal issues surrounding this book, I'd prefer to be in total control of the file.