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Battle Ready: Memoir of a Navy SEAL Warrior Medic

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  545 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
The gripping memoir of Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart recipient SEAL Lieutenant Mark L. Donald

As A SEAL and combat medic, Mark served his country with valorous distinction for almost twenty-five years and survived some of the most dangerous combat actions imaginable.

From the rigors of BUD/S training to the horrors of the battlefield, Battle Ready dr
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 11th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published May 8th 2012)
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Sarah Eiseman
Mar 18, 2013 Sarah Eiseman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-memoir
Originally posted on

This book was a recently published memoir by Mark L. Donald, with Scott MacTavish. Many memoirs that I read go into great detail on very specific historical events. Especially with SEAL memoirs, much time is spent on the indoctrination and training of the SEAL, as that’s such a major part of those individuals’ lives. This book does not minimize any of that, but its focus is on the internal story of Mark Donald.

This is the first book that I’ve read in a lo
Tracey Cramer-Kelly
Oct 10, 2013 Tracey Cramer-Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This was an excellent memoir. Honest, humble, not political (although he makes some good points toward the end about needing to define what “winning” means). The writer spends several chapters describing in detail a pivotal event - the event that likely laid the foundation for his later struggles with PTSD. It’s hard for me to believe he can recall every detail, especially in the heat of a firefight, but I found it very compelling.

He doesn’t go into a lot of detail about his PTSD; like so many,
Connie Clarstrom
What an amazing story! Mark Donald gives an extremely though-provoking memoir, ideal for those who want to better understand the hearts and minds of our military men and women who are coping with the effects of combat stress. He gives a very personal account of his journey, first as a young man looking for direction and meaning in life who joins the marines, then as a combat medic and SEAL, and finally in his many support roles on returning from combat. In this story, the reader gets views of th ...more
Lia Silver
Intriguing but also frustrating memoir of a SEAL medic (like it says on the can.) The story Donald tells - growing up in a poor Latino family in Albuquerque, New Mexico, becoming a SEAL, fighting in Afghanistan, coming home and struggling with PTSD - is fascinating. But he tends to bring up issues and stories, then skim over them without getting into depth.

I completely understand that much of his military career is still classified, but I'm talking about other things. He mentions that there was
Christopher Hedges
Two things That I found interesting about this book:

1. The struggle that must exist in a combat medic who has to coexist as both shooter and life saver, and all of the personal struggles that come along with those issues.

2. Mark was the first SEAL I read about that actually started out as a special operations member of another branch of the Military. Mark originally started out as part of Marine Force Recon, and I find it interesting how he maintains his ties to both groups. Every other memoir o
Frank Casson
Mar 15, 2013 Frank Casson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mark has done an outstanding job in his description of PTSD. The cause, the affect, and the sometimes deter mental effects of PTSD. A SEAL warrior turned Doctor, turned warrior again. The agony of loss, the UN-known of mental health issues. Then, we see the redemption and determination of this warrior.Mark's book is a help for all of us battle survivors.He shows how the elite of the elite suffer and seek help. This book gives me the courage to continue on in my daily struggle. Mark's book offers ...more
The idea of this book intrigued me. I wasn't sure what to expect of the book, but I found it very moving. This book is amazing, heartbreaking, and empowering all in one. To see what he faced, and how his role as a medic and a warrior oftentimes clashed, and how he finally managed to come out of it still in one piece is very stirring. At some points, he got a little too political but overall the book is quite good and well worth reading.
Katrina Schriver-teribury
AMAZING BOOK! Truly cannot say enough good things about this book? Wonderfully written with the usual SEAL book/author encounter at BUD/S. I enjoyed the start from home life and the hardship there right til the end with a Tha just sayin in the notes to his mom.
Very good example of what a super tough guy (as every SEAL is presumed to be) who not only has to kill by is the expected to save lives. Something I'd never thought of before.
Super informative about the stressors and triggers of PTSD. An
Chris Barrow
Mar 24, 2015 Chris Barrow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book; really enjoyed it. Great perspective about the stress soldiers deal with after they return from combat
Anthony Kelly
Jun 16, 2014 Anthony Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: done

Feb 14, 2017 Annette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is enough detail to keep me interested, and I didn't see the PTSD part of it coming in the last half. He explains PTSD symptoms very well.
Jake Danishevsky
Sep 07, 2015 Jake Danishevsky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Battle Ready is an incredible journey of a Recon Marine, turned Navy Seal and then Naval Medic. A life of personal accomplishments, personal struggles and personal fight to put his life back together as many war time heroes have to deal with.

I personally never knew about a lot of those life struggles by our brave men and women who wear their uniforms proudly, but mainly do it in order for the rest of us to have freedoms and sleep better at nights. While many of us enjoy the opportunities that th
Jun 08, 2013 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to read about a remarkable Marine and Navy SEAL, a man from meager beginnings but with big dreams, this is the book for you. Starting with how he entered the service, how he entered SEAL training, and got his life started in Special Operations, it then flows about 1/3rd of the way in to combat operations in Afghanistan, describing in detail about a few missions that really could have, but by the grace of God did not, take his life. His actions there alone will grip you until you real ...more
Feb 10, 2013 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway-reads
I received “Battle Ready” through a Goodreads Advanced Readers contest. Liked the story a lot but didn’t love some of the scripting … might have been better a biography rather than a memoir.

The book – loved the story but the book was a bit over the top. While all of America’s real ‘heroes’ shun the title, it must have been said a dozen times in the book. After a while it just came across as self-serving. Once or twice would have been enough. Sometimes in reading around the terms brother and bud
May 21, 2013 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book to read because of this sentence in the description: "Battle Ready dramatically immerses the reader in the unique life of the elite warrior-medic who advances into combat with life-saving equipment in one hand and life-taking weapons in the other."

I was interested to find out how a man would handle those conflicting ideals and emotions. Mr. Donald does an excellent job revealing his inner struggles, and the incredible sacrifice he and others have made in the name of our co
*I won this book via Goodreads giveaways - thank you!*

I'm as surprised as anybody that I couldn't finish this book. I wanted to love it. Then I just wanted to like it. Then I just wanted to finish it. And now I'm giving up.
As a history nerd who is fascinated with the development of international relations and military operations since Vietnam, I was pretty excited for this book. In The Company of Heroes is one of my all-time favorite reads, and I figured that Battle Ready would be in that same
I listened to the audio book of this, so a few notes on the recording first: I found the volume varied quite a bit, and sometimes I felt I was being yelled at, which was a pain. The narrator's version of an Irish accent was...underwhelming, but amusing. The interview at the end was kind of surplus to requirements.

Having just finished Seven Troop, I found myself comparing the two books a bit. Basically, they felt much the same - a very in-depth look at a soldier's experiences during their time i
Sheri St.
I enjoyed the perspective of a medic/physician assistant that this book offered. Donald described his experiences in the military and what led him to focus more on medicine. He also wrote of battle situations and how those changed him, initially in a very negative way. Donald was able to work through the impact that battle field experiences had on him by utilizing the help of his family, mentors and medical professionals. He acknowledges that he still deals with the effects of having been in com ...more
Morgan Barnes
A very interesting individual that has had to learn how to deal with the scars of war in a very personal way. While the first half of the book was a bit slow providing the background to how the author grew up and what he went through before completing PA school was necessary to provide a complete picture for what was to come... The second half was very absorbing and helped me appreciate some of what our warriors have to face on a daily basis. Mark Donald was a dichotomy - of two worlds that were ...more
Mike Lopez
Jun 07, 2013 Mike Lopez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put this down. It was not what I was expecting but it turned out better. Despite being a former Army medic the author's honesty gave me an understanding that I never had before about post-traumatic stress and war. It also made a lot more sense to me about a friend that has come home experiencing many of the things he talked about. I was a little disappointed with leaving out some of the names of units and people but it never hurt the story just my curiosity but I found out about the h ...more
Apr 20, 2013 Carolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Battle Ready: Memoir of a SEAL Warrior Medic
Author: Mark L. Donald

I thought this book was a good read. I've read SEAL books but wanted to read this one because of the "Medic" parts it contained.
Mark Donald did a good job with the telling of his story, which begins with his childhood and on into his retirement. Mark told of his PTSD and his internal struggles. The book was descriptive and engaging. I would recommend this book to someone who is interested in this genre, which I have and he read it
Donald was a Recon Marine before he decided to serve as a medic. He transferred to the Navy (Marines are supported by Navy medics) and then became a Navy Seal. Very impressive. But this book is more about his struggles with PTSD and with the calling of warrior and medic. How can you save and take a life at the same time?

Why I started this book: It was just returned to the library and I snagged it from the return shelf.

Why I finished it: Donald wrote this book to help veterans, to start conversat
Apr 15, 2013 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It was great timing as I finished reading it the day before Memorial Day. I know that our military makes such a huge sacrifice for us every day, and I am so very thankful for that. But it made such a difference to me to read a first hand account of one person's experience & the aftermath of being in a war. It really made it that much more real of an understanding for me. I appreciate and respect our military and veterans even more.
Sep 02, 2014 Ryan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
okay. style was popular. as in, lots of "such and such was the way we'd always done this thing, and this time was no exception." getting past the style, I wish there was as much introspection in the bulk of the book as there was toward the end, when he talked at great and valuable length about his PTSD. his voice is very appealing. honest and caring. this is not at all a medical memoir. it's a soldier memoir. (I read a lot of the former and kind of hoped this would be one.)
Mike Kollmansberger
While reading this book I found myself growing agitated with the author. I was about to put it down but hate doing so. He wasn't taking responsibility for his choices and was cloaking his ambition in false humility. I kept reading. The action he saw in the Middle East was intense. But his vivid depiction of his fight with PTSD was moving, sobering and drew me to heartfelt compassion. After finishing this I too want to help our veterans that suffer. I wish I knew how. Thank you Mark.
Kara Larson
Very interesting and thought provoking book by a Navy SEAL Physician Assistant. The author traces his life and service with a specific focus on combat stress issues/PTSD of warriors and veterans. I feel more educated on these combat issues after reading this book and especially appreciated the author's appeal to all Americans to support these men and women with specifics of how to do so, starting with just being available to listen.
Chad Brady
Jan 15, 2017 Chad Brady rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If your looking for a book that is filled with war stories and information concerning strategy and battles fought, this is not the book for you. However, if you are looking for a greater appreciation to the stresses and what our brave servicemen who fought in battles went through mentally both at home and abroad, you will enjoy this book!
Angela Allen
Oct 30, 2015 Angela Allen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good biography. You get a tiny peek into how hard the adjustment is from battle to home. Also you get the perspective of a medic/soldier and choices that are made. It also gave me a better understanding of PTSD and what some men and women may go through.
Matt Sparling
This book was just ok for me. Parts of it I really enjoyed and parts were pretty poor. I think a little bit better editing would have helped. Given all of that it was still worth the time to read about this versatile soldier.
Max Balestra
I've got a great respect for Mark L. Donald and what he has achieved for himself and done for others in the course of his life. But with all due respect, this book is slow and boring. The story of such a man could have been told much better.
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MARK L. DONALD, the son of a retired U.S. Army Warrant Officer and a Mexican mother, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps before transferring to the Navy to train as a Corpsman. He subsequently completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training and served in SEALs until 1996 when he was selected for the Intra-service Physician Assistant Program. He graduated with a degree from the University ...more
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“SEALs are warriors in every sense of the word: men who actually go into combat on missions that bring them eye to eye with their enemy, up close and personal. Even their methods of insertion are extremely dangerous; parachute jumps, submarine launches, and ocean swims in treacherous seas are very serious business. I guess that's why I find it hard to accept how our society tosses around the word "warrior" when describing an athlete, businessman, or even a politician. To me the term "warrior" is a sacred one characterizing a lifestyle of personal sacrifice. A warrior's training is continuous in order to maintain a constant state of readiness, often taking him away from the ones he loves and those he's sworn to protect. A warrior does this not for reward but for a chance to join his brothers on a high-risk mission. It doesn't sound like any civilian occupation I know of.” 2 likes
“There were good men in Afghanistan, men like those who made up our Afghan force, but most were mired in ancient traditions and their deep-seated ambivalence toward women troubled me. If they didn't have the strength to stand up against the persecution of their own flesh and blood, then how could we expect them to have the strength to support a centralized government? We had already done the heavy lifting by freeing them from the oppression of the Taliban; it was their responsibility to move their country ahead and take advantage of the freedom. I could accept dying trying to free the oppressed of the world, but not one American life was worth sacrificing for people willing to accept tyranny.” 1 likes
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