Many may disagree with this book being written, with Matt Bissonnette breaking his oath of secrecy as a Seal and a member of the US Armed Forces. I am...moreMany may disagree with this book being written, with Matt Bissonnette breaking his oath of secrecy as a Seal and a member of the US Armed Forces. I am in no doubt that he has indeed done so. He has publicly stated, and does so in the book, that his reasons are first and foremost that he felt such an important mission should be documented and in the public domain. He knew he would catch a lot of flack for it. He decided to sacrifice his own honor for the public good - the good of reminding all of us the work these men and woman do and the sacrifices they have to make themselves, over and over again, because they believe in a higher purpose. I believe they are role models for that reason.
I agree with him. I feel this story does indeed deserve to be in the public domain. To be a part of the public written record of a significant part of our recent history. I found it very doubtful the book and its contents present any kind of security risk to US policy and personnel. There is nothing in the book that was not already well known and understood about how the US special forces operate, anyone who likes to read about this kind of thing understands this. And I take him at his word this this is his primary motive. His heart seems to be in the right place. If anything, the way he has spoken about his book, he sometimes comes across as a little naive, which I find blameless. This is not a complicated man to understand. Those who are going out of their way seeking anterior motives for his "betrayal" might well be wasting their time. To quote Hitchens: "It is a frequent vice of radical polemic to assert, and even to believe, that once you have found the lowest motive for an antagonist, you have identified the correct one."[sic]
The presentation of the events in the book is pretty matter-of-fact. A lot of it is told in flashback form, with looparounds and digressions until we come back to the actual mission. Much of the book covers his relationships to his comrades, and their shared experiences. You can tell he has a deep love and loyalty for his friends in the teams, if not always a great respect for the chain of command and the high-er ups. What surprised me the most is the level of freedom these operators are given to do their jobs. Very few regulations relating to their dress, appearance and kit. What struck me most is his apparently level-headedness. You get the feeling he is of a very calm temperament, and so are his colleagues. I also got that impression from his interview on 60-minutes (see youtube), which prompted me to read the book.
Bissonnette is not a professional writer, so do not expect all too much from the quality of the writing style. However, having said that, I found the book riveting and hard to put down. (less)
Excellent! Very complete work. Well researched. A great look into the current state of research into the cultural, historical, physiological and anthr...moreExcellent! Very complete work. Well researched. A great look into the current state of research into the cultural, historical, physiological and anthropological sources of violence in human society. (and their decline)
By already having somewhat of an interest in this area, the conclusions of the book where not that surprising to me. However, the wide referencing and explanation of sources and methodologies employed, makes this book so much more valuable than just a reference sheet of facts. The book presents its case so very very well, with thoroughly thought out and well-supported arguments.
I have strongly recommended this book to many of my friends, however its sheer length scares some of them off. Also the minutiae of some of the methodologies can be rather dry to get through at some points throughout the book, but they are a very minor and rare roadblock.