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Zero Footprint: The True Story of a Private Military Contractor's Covert Assignments in Syria, Libya, and the World's Most Dangerous Places
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Zero Footprint: The True Story of a Private Military Contractor's Covert Assignments in Syria, Libya, and the World's Most Dangerous Places

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  273 ratings  ·  39 reviews
An insider account of the shadowy world of private military contracting.

Simon Chase's life is a maze of burner phones, encrypted emails, secret meetings, and weaponry--all devoted to executing missions too sensitive for government acknowledgment. Working for the CIA's Special Activities Division, the U.S. DoD, the U.S. State Department, and British government entities, Cha
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 12th 2016 by Mulholland Books
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4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  273 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Randal White
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, war
UPDATED: Upon reading the reviews of this book on Amazon, it appears that the author has taken license with the truth. It may be that the author did not participate in any of the situations listed. That being said, I still found this to be a very good read, and in the case that it is all fiction, shame on the author.
An incredible story! Chase (alias), a British Special Forces soldier who found himself an early retirement due to injury, continues his career as a private military contractor (PMC)
Aaron Cochrill
Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read the reviews that claim this is not real or mostly fabricated. I am not in a position to judge or estimate if the information the author gives is real or not. It's up to him to maintain that integrity. I was more interested in how he went from military to being a PMC and how their tactics and "missions" were established. It read a lot more like a novel, but I found it entertaining and engaging. The author was fairly descriptive of places, situations, etc. but not overly graphic in a couple ...more
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book on PMCs who are doing the dirty jobs that Governments wants done without their footprint. Brings up details of covert jobs of failed missions to trace Bin Laden and delayed entry for helping the Syrian rebels. Those who like books relating to war zone activities this is very attention gripper.
Anthony Powers
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book "Zero Footprint" by Simon Chase was a fantastic book. What I liked about it was how Simon told what it was like in missions, his experiences, lessons he learned, and why he joined the military.
Simon also told stories that happened at base camp. I also like how Simon used abbreviations but in the beginning of the book he told us what they mean't for. I rate this book a 4. Simon Chase can improve on many things like, telling about more experiences, how many years it took him to be where h
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
I first found "Zero Footprint" in the Georgetown University bookshop and needless to say, the title itself drew my attention. However after reading the first chapters of this book, I found myself wondering, is this real? There was just something odd about the way it was written. A bit too relaxed for a book of a supposedly serious nature. Ignoring the first thoughts of doubt creeping into my mind I continued reading. But as I got towards the end, it felt more like the script of a bad Michael Bay ...more
Ethan Ankenbrandt
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ethan Ankenbrandt
November 23, 2016
English 331
Zero Footprint

The author's purpose for the book Zero Footprint is to show the strength of a solider after getting wounded and being able to recover. The book is all about strength because being in harmful situations, you have to think fast and keep you head in all the things that are going on around you. The author was able to tell and show this in his book by it being a true story. I think the audience for this book is older teens and adults becau
Jul 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: topical
Interesting read, apparently discredited. I enjoyed the storytelling but cannot say if it's real or fiction, but then again, I assume most first person non-fiction is exaggerated or fictionalized either by choice or the vagaries of memory.
Mozammel Hossain Toha
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: political
শিরোনামে লিবিয়ার নাম এবং পারসোনাল অভিজঞতা দেখে পড়তে আগরহী হয়েছিলাম। কিনতু পরথম চযাপটারে কাতারের যে বরননা পড়লাম, তাতেই মনে হলো কাহিনী বাসতবতা আর কলপনার মিশেলে তৈরি। জামপ করে তাই আফগানিসতান আর লিবিয়ার অংশগুলো পড়ে শেষ করলাম।

লেখকদের আসল পরিচয় বইয়ে বা অনয কোথাও পরকাশ করা হয়নি, ছদমনাম বযবহার করা হয়েছে। ফলে এই ধরনের বইকে সিরিয়াসলি নেওয়া কঠিন। লিবিয়ার অংশগুলো পড়ে যা বুঝলাম, লেখক দুইজন সমভবত আসলেই পরাইভেট মিলিটারি কনটরাকটর ছিলেন। কিনতু যে ঘটনাগুলো তারা বরণনা করেছেন, সেগুলো সবগুলো সতয না।

লিবিয়ার উপর চার
In Zero Footprint, you will read stories about grand exploits and dangerous missions in some of the most troubled spots on the planet. Stories of hardened men doing what years in military has trained them to do, although, now done as PMC’s, private military contractors. You will also learn that like everyone else in the world of war fighting, that they too struggle. With the injuries to children for which no one is ready, or the death of their comrades, which leaves them reeling, to governments ...more
Blake Harrenstein
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it

Zero Footprint by Simon Chase and Ralph Pezzullo is a biography about Simon's multitude of dangerous missions while being a Private Military Contractor. I find the book to be entertaining with moments of fast-paced action and his personal life stuck in between. One of the main problems in the book is how he fights counter terrorism with no back up or recognition when they do some integral points in the war. Also, himself and his teammates get no military funeral if a member of their team perish
May 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
I really started to get into this book and it tells a good story. The key word there is "story". It was a very interesting read, but the deeper I went into the book, the more my BS meter started to go off. I have a tremendous amount of respect for contractors and I've read many titles about this theater of operation. It became obvious that much of this was fabricated or embellished. This was further emphasized by the fact that the author choose to completely take a course of anonymity. The publi ...more
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A book made up of different private contractor experiences by the author (pen name Simon Chase) from Afghanistan- hunt for Bin Laden, Syria- proof of chemical weapon use, Benghazi- purchase weapons and the secret CIA Annex- they were there. It was an additive to books I've already read or news events such as 13 hours, Dark Forces with the role of purchasing weapons in Libya for their use to support Syrian rebels. An interesting read.
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The author takes the reader on a journey that spans the globe, from South America to the Levant. I found this book hard to put down. The narrative focuses on a private military contractor and the scrapes he gets into. This book would actually make a very interesting movie in line with Zero Dark Thirty and 13 Hours. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in current events.
Tony Scott
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Quite an enjoyable book. While there are claims that this book may not be wholly factual, which I only discovered when completing my review, that does not diminish the quality of the writing or the story. It is very well written, an engaging story and well worth picking up, even if you believe that the story may be stretched (which I have no reason to believe).
Sep 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: history, political, and military interested persons
Recommended to Jerry by: Alyssa Haverson
Excellent insight into the world of private military contractors across the Arab nations. The amount of money spent in bribes and inflated costs is amazing. Only problem was with the use of abbreviations for all of the organizations, tactic and personnel. There was a glossary to explain these, but got tired of referring back to it. Enjoyable read.
John Fulcoly
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great ‘airplane book’ - quick read and exposes some varied complexities, dangers, and implications of an at times murky and poorly defined projects that Private Contractors support. Real life examples. The real witness accounts of Benghazi sure do conflict with the political narrative.
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was good. Very well written. Like others, I doubt most of this happened. So while I did enjoy the book, I think the author should be honest about its truthfulness.
Jan 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
UPDATE: When I went to post my review on Amazon, I was surprised to find that the vast majority of reviewers stated "Simon Chase" exaggerated and even outright lied about many of the events depicted in "Zero Footprint". Well, no wonder my review below stated that this felt like a "novel" because it apparently was a well-conceived work of (mostly) fiction. Thus, I now add the caveat that although I liked this book, I am greatly disillusioned and disheartened to know that there are a great many un ...more
Patrick Cheng
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
While I do not profess to have any knowledge of military culture/life/struggles let alone the grey world of Private Military Contractors (PMCs), I cannot help but think that there is something more here.

It reads like a war veteran that has had a few drinks and quite a few stories under his belt. However you can discern the tension and realization Mr. Chase elaborates about the PMC conundrum, which is not immediately clear within any particular chapter. The fact that he realizes he is a tool for
Kyle Robertson
Feb 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
It's hard to write a review for this book. You read it and think "wow, this is fascinating! I can't believe this actually happened!" And then you catch wind that the author might have been stretching the truth and has taken certain liberties in retelling his stories. So is this a factual account of what happened in the career of this hero? Or is this "Simon Chase" a poser looking for attention and a movie deal? Who knows. But I will give my thoughts on the book. First off, the book is not very w ...more
Zee Monodee
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
They say reality if often stranger than fiction ... Reading this book, you'd find this very much the truth. Some reviews say this was a totally fictionalized account - it may be so, but if you want to forget the 'reality' aspect and indulge in stories of 'that' dangerous world, then this book is for you. It felt like following this team, composed of the author and then the men he works with. You come to care for them, in a way (I was appalled when it is mentioned one of them committed suicide at ...more
Matt Skains
Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Picked it up as a shorter read than Blackwater (which I've wanted to read for years, but have never gotten around to and is now kind of long in the tooth). The tone is pretty light/conversational given the topic. While I'm tempted to give him the benefit of the doubt on validity in the story telling, I can absolutely see how those closer to that world would want to call out the book for either being soft or fabricated. That said, I think there are some meaningful takeaways from the book, even if ...more
Feb 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
In some ways, this book just plods along, and we aren't really sure where we're going. But in the middle is an insiders view of the Benghazi attack. And then it goes on. There is a lesson here about how the world has changed, how governments get things done that they can't, or don't want to do with their military. You also see the ugly side of the news stories you hear about the middle east and ISIS, and what is happening to those countries. I'd recommend it just for the Benghazi chapter.
Matt Raffel
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I found this book interesting and it helped me to appreciate the choices men and women make to do what they believe in. Like some other reviews, I have a hard time accepting the author himself (since the book is written from his perspective) experienced every event written in the book....from Tora Bora, to Somalian ship hijackings, to Fallujah and post Iraq security, to the revolution in Libya (including the events of Benghazi). None the less, the book will keep you reading.
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting stories from the viewpoint of a PMC, only it appears that the stories are not his own... I found dozens of disavowals of this man, his life, his service, his exploits, and not a single one supporting the man identified as "Scott Charnick"!!!

I gave 4 stars because the stories were "good reads", but had to conclude that it belonged in the fiction category...
Josh Rude
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book was was good because it provided information on military things that I never new about. I liked that it was non-fiction, but still told in first person. The book held my attention throughout the whole time I was reading it. The book had traces of profanity throughout the book, but it was still a great book. I would recommend this book for anyone who like the military and reading.
Andrew Culpepper
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great book, and an easy read. Zero Footprint takes you inside the life of a private military contractor- their struggles with civilian life, relationships, life experiences, etc. It was interesting to see how the lives of many contractors cross paths along the way.
Nelson Young
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very interesting read. I doubt that there was too much literary license taken here, and the biggest take-away for me is a confirmation of a long held belief that the American public is woefully mis and/or under informed by our media and our government.
Wen Hui
Jul 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Military books are not my usual cup of tea, but this makes an interesting read anyway as it tells me of a world that I had not knew prior of.
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book based on true events. My only question is how much is true and how much is embellished to make the stories livelier.
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