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The Operator: Firing the Shots that Killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior
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The Operator: Firing the Shots that Killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  3,962 ratings  ·  314 reviews
Stirringly evocative, thought-provoking, and often jaw-dropping, The Operator ranges across SEAL Team Operator Robert O’Neill’s awe-inspiring four-hundred-mission career that included his involvement in attempts to rescue “Lone Survivor” Marcus Luttrell and abducted-by-Somali-pirates Captain Richard Phillips and culminated in those famous three shots that dispatched the w ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by Scribner
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4.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,962 ratings  ·  314 reviews

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L.A. Starks
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had the great privilege of hearing Robert O'Neill speak and so was pleased to read his book.

I have to believe everyone in the Action/Adventure and Orion Goodreads groups has already read this 2017-published book--if not, do.

I also recommend it for readers in the Good Thriller and Mystery, Crime & Thriller groups.

O'Neill writes about his strenuous SEAL training, and he tackled it in a very impressive way. But what I think readers will like most about this book, beyond the inside stories of
Rex Fuller
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
The title implies this is primarily about the actual events involved in killing Bin Laden. That is only the last fifth of the text. The prior material covers O’Neill’s career, including the famous BUD/S training to qualify for the Navy SEALs. But don’t pass this up just because you have already read books on “what it’s like to be a SEAL.” O’Neill manages to convey insights into the training that are original and well worthwhile. And he gives a fascinating account of his career. He participated i ...more
Jessica Frey
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love SEAL books! Marcus Luttrell, Chris Kyle, Mark Owen, Kevin Lacz - they've all written great books. I've read about BUD/S training so many times, yet I still found O'Neill's account interesting and different (a bit more detailed). But the best part of the book comes in the second half with the rescue of Capt Phillips and the UBL raid. Those never get old!
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having a fascination with the American military and those who make the sacrifice to serve their country, how could I not read The Operator by Robert O'Neill? Sure, it's got a grabbing subtitle: Firing the Shots That Killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior; but I still wasn't prepared for how much I enjoyed this experience. This book was a delightful read despite the sometimes heavy subject matter.

Robert O'Neill is the guy who ended up shooting 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden i
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I listened to the entire audiobook in one day... Given that it's narrated by Robert O'Neill himself, I would highly recommend the audiobook version. I imagine his voice comes through in the writing, but hearing him read it made it feel so genuine, like he's sitting in your living room, probably looking something like this:

I'd seen description, description, description, and heard a bit about SEAL training before, but this was still fascinating. It's a window into the mind of a man involved in the real stories behind those three
Adam Christian
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As the son of a young man who went to fight in Vietnam, finding that I have less peers than I'd expected - this book really made me angry.

The people who yell the loudest about "Supporting our troops," as if there are Americans who don't respect and thank heavens every night that a few brave American kids take it upon their shoulders so that while their families suffer financially, health-wise and psychologically -- allowing other self-proclaimed,"Patriots" to go "play war" buying their guns, pr
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very, very interesting and eye-opening read. The author Robert O’Neill spent several years in the service as a Navy Seal. Oh yeah, and he just happened to be part of the team that rescued Captain Phillips from the Somali pirates in 2009. Oh yeah, and he was also the guy that shot Osama bin Laden as part of the team that stormed his complex in 2011. This guy was pretty darn good! The repetitive and strenuous training these guys do on a continuous bases is mind-boggling. It is not only physical ...more
Cydne Rovman
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful and educating!

This was a labor of love for sure. Rob put his heart and soul, the truth and great humor as well. I believe his group was the last of great Seals, and that band of brothers has been changed by all the new rules of engagement! Everyone should read this to know the truth about our fabulous, dedicated Navy.
Erika Osborne
I loved 'American Sniper' and I walked past this in Kmart so I picked it up as an impulse buy. I'm hoping it's just as good!
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
A fairly interesting read that takes a look into becoming an elite Navy Seal. Most of the book is focused on that as opposed to the famous operations that O’Neill was involved with. Missions like killing Bin Laden are briefly mentioned towards the end of the book, so if your looking on details on that this isn’t the book for it. I’m not a military person so sometimes the way O’Neill described things rubbed me the wrong way. I also know there is much controversy about him writing the book and him ...more
Mark Levandoski
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Relates his personal story on becoming a member of a SEAL team,some of the operations he was involved in,and his early retirement. Gives an excellent first person explanation of each. Easy to read,and not heavy with military jargon.
Larry Scott
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks for sending that son of a bitch to hell. Great book.

As a veteran with 40 years in uniform, it was a great read I could not put down. SMsgt,USAF Ret.
Craig Amason
The main criticism I have noticed lodged against this book is the fact that the first half of the subtitle, which is the primary interest to most readers, only makes up a small portion of the story that shows up near the end. No doubt there are plenty of people who consider the shots that killed Osama bin Laden the "click bait" of this publication; however, I would argue that O'Neill's recollections of his training to become a Navy SEAL, along with some of the missions leading up to the Osama bi ...more
Jim Crocker
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
THE OPERATOR: Firing the Shots that Killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior

First off, this is an amazing read, well-written, interesting as all get out and funny. One of the first things you realize: SEALs are funny -- creative funny. And they love talking about their BUD/S training in San Diego. I’ve been to San Diego. Seen the beach. Went to San Diego’s spectacular zoo (far as zoos go). No BUD/S for me.

However, I was fortunate to have partnered with a Team
Nick Brett
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was the guy who killed Bin Laden. This book could have been rushed out to cash in on that event but ends up being a fascinating examination of SEAL training and how that training was really utilised post 9/11. The training was incredibly harsh (I didn’t know you could try for SEAL training without having to have first served elsewhere in the US military) and it was interesting to see how those ingrained skills made such a difference in war zones. A true band of brothers (except when one doe ...more
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you like thrillers by Vince Flynn or Brad Thor then you will like this book as well. This book is not fiction however, it is about O'Neill's life as a Navy Seal. It is written as well as the popular fiction writers. Being a Vietnam vet, I could somewhat identify with his training stories and war time effort, but I went through nothing as severe as he did. Maybe O'Neill's true life adventures won't appeal to non-military people, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The only reason I didn't give him 5 ...more
Lisa Fedders
Jul 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Solid and interesting read. Especially as I finished it right after Independence Day. The story was a play by play about Robs life and his training to be a Navy SEAL. He spoke very little about his family aside from a few stories of his parents and daughters. I learned later after reading this book, his now ex wife and daughters are in witness protection. I would have also been interested to learn about his life post the kill. So, The ending was cut a bit short for me. Boo!
Sterling Holcomb
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Operator is a great book that tells an even better story. This book will keeping you attached until the end. If you like true military stories the you will like the operator. this book reminded me much of like 13 hours and lone survivor bc of the military aspect. the book does have a few swear words in there so I would suggest the reader be the age of 15 and up.
Jessica Fellows
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-books
Amazing book. I loved how he took you from childhood unsure what he wanted to do to Navy Seal. You really feel like you are part of his experiences and when he starts telling you what continues to motivate him on those difficult missions where he and his fellow seals do not expect to survive you want to just cry. Great book! He “killed the Devil”!!💕
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book gets better and better with each passing chapter. It features many more stories and details than just the Bin Laden mission starting with BUD/S Training then into missions such as the rescue of Captain Phillips and ultimately culminates with the Bin Laden mission. The inside details in briefings and actual happenings of events is captivating. Highly recommended!
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent, in-depth read of O'Neill's experience as a Navy Seal, including the seeking out and killing of Osama Bin Laden. Every facet of Seal training and extreme demands made of these warriors is revealed in detail. If you like the genre, you'll really enjoy the book.
Tanja Kroupa
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best documentary books I've ever read!!!
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a really interesting look into the life of a Navy SEAL. It was cool that it was read by the author & he did a good job narrating. This was long but I never got bored listening.
L.P. Logan
I picked this up on the random recommendation of some guy in my condo building that I met while grilling some pineapple on the roof deck. He was right. It's awesome.

The premise was intriguing, but that is nothing compared to what happens when you start reading this one. I am both humbled and supremely grateful for America's military. For those people who do what has to be done for us to remain free. Im in your debt. Thank you.

It's easy to forget when living our daily, good lives what is actual
Katlynn Tucker
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you were given the opportunity to go on a top-secret mission to seek out your country’s worst enemy, would you do it? The Operator, an intensely moving fiction book written by Robert O’ Neill tells the story of the man who did just that. This book first takes place at navy seal training, where the main character, Robert O’Neill is pushed to his very limits with his peers. After seal training, he travels around the world fighting all kinds of terrorist that could be a threat to our country, pu ...more
Lynda Filler
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I found this memoir fascinating. It takes courage to write the truth about oneself in life, but even more so for a man like Robert O'Neill who spent such a large portion of his life fighting and killing on behalf of his country. The book was not what I expected in the sense that I thought I'd be reading the story of the chase and eventual capture/killing of Osama Bin Laden. Instead, Mr. O'Neill took us from the beginning of his life/military career and it was extremely well done.
I would recomme
I enjoyed reading this book. I thought it was well-written and the author did an excellent job "telling his story" in such a way to make it easily understood by the average reader without having to "dumb it down" to make it readable. It was informative; it was interesting; it covers the author's life from an early age through eighteen years in the military until he retired. I liked how he spent more time on his initial entry into the SEALs, how a good portion of the book focused on BUD/S and the ...more
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've read just about every credible book in the SOF genre. Without a doubt this book rises to the top of the heap. Rob O'Neill could brag if he wanted but is humble as he tells his story. He changes the names of the right people but names & honors others appropriately. Even in his writing he is a quiet professional. I took in this book by way of audiobook. It was enthralling from the first page to the last. Mr. O'Neil will go down in history for the raid that killed UBL. For me, however, he ...more
Shannon Wise
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have read several books about Navy Seals and the killing of bin Laden. I have enjoyed all of them. The Operator is another in that collection and I enjoyed it as well.

Robert O'Neill is from Butte, Montana. He talks about joining the Navy and deciding to become a Seal. He spends two-thirds of the book telling the story of his training and deployments with different Seal Teams. The last third is about killing bin Laden and his life after the Navy. He was involved in the operation that saved Cap
Jul 09, 2019 rated it liked it
"To the victims of 9/11 and their families who never asked to be in the fight, but were and are.
It was in memory of you that I fought" - Robert O'Neill
Follow Robert's point of view as he recounts growing up in Butte, Montana to the wars in the Middle East and the death of Osama Bin Laden.

Censored for national security
To the reader: The author has blacked out selected text in this book to comply with the Department of Defense Prepublication and Security Review.

A team effort
Over the past forty yea
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Robert J. O'Neill is a former United States Navy sailor. A former U.S. Navy SEAL and special warfare operator, O'Neill claims to have fired the shot(s) that killed Osama bin Laden during the raid on his Abbottabad compound on May 1, 2011.

Librarian note:
There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name
“Once we go on this mission, we aren’t going to see our kids again or kiss our wives. We’ll never eat another steak or smoke another cigar.” We were trying to get down to the truth about why we were still willing to do this when we pretty much knew we were going to die. What we came up with was that we were doing it for the single mom who dropped her kids off at school and went to work on a Tuesday morning, and then an hour later decided to jump out of a skyscraper because it was better than burning alive. A woman whose last gesture of human decency was holding down her skirt on the long way to the pavement so no one could see her underwear. That’s why we were going. She was just trying to get through a workday, live a life.” 2 likes
“Morale is the key to everything. There is nothing wrong with keeping people happy.” 1 likes
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