Jakon Hays's Reviews > The Red Circle: My Life in the Navy SEAL Sniper Corps and How I Trained America's Deadliest Marksmen

The Red Circle by Brandon Webb
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's review
Apr 16, 2012

really liked it

I picked up this book just for pages 9-167. These pages give a decent account of Webb's upbringing and SEAL training through his (ORE) Operational Readiness Exam which concluded his 18 month workup which is a series of training blocks after he earned his Trident. Honestly, I wasn't really interested in the second half of the book which detailed his time at sniper school and his deployments (full disclosure, I skimmed the pages after 167).
I was more interested in a character study of Webb (I've added his bio to Luttrell and Eric Greitens (The Heart and the Fist)).
I would also like to commend Webb for taking on John David Mann as a collaborator in writing his story. I can only assume that it was Mann that helped get Webb's story down into a structure that lent itself to delivering a cohesive message.
If you are 18 years old, interested in becoming a member of the special forces, this book should be in your library. Not only for the basic insights to SEAL training Webb provides(which you should already be schooled in) but Webb tells you that you need to be far more than you ever thought you could be -or are now. You will need to exceed every physical and mental ceiling that you have ever reached (Webb does a good job of providing examples of the mental and psychological strength needed during training...and applying those lessons to combat situations). I think this is an important lesson for an 18 year old AND a 40 year old (me). Keep pushing. AND Keep training. Webb emphasizes that SEALs never stop training, and also points out that this should be a lifestyle adopted by all (that's what I got out of it) - if you sit behind a computer all day - train your mind (and body)constantly - it's good for your health(obviously) but your psyche will benefit.
One aspect of this story that caused me to think a little too hard about something that I really don't know much about is the following. Webb points out the high level of discipline, self-control, understanding, intelligence and intuition that is needed to be a member of a SEAL Team. There were some instances where behaviors during missions and in training seemed to contradict those qualities. Webb even questioned the abilities of other SEAL Team members and even a full platoon that wasn't up to standards.
Perhaps the individual SEALs are fine members individually, but when combined into a platoon...they don't measure up...I found that interesting.
I'm glad Webb didn't back down in writing about some of the risky behaviors SEALs engage/d in, and I know that fighting men of this level exist on a different plane of risk/reward...and again, I found this all interesting as a character trait study- I in no way mean it to be a criticism of the unit as a whole or individual members.
So, if you are interested in what it takes to become a SEAL read the first half - interested in war stories - the second.
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April 16, 2012 – Shelved
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