Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior -- A Book Review

With all the SEALs' recent successes, we have been getting a level of attention and acclaim we are not used to. It's been very flattering and certainly well deserved.  It's produced some stresses as well. But something important has been missing from the discussion.  People keep describing what we do, but no one has even scratched the surface of how and why.  The unique psychology behind it.  What really makes it work. The extraordinary character of those involved. The carefully crafted motivation and training techniques.  The many lessons for the future of America's relationship with the world. 
        -LT. Commander Rorke Denver 

To say I was excited to get the email from Jon at Hyperion Books about doing this review, would be a complete understatement!  I was off the wall THRILLED!

You may remember Rorke Denver from his star role in "Act of Valor".  At the time the movie came out though, not much was know about the actors because they were real Navy SEALs. But now, Rorke Denver has come forward and written his account of life as a SEAL.

Here is the video his publicist sent me:

I waited for the mail eagerly, and finally it came!  I devoured it. Yep.  Like the book pig I am.  I can't help it. If it's good, it's gone faster than a piece of cheesecake in a house full of boys -- and that's saying something!

Now, I am going to give a completely honest review.  First off, I LOVED the book.  It was very well-written, and totally engaging! Saying that, let me tell you what my first impression was:  After reading the Introduction, I was disappointed and a bit turned off.  Before I get slack for "dissing" a SEAL, let me explain.  He came off a bit arrogant to me.  Don't get me wrong, I love a guy with confidence and gumption, but some of the stuff he said rubbed me the wrong way.  Ever since reading American Sniper, I have come to have a deep respect and love for the Navy SEALs, I think they are amazing, but what I don't think some of them understand is that even though they feel they are "The Best of the Best", they have to understand that there are incredibly amazing men out there that are just as amazing, they just don't want to be SEALs.  I admit that the SEALs are definitely the "best of the best" who try out to be SEALs for sure!  Are they the "best of the best" at what they do?  Certainly! But there are awesome men AND women who could be probably be SEALs but have different callings in life.  Then again, maybe I am just biased because of my love for the Army... and my love for most all brave men and women who serve in all capacities!  (Note: the author NEVER in anyway puts down the other branches, just saying...)

That being said, it was the only part that bugged me.  As soon as I started reading chapter one, I was hooked... and so was my husband!  Fourteen years as a SEAL, Lieutenant Commander Denver describes his experiences as a new officer entering BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL), his journey through "Hell Week" and beyond.  Rorke Denver continues to share some of the secrets of making it through BUD/S and succeeding as a SEAL.  He writes about his missions and adventures, successes and even some failures.  It is important to him to learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others to grow and become better people.  He talks about being a SEAL, the politics that surround the SEALs, and what's it like to make others into SEALs. His experiences truly are more amazing than anything you will see in a movie.  And the wise advice he gives throughout the book... well, let just say that my copy is highlighted for future use! I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the elite team, who wants to be one someday, and for anyone who just needs a good read! (Let's face it, there aren't many books coming out these days that are worth the time reading... this one is!  Great military books are the only non-fiction I will read, seriously.) And I am not going to tell you anymore about it, because I don't want to ruin it for anyone!  My hope is that everyone who reads it will go on the same journey I did!

As I finished the last chapter and closed the book, my LAST impression was:  You know, maybe I was wrong (just a little), Rorke Denver is pretty darn cool.  I think he had a right to be a little arrogant... I think it's part of his charm.

All around a really EXCELLENT book!  I enjoyed it.  My husband enjoyed it.  And one day, I am sure, my boys will enjoy it, too.  I am deeply thankful to men like Rorke Denver for their amazing service to our country and it's future, and for having the courage to step forward to share their experiences with the rest of us who can only dream of what such a life as their's entails.

Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior goes on sale later this month... you can pre-order yourself a copy now!


PS -- Speaking of SEALs, I just wanted to express my deepest sympathies to family and friends of my one of my heroes, Chris Kyle.  You may remember that I reviewed his book, American Sniper last year.  I was shocked and devastated by his death last weekend.  I didn't know him in person, but anyone who has read his book feels like he is an old friend.  May he rest in peace, and his family find comfort.


Morhia said...

Cat~ Thanks so much for your book reviews. Because of them i read the American Sniper and LOVED it. He referred to the Marcus Latrell book "The Lone survivor" and it was one of the best reads of a lifetime to me. I am so excited to get this new book ordered. My husband is Army Ranger and it so exciting to read of their work and the lives they saved and the comrades they lost. I send prayers and love to them all. I have not blogged or even read blogs for a while. My husband has been gone close to a year for different training and will be done in the next few weeks. We are awaiting new PCS orders and that has caused me to withdraw from my church and most of my friends because most ask where we are going and when we are leaving. I have the hardest time with that. The first few months, no problem. Now, well now several months later is is just getting old. I look forward to moving and being on post with others who know not to ask. When I know, (and am allowed to say), I will let them know. I am so excited to go back and read the posts that I have missed from all of my fellow bloggers. Maybe I will even add a new one myself! Be blessed!

Cat said...

Thanks, Morhia!!

I know how you feel about everyone asking about your orders, we have been waiting for a few months now to find out ours too... not yet! But everyone keeps asking :)

Have you read "Outlaw Platoon" yet? I did a book review on it last year, and it is about a group of Army Rangers... I LOVED it too! (Note: I don't LOVE all the military books I read... I just don't review the ones I don't like... lol.)

Morhia said...

Cat~ No, I can't say I have even heard of it. I am going to amazon that one too. I enjoy reading, lucky me, I have loved all the ones I have read so far. I would have never bought the American Sniper if it wasn't for your review. I just happened to be flying across country to see my beloved husband and had a 3 hour lay over in Atlanta. I went to the book store to get a magazine and seen it. Those bookstores in the airport give you half of your money back if you return it when your done. Can you say "Heck Yes"? Half my money back, can't pass that up. Turns out I read it then my husband, for Christmas we passed it on rather than getting half of our money back. Worked out great! Thanks so much for sharing and just like those books bringing us closer to the author these blogs bring me closer to knowing a little about you too. Helps me realize I am not all alone out here. We are very, VERY far from any post out here in Montana. Thanks!

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