The Combat History of the Deadliest Warriors on the Planet
Don Mann and Lance Burton
Skyhorse, New York, 2019, 344 pages
Book Review published on: January 31, 2020
Don Mann and Lance Burton’s Navy SEALs: The Combat History of the Deadliest Warriors on the Planet provides a reverent and singularly focused book on U.S. Navy SEALs and their predecessors. I always appreciate reading a book written about a topic from the perspective of someone who actually lived that lifestyle. In this case, a series of stories about special operators are told from an operator’s perspective. The authors do an excellent job of not overselling or sensationalizing the content of their book. They succinctly lay out how and why they wrote the book and then they deliver on their intent from cover to cover. The book could be divided into three main sections: the evolution of forces with the capabilities that are now inherent in the U.S. Navy SEALs, a synopsis of SEAL actions during many of America’s major combat operations, and finally, a reflection on the sacrifices made by members of the SEAL community.
The book addresses the historical evolution of these forces from frogmen to underwater demolition teams to their modern construct as SEALs. This part of the book is very informative and comprehensive in outlining the changes while also justifying the reasons why those changes were made. The second section and the majority of the book offers a compilation of specific SEAL actions during operations in Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. When the authors recount a story that involves an action that had been covered in more detail in another book, they simply refer the reader to that book and do not belabor the point. As a reader who already knew the details of some of the more famous stories or movies, that technique was very much appreciated. The final section expanded on the story of six operators who were awarded the Medal of Honor. This section stands out because it goes beyond the specific actions that led to the award and offers additional personal details about each operator that are very informative and inspiring.
Overall, the book delivers on its promise. It is an exceptionally well-done blending of historical facts with personal experiences in and around the SEAL community. What I found most interesting is the universality of some of the traits of SEALs and those of Army Special Forces. Additionally, the book provides an appendix on the current process of becoming a SEAL. That appendix would be a great reference for anyone who wants to have an understanding of the lengthy and complex process.
Book Review written by: Dr. Paul Sanders, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas