Monday, July 30, 2012

Be all you can be.... at your Library!

Service: A Navy SEAL at War by Marcus Luttrell

Kirkus Reviews –

A Navy combat veteran showcases the deadly operations in Iraq, promoting American military duty as ennobling in the service of humanity. In something of a sequel to his first book (Lone Survivor, 2007), Luttrell chronicles his missions preserving democracy for America. Much of this book, co-authored by Hornfischer (Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal, 2011, etc.), is set in Ramadi, an especially bloody Iraqi outpost. During their time in Iraq, his SEAL combat brothers killed perceived enemies, suffered countless wounds, and died at a rapid pace, making the narrative occasionally difficult to follow. In some chapters, battle tactics predominate, and the sentences are quick and graphic. Other chapters aren't as violent, as Luttrell explains why some men answer the call of war no matter the risk to themselves or their loved ones. The author seeks to explain the honor of military service to the vast majority of readers who have never experienced it. Luttrell is mostly silent about questions of whether inserting U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan ever made sense in terms of American foreign policy. He followed his military commanders because of his belief in their knowledge and motivation. Though George W. Bush appears in the book multiple times, Luttrell seems unable to grasp the ferocity of the opposition the president faced at home and abroad. Toward the end of the book, the author departs from Iraq and expands on his earlier book by discussing the war in Afghanistan, and he devotes a chapter to military wives, who understandably worry every day about their men in combat. An action-packed, occasionally reflective saga of contemporary military service.

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It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership by Colin Powell

Kirkus Reviews –

With the collaboration of Koltz (co-author: Leading the Charge: Leadership Lessons from the Battlefield to the Boardroom, 2009, etc.), Powell picks up the thread of his life story. The author rose in the military to become "the first black Army officer to have a four-star troop command." He was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Iraq war and served as secretary of state from 2001 to 2005. The release of his first book, My American Journey(2003), fueled a groundswell campaign to nominate him for president in the upcoming election. However, he recognized that he was not cut out for the job despite his proven leadership strengths. He describes how, as he advanced in rank, his military training also prepared him for his role in government. He learned the importance of always focusing on the mission, being resolute in the face of danger and setbacks, not being governed by ego and maintaining a can-do spirit (with the proviso, "I try to be optimistic, but I try not to be stupid"). A good leader, he writes, accepts responsibility for the failure of those in his command, but makes sure to reward them for their successful missions. Unlike the corporate world, the Army recruits from within its ranks, which makes recognizing potential and providing continuing education a primary concern. Powell reviews his profound disagreements with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney on the handling of the war in Iraq, while taking full responsibility for mistakes made on his watch--e.g., his "infamous speech at the U.N. in 2003" claiming that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. An inspiring and useful memoir from a significant figure in 21st-century American politics.

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Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown by Eric Blehm

From the publisher –

Fearless takes you deep into SEAL Team SIX, straight to the heart of one of its most legendary operators.

When Navy SEAL Adam Brown woke up on March 17, 2010, he didn’t know he would die that night in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan—but he was ready: In a letter to his children, not meant to be seen unless the worst happened, he wrote, “I’m not afraid of anything that might happen to me on this earth, because I know no matter what, nothing can take my spirit from me.”

Long before Adam Brown became a member of the elite SEAL Team SIX—the counterterrorism unit that took down Osama bin Laden—he was a fun-loving country boy from Hot Springs, Arkansas, whose greatest goal had been to wear his high school’s football jersey. An undersized daredevil, prone to jumping off roofs into trees and off bridges into lakes, Adam was a kid who broke his own bones but would never break a promise to his parents.
But after high school, Adam fell in with the wrong crowd and his family watched as his appetite for risk dragged him into a downward spiral that eventually landed him in jail. Battling his inner demons on a last-chance road to redemption, Adam had one goal: to become the best of the best—a US Navy SEAL.
An absorbing chronicle of heroism and humanity, Fearless presents an indelible portrait of a highly trained warrior who would enter a village with weapons in hand to hunt terrorists, only to come back the next day with an armload of shoes and meals for local children. It is a deeply personal, revealing glimpse inside the SEAL Team SIX brotherhood that also shows how these elite operators live out the rest of their lives, away from danger, as husbands, fathers and friends.

Fearless is the story of a man of extremes, whose courage and determination was fueled by faith, family, and the love of a woman. It’s about a man who waged a war against his own worst impulses and persevered to reach the top tier of the US military. Always the first to volunteer for the most dangerous assignments, Adam’s final act of bravery led to the ultimate sacrifice.

Adam Brown was a devoted man who was an unlikely hero but a true warrior, described by all who knew him as fearless.

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