After weeks of hype and recrimination, the public gets a look today at a Navy Seal's account of the mission that killed Osama bin Laden -- a book that already is selling better than "Fifty Shades of Grey."
The author of "No Easy Day," is identified on the cover as Mark Owen (with a ghosting assist from Kevin Maurer) but he has been widely reported to be ex-Seal Matt Bissonnette, and even as the book is published, the controversy over it continues. The Pentagon recently said that Bissonette breached nondisclosure agreements, and it is considering legal action against him. I'm sure this will take months to resolve, and while the lawyers hash it out, the book will be perched atop the best-seller lists. It has already supplanted the soft-core "Fifty Shades of Grey" on Amazon's list. Here are some excerpts from reviews:
New York Times: [H]is book is careful to avoid all but the most basic information about his SEAL experiences, and its emphasis is on the close-up experience of a team member in action not on the big picture policy questions that determine how he has been deployed. That basic material is hugely illuminating in its own right. Just by describing the model of a kill house in which he trained to raid buildings, he conveys the ferocious pragmatism of SEAL thinking.
Washington Post: Sometimes the metaphors in "No Easy Day" get too down-home and obscure — heavy weapons strafing an Afghan ridgeline that looks like a "Bloomin' Onion at Outback Steakhouse" will no doubt puzzle many readers. But generally the writing is fast-paced, and Owen and Maurer tell some good yarns in a conversational style. They also neatly capture the camaraderie, the pranks, the constant training and the evident love that the men of SEAL Team 6 have for their jobs.
Entertainment Weekly: The book is a stomach-twisting close-up look at that historic mission in Abbottabad, told from the point of view of a super-elite member of SEAL Team Six who fired a bullet into bin Laden and helped carry away the corpse. Written in clean, polished prose (with co-author Kevin Maurer), No Easy Day often reads like a gripping novel as the author recounts remarkably vivid details about the weeks of preparation, the agonizing wait as the go-moment grew near, the scary Black Hawk crash that almost ruined everything, and the eerie minutes in bin Laden's bedroom as the lifeless body of the world's most wanted man lay bleeding.