10.01am

If you’ve seen the movie Zero Dark Thirty you might have some idea of how the mission to kill Osama bin Laden unfolded, at least from the perspective of the CIA. The book No Easy Day covers the mission from the point of view of one of the SEALs who was on the ground as it happened.

I have read a couple of other books by SEALs (American Sniper and Lone Survivor) and what set No Easy Day apart from these is that the author doesn’t spend a lot of time going over his training as a SEAL. I recall both of the other books spending a long time describing the SEAL training process, to the point where I wondered when we would get to the meat of the story (we get it, it’s hard!). In No Easy Day however, Owen touches on his entry into the SEALS briefly and then focus turns to the mission to eliminate bin Laden. It was interesting to learn about the preparation that was done, the intelligence that went into it, and just how much they knew about the compound and its occupants.

The mission itself takes up a good chunk of the book and is riveting from beginning to end. Owen has a methodical approach to walking us through what happened, as opposed to the “America, f**k yeah!” tone of American Sniper. The businesslike just-getting-the-job-done attitude was evident throughout the book, none more so than when describing the reaction that he had his team had to seeing bin Laden’s dead body compared to that of the investigative staff:

“We saw dead bodies all the time. It was the ugly we lived with, and we spent no time thinking about once it was finished.”

This book is easy to read, and would be perfect for a flight or holiday.

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