Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations

Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations

In this instant New York Times bestseller, the celebrated author of Make Your Bed shares amazing adventure stories from his career as a Navy SEAL and commander of America's Special Operations Forces.Admiral William H. McRaven is a part of American military history, having been involved in some of the most famous missions in recent memory, including the capture of Saddam Hu...

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Title:Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations
Author:William H. McRaven
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Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations Reviews

  • JD

    This is truly my best book of 2019, and I have read some good ones this year.

    While reading this book, the quote from Edmund Burke, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing", was in my head the whole time, and luckily for the world William McRaven is one of those good men who did something, and is filled with stories of other good men and women who did something. The stories filling these pages are amazing and the man has truly lived a full life, he is a bri

    This is truly my best book of 2019, and I have read some good ones this year.

    While reading this book, the quote from Edmund Burke, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing", was in my head the whole time, and luckily for the world William McRaven is one of those good men who did something, and is filled with stories of other good men and women who did something. The stories filling these pages are amazing and the man has truly lived a full life, he is a brilliant story-teller, while there are also life lessons in each of these stories. A very interesting part of this book is the behind-the-scenes look at the control of Special Operations Forces throughout the world and the sheer scale of it. I personally think that the United States is lucky to have such highly trained and motivated armed forces to safeguard it's future and seeing in the media how they are sometimes condemned by their own public is shocking to me, these brave men and women should each be heralded as a hero, because that is what they are, because believe me, it is not nice living in a country where your armed forces can barely defend themselves, let alone the people who depend on them.

  • Carol

    I knew I would love this book from the "Make Your Bed" author. Loved the early years stories..."Mothers!" I wish more children had early beginnings like his. Great book!!

    Thank you to Goodreds for a copy for my review.

  • E.

    This book... I absolutely love this book. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought this book was a sequel to Forrest Gump! As a matter of fact, this book is essentially a book form of Forrest Gump, except everything in it is real. The book is written to highlight significant milestones and events in Admiral McRaven's career, and boy what a career... September 11, Usama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Captain Phillips, etc etc, the man was truly in the center of some of the significant events

    This book... I absolutely love this book. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought this book was a sequel to Forrest Gump! As a matter of fact, this book is essentially a book form of Forrest Gump, except everything in it is real. The book is written to highlight significant milestones and events in Admiral McRaven's career, and boy what a career... September 11, Usama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Captain Phillips, etc etc, the man was truly in the center of some of the significant events post 9/11! I couldn't recommend this book enough to both military and non-military readers. Must read!

  • Nancy

    Thank you Admiral William H. McRaven for your service to this country. We need to hear more stories of our brave men and women who have served and sacrificed to give us our freedom. This book is not just stories about Admiral McRaven's career, but he describes what its like for all SEAL team recruits. He writes of the heroes, the wounded and the fallen. He acknowledges the families who stand behind them and gives credit where credit is due to his team members and those who helped him throughout

    Thank you Admiral William H. McRaven for your service to this country. We need to hear more stories of our brave men and women who have served and sacrificed to give us our freedom. This book is not just stories about Admiral McRaven's career, but he describes what its like for all SEAL team recruits. He writes of the heroes, the wounded and the fallen. He acknowledges the families who stand behind them and gives credit where credit is due to his team members and those who helped him throughout his career. It made me proud of America and helped remind me that freedom isn't free.

  • Terri Gill

    “Sea Stories” is a GREAT READ. It tells the story of the life of a man who made a difference in the world. It brings every emotion to the surface, tears and often a smile. I am proud to say I know the author, went to school with him, and am so impressed by all the things he accomplished with so many brave men at his side. I loved the book and have gained a new appreciation for our military. Life lessons, so well written, and well spoken. Thank you Admiral Bill McRaven for your lifetime of servic

    “Sea Stories” is a GREAT READ. It tells the story of the life of a man who made a difference in the world. It brings every emotion to the surface, tears and often a smile. I am proud to say I know the author, went to school with him, and am so impressed by all the things he accomplished with so many brave men at his side. I loved the book and have gained a new appreciation for our military. Life lessons, so well written, and well spoken. Thank you Admiral Bill McRaven for your lifetime of service to our nation and our people.

  • Elizabeth Yeager

    I wasn’t sure whether I’d like this book or not, but I found myself totally engrossed in Admiral McRaven’s stories. This is a man who played a part in some of the most important military missions in recent history and his retelling of the missions and the people involved is straightforward but incredibly moving. Admiral McRaven narrates the audiobook version. I was especially moved by Chapter 16, “The Next Greatest Generation,” in which Admiral McRaven explains his belief that millennials, despi

    I wasn’t sure whether I’d like this book or not, but I found myself totally engrossed in Admiral McRaven’s stories. This is a man who played a part in some of the most important military missions in recent history and his retelling of the missions and the people involved is straightforward but incredibly moving. Admiral McRaven narrates the audiobook version. I was especially moved by Chapter 16, “The Next Greatest Generation,” in which Admiral McRaven explains his belief that millennials, despite their reputation as “pampered,” are anything but. Inspiring without glossing over the horrible aspects of military service, Admiral McRaven’s stories left me with profound gratitude for the men and women who choose military service.

  • Jerome

    A thoughtful and vivid memoir.

    McRaven’s narrative is pretty straightforward but heavy on anecdotes, covering his childhood, his experience as a SEAL, and his various command experiences. His special operations career takes up the majority of the book. McRaven does, of course, provide firsthand accounts of the capture of Saddam, the rescue of Richard Phillips, and the bin Laden mission; these are probably the most gripping parts of the book.

    Throughout the sections on his career, McRaven provides

    A thoughtful and vivid memoir.

    McRaven’s narrative is pretty straightforward but heavy on anecdotes, covering his childhood, his experience as a SEAL, and his various command experiences. His special operations career takes up the majority of the book. McRaven does, of course, provide firsthand accounts of the capture of Saddam, the rescue of Richard Phillips, and the bin Laden mission; these are probably the most gripping parts of the book.

    Throughout the sections on his career, McRaven provides lots of insight into how special operations are planned and executed, what leadership in such units is like, and how fluid situations can get. He stresses the importance of the team and the interdependence of each person on the other.

    The book is well-written and readable, and McRaven’s humor and compassion really shines through. He provides great human portraits of his associates (which some readers might find a little gushing at times, but, given the units involved, it’s hard to doubt, too) However, McRaven doesn’t have many reflections to share about the America’s lengthy wars following 9/11; when he does, he usually writes about his hope in a vague sort of way.

    A colorful and engaging work.

  • Courtney Kelly

    Fantastic book. I was not sure I was going to like this one but was pleasantly surprised! Each chapter was an action packed tale that kept me reading. I loved how the author was introspective and much could be taken away from every story. Worth a read.

  • Maria

    Admiral William H. McRaven spent 37 years as a US Navy SEAL.

    Why I started this book: Love to read biographies of the SEALs, and it was fascinating to learn of a career that continued past the operator stage.

    Why I finished it: The problem with working in Special Operations for 37 years is that most of your life is classified. You can't talk about what you've seen or done. McRaven talks about some of the training missions, and the missions that have been declassified like Captain Philips, killing

    Admiral William H. McRaven spent 37 years as a US Navy SEAL.

    Why I started this book: Love to read biographies of the SEALs, and it was fascinating to learn of a career that continued past the operator stage.

    Why I finished it: The problem with working in Special Operations for 37 years is that most of your life is classified. You can't talk about what you've seen or done. McRaven talks about some of the training missions, and the missions that have been declassified like Captain Philips, killing Osama bin Laden, capturing Saddam Hussein... but I know that there are some many more stories that he couldn't tell and didn't even allude to.

  • John

    3.5 stars. By all accounts retired Admiral William McRaven is an impressive guy. 37 years as a Navy SEAL, led the team that captured Saddam Hussein and led the team that killed Bin Laden. He’s definitely lived an eventful life.

    Having said that, the problem with a memoir from a commander is that you get the administrative/top down view of the incident (as in the search for Hussein and Bin Laden) and not the on the ground, action-packed view. This makes for frankly boring reading at times. I enjoy

    3.5 stars. By all accounts retired Admiral William McRaven is an impressive guy. 37 years as a Navy SEAL, led the team that captured Saddam Hussein and led the team that killed Bin Laden. He’s definitely lived an eventful life.

    Having said that, the problem with a memoir from a commander is that you get the administrative/top down view of the incident (as in the search for Hussein and Bin Laden) and not the on the ground, action-packed view. This makes for frankly boring reading at times. I enjoy combat memoirs, but I find the ones that contain actual combat more riveting than these bird’s eye, here-is-the-behind-the-scenes-information-on-how-we-captured/killed-the-bad-guy.

    This book consists of several events during Admiral McRaven’s military career, though surprisingly little about any on the ground tactical stories of actual combat. I assume that is because Admiral McRaven didn’t experience much because that is the nature of being an officer. After about the rank of Lieutenant, you are directing special ops and not really involved in the operations themselves.

    Admiral McRaven refers very quickly to an incident fairly early in his career in which he was relieved as a SEAL commander, and how a higher officer who saw potential in him acted to save his career. Unfortunately, the admiral doesn’t recount what happened nor give any analysis or lessons he learned in that incident which is too bad. We often learn the most through failure, but you wouldn’t know that from this memoir.

    This is a quick read, and interesting, but I would have liked more stories of the admiral in actual combat, and also some vulnerability in discussing his being relieved of command and how that affected him.

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