Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book Review: Fearless (Eric Blehm)

I usually keep Tuesdays post-free on my blog, but every so often, perhaps once or twice a month, there will be an extra book review (surprise, surprise). A reviewer's work is never done!

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Let it never be said that I take for granted for one second, one breath, the freedom I and my fellow countrymen stateside have been afforded by the selflessness, sacrifice, dedication, and commitment of the members of the United States military, past and present, who work so tirelessly on our behalf.

Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown, killed in Afghanistan in March 2010, is a man whose valor, honor, integrity, strength, character, and courage remain powerfully inspirational, and whose unhesitating sacrifice and unwavering faith strengthened his brothers in arms and his family and friends long after his death.

In Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown, biographer Eric Blehm captures not only Adam at his best --- as a devoted husband to his wife Kelley, a determinedly active father to his kids Nathan and Savannah, a passionate patriot of the United States of America, and an unflinching warrior --- but also Adam at his worst.

As a teenager and college student, Adam's life took an abrupt turn into darkness when, at loose ends one summer, he let down his guard and started taking drugs. Marijuana became cocaine became crack, and before long, he was stealing from his own family members and friends just to get high again.

Two stints in rehabilitation facilities finally left him clean and sober, and only months later, he met Kelley, his future wife. Much of the book is told through her memories and reconstructed conversations with Adam, as she held him accountable through dating and then during marriage, even when he slipped back into his old habits.

Besides his renewed faith in God, to whom Adam dedicated himself completely and unashamedly, service with the United States military saved his life, both literally and figuratively. If he hadn't had the military, his brothers at arms, and the missions to devote himself to, he could not have become the sophisticated and tender warrior that he was.

When he made the ultimate sacrifice on a high-stakes mission in Afghanistan, where he died surrounded by his brethren despite their desperate and wholehearted attempts to save his life, he did so with the same head-first, unapologetic courage and strength with which he tackled everything anyone had ever thrown at him.

Adam's story is told with painstaking details and recounted conversations and memories through innumerable conversations with his own comrades, many of whom also perished, either alongside Adam or later during the war in the Middle East that followed 9/11. The research that biographer Eric Blehm compiled to be able to write accurately about Adam is unbelievable in its intensity and impact.

By the climax and conclusion of the book, I was so devoted to Adam's story, so enthralled by his character and commitment and drive, that I wept without shame on behalf of his grieving family, friends, and comrades as his death in the line of duty was recounted.

I never feel prouder to be an American citizen under the protection of the United States military than I do after closing a memoir or biography about one of the military personnel. New York Times bestseller Fearless is the powerful, moving biography of an undeniably heroic United States Navy SEAL, one of the top 1% of SEALS and military members in the world.

Six out of five stars, without hesitation, and my highest commendation to you to read this book. You'll close its cover changed.

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Title: Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown
Author: Eric Blehm
ISBN: 978-0-307-73070-1
Purchase here: http://amzn.to/10fHIz2

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book free from the publisher through the Blogging for Books review program in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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