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First SEAL Mass Market Paperback – Aug 1998

14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia; Reprint edition (Aug. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671536265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671536268
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,682,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I first came to Roy Boehm through Richard Marcinko who refers to him in his fine autobiography and his increasingly deranged and self-serving works of fiction. Boehm is a much better candidate for hero for many different reasons. I was surprised to discover he never actually led SEALs into battle and never even served with the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs) during World War 2. However his service as a fleet sailor on destroyers during the conflict and later on a cruiser during the Korean War leave you in little doubt that he was a combat veteran even before he ever became a frogman. Boehm is very honest about his humanity, admitting that he threw up during his first job during World War 2 (the horrific task of recovering bodies from sunken ships following Pearl Harbour)and urinated upon himself during his first combat. The sequence where he is forced to abandon ship after a horrendous battle with the Japanese fleet and attempts to drag a shipmate to safety only for his friend to be taken by a shark is the stuff of nightmares.
His service in covert missions against Cuba and in the early days of Vietnam as an 'advisor' are also very good, especially his account of being forced to kill a Vietcong sentry using his knife. He wages war smartly and with guile, an effective and brave warrior.
What's refreshing is that whilst Boehm possesses a great deal of ego he doesn't let it dominate him as Marcinko does. He admires the CIA agent whom he escorts into Cuba and doesn't denigrate anyone who isn't a SEAL or doesn't fit into his narrow view of what a man should be. That said he does seem to be able to make enemies in an empty room and his remark that you should pick your unit over your family as you can always get another family seems a bit much to say the least.
All told, I would recommend this as a great book for anyone interested in this period of history, a frank and honest account of the life of a remarkable man.
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By A Customer on 24 Dec. 1997
Format: Hardcover
Historical inaccuracies abound in this book. Chief among them the statement on p. 149 that "On 7 January 1961 OPNAV made the decision...backdated to 1 Jan., Navy SEALs were commissioned." SEALs were commissioned on 1 January 1962; Team One at NAB Cornado, Team Two at Little Creek. In pp. 68-70 we read that 1)SCUBA wasn't introduced ot the U.S. military until after WW2 2) that UDTs had several designations and 3)that LT Mark Starkweather "was predecessor of America's undersea commandos..he was first." Dr. Christian J. Lambertsen's Amphibious Respiratory Unit (LARU) was introduced to U.S. military in 1940. It was utilized by the Office of Strategic Services Maritime Unit. As an OSS MU officer, Lambertsen taught its use to Operational Swimmer Groups as part of his underwater missions program of demolition, sabotage and ship attack in conjunction with Motor Submersible Canoe employment. When 5th Amphibious Force CO, Read Adm. Richmond K. Turner gained authorization for Underwater Demolition Teams in Dec. 1943, they were called UDTs "to differentiate them from Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDUs)." NCDUs,established in June 1943, were already operating in the S.W. Pacific. UDTs were never known by any other name. LT Mark Starkweather was in charge of volunteer salvage divers, hastily trained at Amphibious Scout & Raider School (Joint), tasked with removing a boom blocking entrance to the Wadi Sebou River so the USS Dallas and her 260th Infantry radiers could proceed upriver and complete the assigned mission in Operation Torch's 7-8 Nov. 1942 North Africa landings. They were the Navy component of a Special River Party commanded by an Army engineer officer; the other part comprised of Army combat engineers.Read more ›
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By A Customer on 29 Mar. 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is my first review and probably my last. My reason is to take exception to the comments of the reviewer from Dayton, Ohio. Not that Roy needs me to defend him, but in fairness a response is warranted.
First Seal is an insight into one of America's greatest warriors. SEAL's are regarded as probably the finest unconventional warriors in the world and First Seal brings you the man responsible for them. This is an excellent book, especially for those seeking insight into their foundation. Yes, there are personal attacks, yes there is profanity, and it is not for the light of heart. But honesty is something not viewed through rose colored glasses either.
The Navy is an institution, and as such viewed the SEAL's as a "necessary evil". That Roy succeeded and accomplished as much as he did is a tribute to his tenacity and his perserverance.
But in addition to the story of the SEAL's, is Roy's story and that is what First Seal is about. Roy has done more and seen more than any of us could imagine.
Don't dwell on the perceived inaccuracies, but read the book as it was intended. Roy's exploits are legendary and his men always knew where he was when things got tough, at the front of it all !!
And as for the comment that there is no "I" or "Me" in "Team", remember.... There is no "We" in "Leadership"
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Format: Hardcover
Without doubt, one of the best books ever written about warfare and warriors and specifically the world's ultimate special warfare units including UDT, SEALs and Army Special Forces. . . , Who are these guys? What makes them tick? And what kind of man did it take to start up and train and lead these incredible warriors. Roy Boehm, of course, "Papa-san SEAL numbah one." He tells it all with the unique insight only a true leader of men who's been there and done it all could possibly explain. "Psychiatrists have had field days trying to figure out what kind of man it takes to succeed . . . Trying to predict who might endure the torture of pain, fatigue, humiliation, mental and physical exhaustion, cold and heat," he writes. "The profile of the ideal candidate calls for a man drug free, morally acceptable (within certain reasonable limits), capable of passing a security check, intelligent, and naturally phlegmatic under pressure. He must have endurance, physical strength, a high threshold for pain and discomfort, and a sense of humor in order to endure immense stress without falling apart." An incredible book about incredible warriors! "FIRST SEAL" is the real deal!
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