“SEAL Team Six” by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin

May 6, 2011

Timing can be a matter of life or death for a highly trained Navy SEAL — and never more so than when publishing a book about one’s exploits in the field. Such is the lesson learned by Howard E. Wasdin, a former member of the elite SEAL Team Six. Last week, SEAL Team Six officers dispatched Osama bin Laden, and this week, Wasdin’s memoir of his time with the squad hits bookstores at the most fortuitous moment imaginable. The book, which Wasdin co-wrote with Stephen Templin, is now hovering at the top of Amazon’s best-seller list, and Hollywood is said to be screaming for the movie rights.

SEAL Team Six” pulses with the grit of a Jerry Bruckheimer production. There are brawls at strip joints, firefights in alleyways, explosions from RPGs, a bit of romance and, of course, cheesy lines. “This wasn’t the first time I’d killed for my country,” Wasdin says after taking out a bad guy. “It wouldn’t be the last.”

The story’s hero grew up poor in Florida and Georgia. His father abandoned him and his stepfather beat him. After dropping out of college at 20, he was at risk of becoming a giant screwup. Instead, he joined the Navy. On his journey to becoming a member of the Navy’s best of the best, Wasdin proved his mettle in Operation Desert Storm and endured training that would break the back of most mortal men. Finally, he was accepted into SEAL Team Six and became “one of the best snipers on the planet,” according to the book jacket. The most suspenseful part of the story takes place in Mogadishu, where Wasdin was wounded when his team tried to capture a Somali warlord.

Wasdin’s sometimes cocky voice can be grating. But if there’s anyone who has earned the right to engage in chest thumping, it’s a guy like him.

Stephen Lowman

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