Exactly what it claims to be, “No Easy Day” was a true first hand account of the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden. The description of the raid was packed into about 60-80 pages that intricately described it in immense detail. This portion was gripping and delivered exactly what I wanted. However, the book was primarily an autobiography of navy seal Mark Owen. To be honest, I really only picked up the book to read about the raid, which I imagine was the focus of most readers. So I wasn’t expecting that the history of how Owens became a seal and got on the seal team tasked with the Bin Laden raid would consume more than half of the book. That aspect was similar to documentaries showing people trying to become a navy seal, but was still interesting. The writing was at a very basic level, placing it in the “brain candy” category, but ultimately, a reader seeking to learn about the raid on Osama Bin Laden would be more than satisfied with this book.
Owen described how he learned he would be on the team to carry out the attack on Osama Bin Laden (or, as the seals referred to him, OBL) and how his team prepared for it. It was clear to Owen that this mission was different from any other when an exact replica of OBL’s compound was built to scale so that the seals could train for weeks to ensure they could effectively breach it in a variety of ways. Typically such lengthy training would not occur, and building a replica would not even be an option. Breaching the compound was described with extreme clarity, and drawings of it are included within the pages for the reader’s benefit, which I appreciated. Owen was on the helicopter that went down, and the events surrounding that crash ran the gamut from frightening to suspenseful to slightly humorous when confusion about what to blow up ensues because not everyone on the team knew the helicopter was lost. Once the mission was completed, the author was the seal tasked with confirming the dead man lying on the floor was actually OBL. Confirmation given, Owen took pictures of OBL and DNA samples while other seals confiscated items in OBL’s media room for intel.
For me, the account of OBL’s death brought closure to a horrific portion of America’s history and I think Americans are more than deserving of the account of this raid. I’m glad Owens dared to share his story with the public, despite the controversy of whether he should have done so. If you have even the slightest interest of what happened on that night, this book is a must read.