From the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Shooter, comes a riveting narrative of how snipers have changed the course of America's war on al Qaida in the Middle East and Africa.
Retired Marine sniper Jack Coughlin (Shooter) and John Bruning pull back the curtain of secrecy to take an insider's look at the dark and misunderstood world of America's sniper force. Long considered the redheaded stepchildren of the infantry, snipers have been loathed by their fellow warriors, called "ten cent killers" by our media, and portrayed as unbalanced psychopaths by Hollywood. Coughlin and Bruning explore the lives and careers of some of America's most effective snipers during key missions, moments and campaigns in the War on Terror.
Part page-turning thriller, part deeply human drama, Shock Factor takes you from the streets of the modern day "Stalingrad" of Ramadi to the skyscrapers of Baghdad as America's one-shot warriors fight desperate battles against all odds, find themselves at the heart of tense international incidents, stalk key enemy leaders, and discover horrific human rights abuses perpetrated by our own allies. Based on extensive interviews with snipers currently on active duty, Shock Factor's gripping accounts of harrowing combat, buried truths and secrets revealed could only be told by snipers to a trusted member of their own elite and cloistered brotherhood.
Coughlin, known for his autobiography, Shooter, and the military thriller series Sniper, delivers an sharp view of the current Iraq conflict, focusing on the period between the initial invasion in March 2003 and early 2007. There's some sniper history, but Coughlin's main goal is to show how basic logistics have changed over the years. Snipers now work primarily in two-man teams consisting of a shooter and a spotter; the days of the lone gun crawling through a field are now mostly in the past. A primary purpose of these two-man teams is to move in advance of regular patrol units and set up hides where they can provide cover. Their goal on these missions is to save American lives as much as it is to take enemy lives. Coughlin's war stories move at a steady clip, aside from a long detour where a frustrated sniper team can do little more than watch as a group of Iraqi police torture scores of prisoners. Though perhaps not on the level of quality as the many books about Carlos Hathcock or the excellent One Shot, One Kill by Charles Sasser and Craig Roberts, this solid update of the snipers' art is still a worthwhile read on the subject.