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Publisher Description

This instant New York Times bestseller—“a jaw-dropping, fast-paced account” (New York Post) recounts SEAL Team Operator Robert O’Neill’s incredible four-hundred-mission career, including the attempts to rescue “Lone Survivor” Marcus Luttrell and abducted-by-Somali-pirates Captain Richard Phillips, and which culminated in the death of the world’s most wanted terrorist—Osama bin Laden.

In The Operator, Robert O’Neill describes his idyllic childhood in Butte, Montana; his impulsive decision to join the SEALs; the arduous evaluation and training process; and the even tougher gauntlet he had to run to join the SEALs’ most elite unit. After officially becoming a SEAL, O’Neill would spend more than a decade in the most intense counterterror effort in US history. For extended periods, not a night passed without him and his small team recording multiple enemy kills—and though he was lucky enough to survive, several of the SEALs he’d trained with and fought beside never made it home.

“Impossible to put down…The Operator is unique, surprising, a kind of counternarrative, and certainly the other half of the story of one of the world’s most famous military operations…In the larger sense, this book is about…how to be human while in the very same moment dealing with death, destruction, combat” (Doug Stanton, New York Times bestselling author). O’Neill describes the nonstop action of his deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, evokes the black humor of years-long combat, brings to vivid life the lethal efficiency of the military’s most selective units, and reveals details of the most celebrated terrorist takedown in history. This is “a riveting, unvarnished, and wholly unforgettable portrait of America’s most storied commandos at war” (Joby Warrick).

Robert O'Neill
hr min
April 25
Simon & Schuster Audio

Customer Reviews

Vincennes02261897 ,

Excellent, truly!

A story with which we should all be familiar; told from an unimaginable perspective. Excellently written and very well narrated.

the name's Name. Nick Name. ,

Read by the man himself

Having written accounts like this of a historical event through the eyes of someone who was there is a pretty cool thing. Having that same account read to you by the man himself is even cooler. I liked this book on its own, but what was really cool to me was hearing Rob describe the events he experienced himself, with his own inflections and emphasis on the dialogue he recounted. It adds an element of realism and immersion to his stories.

Somewhat related, it was very interesting to me listening to the tone of Robs voice throughout the book. You can hear as he evolves his narrative style over time, beginning as a relatively inexperienced reader just going line by line, stumbling over the more artistic phrases clearly embellished by his co-writer, and ending as a more comfortable reader, adding his own highs and lows and varying his cadence to highlight the emotional content of his words. I was very impressed and it was a great Easter egg to hear in his reading.

At the end of the day, it’s a good book with a lot of amazing stories about an incredible unit and impressive group of men.

Tris Elaine ,

Best book ever!

This book is amazing and Rob narrating it makes it even more interesting!

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