Half memoirs, half military tactics, the book offers a glimpse into the mentality of Heinz Guderian, the brilliant tank general of the Nazi Germany.
Guderian shows how he developed and organized the Panzer corps, his campaigns during the Second World War and the key relations between Nazi party members. Very little is described of his personal life, the vast majority of the book being on his professional military career.
The general is revealed as an intelligent, professional soldier, doing his best in the given conditions. A pure tactician, he stayed away from the political intrigues, unlike Rommel, which maybe saved his safe.
The careful written book has a fast pace, the story of the war flows smoothly and the overall logic of the motivations seems to hold, making it a quick and enjoyable read, particularly for the war and history fans.
As expected, the book reveals an illuminated mind, with an impressive vocabulary. Not much of an action-orientated story, it talks about his inner debates, quite brilliantly penned. I started the book in late 2009, from my old roommate, but it was worthy to pursue it for 6 long years. Not an easy read, but a read that makes you think.
While there are many accounts and stories about the operation that killed Osama bin Laden, Mark Owen is the real deal. As one of the team leaders that assaulted the compound that night, he tells the story of how the SEAL Team Six killed their number one enemy.
The SEAL operative also describes how the men from one of the most elite units in the US military are constantly challenging themselves to the highest levels of mental and physical endurance.
The main skill they get after the gruesome training is knowing that they can break their own barriers, which makes them confident and balanced individuals. With those skills they can perform at maximum efficiency during combat, when split-second decisions must be made.
Those skills can be noticed when Owen describes the Captain Phillips Operation in the Indian Ocean (a movie starring Tom Hanks reconstructs that operation) and other missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The idea that transcends the book and gets to the reader is their mental toughness and ability to act under tremendous stress. It can motivate anyone who wants to push for their own personal desires, particularly in terms of fitness objectives.
I felt really pumped while reading the book and I realized that if you tear down the barriers that you have in your own mind, everything becomes possible.
It reminded me of another book of a SEAL operative “The Lone Survivor”. A SEAL in enemy territory and hunted by dozens of talibans, unable to move his legs due to a spine injury, drew a line in front of him with his knife and cross it time and time again until he got to a village. He drew that line just to push himself to cross it. And he made it, he survived.
Very important for me is that “No easy day” is the real account of the story, written by an eye-witness of the event. It involves no speculations or fantasies, nor is a product of imagination. Imagination is great, but life beats it.