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Seals In Action

Book Review

 

Title:

Seals In Action

Author:

Kevin Dockery

Publisher:

Avon Books, New York, NY

ISBN:

0-380-75886-5

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

August, 2000

Rating:

Seals In Action is a non-fictional account of the elite United States Navy Seals from their inception during World War II until the book was published in 1991. In addition to the text, there  is a short collection of Seal photographs in the center section of the book.

ama-0380758865.gif (4125 bytes)This story is told in chronological order starting from the formation of the UDT (Underwater Demolition Team) units during World II. These units were born out of need for special reconnaissance of enemy beaches after several disastrous amphibious landings during the early stages of the war caused large numbers of casualties. Much of the methodology of the early units was improvised as the mission objectives became clearer.

Extensive coverage is given to the Seals' involvement in covert operations and combat assignments during both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. More recent operations including the invasions of Panama and Grenada are also described in great detail. The author uses several chapters to describe the difficult training regimen of the modern day Seal units and to talk about some of the specialized equipment used by the Seals in their day to day work.

The photograph section in the center of the book is a collection of black and white pictures. Most of these are  provided by the Department of the Navy with a few being the property of the author. Scattered throughout the book are various statistical tables, facsimiles of Navy documents, and illustrations of specialized equipment.

The modern day organization of the Seal units is described near the end of the book. A small section describes the requirements to be accepted into the Seal program. A glossary is also included to explain unfamiliar military terms used throughout the story.

This book was obviously extensively researched with the descriptions of Seal operations presented in much detail. However, it appears that this work relies too heavily on document research and has very little narration by any of the actual Seals -- it tells more about what the Seals did than who they were and how they felt. The manner in which the story is presented removes much of its excitement by getting bogged down in fine details.

Seals In Action provides a wealth of detailed information about the history of the United States Navy Seals. This book is extensively researched, seems to be mostly accurate, and is well illustrated, but the presentation seems cold and impersonal compared with other books of this genre.

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