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The interested reader already knows what this book is about. The U.S.ambassador to Libya at the time, J.Christopher Stevens was on a visit to Benghazi. He and an IT-specialist were killed when dozens of Libyan - presumably islamist motivated - terrorists attack the inadequately secured diplomatic compound. The interesting part starts when private security contractors ignore a direct order to remain in their compound (located in the vicinity) and decide to come to the aid of the remaining personell. They deliberately put themselves into harms way and that is remarkable as it is. Sadly some of them lose their lives in subsequent attacks. Those readers interested in the details of the fights will find what they are looking for. The book appears to be genuine although it becomes clear at the beginning that certain details had to be omitted for security reasons. (experts are used to this: see "Zero Dark Thirty" or "No Easy Day") Nevertheless the book delivers interesting details and makes for compelling reading!
Fun read. Devoured the entire book in 2 days. I guess my only complaint is... the book didn't add a lot of new info/revelations compared to the movie. I'd see the the movie, then decided to read the book to learn tons more details, but the book doesn't really add much. A little more about each of the GSR and DS men, particularly D.B. (who's Boone in the movie), but not that much more. Also learn a little more about Tripoli, the militia/political scene in Libya, the US response to the attack, the efforts made by GSR/DS to find the "Ammbo" but again, not that much. It's rare to say this, but if you've seen the movie, you've basically read the book in this rare instance. Maybe that's just a testament to how detailed and accurate the movie is. The movie does change a few things, such as attackers on the Annex attacking more from "Zombieland" rather than through a grove of trees from another direction, but as far as I can tell the movie doesn't diverge much in detail from actual events and the book.
I should note the book also provided some excellent maps/layouts of the city, compound and CIA annex which were very helpful.
Overall, both the book and movie are excellent. Just didn't get much "more" out of the book after seeing the movie.
I've watched the movie 13 Hours perhaps 20 times all the way through, and another 30-40 times in part. I just finished the book that inspired the movie. For those who've seen the movie first, almost all the scenes in the book are portrayed in the movie, but there are omissions on both parts and Hollywood has added its own touch to events the author says didn't happen. Perhaps most surprising, the movie characters make numerous remarks that in the book come from the mouth of some other operator, and some of the movie quotes simply echo the wording used by the author in telling the story. The book itself is well constructed but not particularly well written. It smoothly moves from one sector or sequence of the attack to another but doesn't smoothly portray the scene or actions, even during periods of calm. The author comes across as honest and specific but without the confidence of an experienced writer. Nonetheless, for those who loved the movie or wonder about the details of the attack and our brave defenders, this book will certainly satisfy the curious without loading the doubtful with more controversy.
You probably remember the headlines just over three years ago. On September 11, 2012, the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, a group of militants stormed an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. By the time the last of the besieged officers and agents had been airlifted to safety late the next morning, four American lives, including those of Ambassador Chris Stevens and two former Navy SEALs, would be lost. And before the ashes of the ambassador's burned villa had cooled, a firestorm of controversy was already picking up among politicians and pundits. Was it true that the State Department had been tipped off well in advance that something was going to happen? Did members of the Obama administration cover up the true motivation or nature of the attack to conceal their own negligence in the matter? Were operatives in a position to respond early on in the crisis ordered to stand down? What did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton know, and when did she know it?
In "13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi," journalist Mitchell Zuckoff has carefully combined the testimony of the five surviving members of the "Annex Security Team" - contract operatives for the CIA's Global Response Staff who came to the aid of the diplomatic compound from a nearby CIA station - with information and insight gleaned from news articles and official government reports. Although the book is written in an engaging narrative style, Zuckoff lets us know from the beginning that his goal is first and foremost to inform: "No scenes or chronologies were altered, no dramatic license was taken, and no characters were invented or created from composites. Descriptions from before, during, and immediately after the battle came from the men who were there, from verified accounts, or both." Even the reconstructed dialogue is based strictly on the recollections of the participants. Thanks to the close involvement of the Annex Security Team, however, this strictly factual approach doesn't make for a dry or impersonal account: all of the team members, and several of the other participants in the Battle of Benghazi, are portrayed with honesty and warmth. This is a historical account, not a biographical one, and the portrayals aren't particularly deep or complex, but Zuckoff provides just enough of an emotional connection to keep the reader involved without ever descending into melodrama.
Although Zuckoff does briefly explain the controversy that followed the Battle of Benghazi and touches briefly on some of the political ramifications, he never, on his own behalf or that of the GRS operatives, ventures to take a side. He and the Annex Security Team members who worked with him had only one agenda in telling this story: to make the facts available to the public. It is accurate knowledge, not spoon-fed opinions, that will best serve the public in coming to terms with the "meaning" of Benghazi. This is a book that should be read by people of all political persuasions; the truth, as always, is sufficiently nuanced to challenge and refine any set of preconceived notions you come in with. Whatever your feelings about Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Susan Rice, you're certain to come away from "13 Hours" deeply impressed and moved by the courage and sacrifice of the men who were there in Benghazi that fateful night - both the ones who survived to tell their stories here and the ones who never came home.
I read this before hearing one of the guys speak and I'm glad I did. This is an excellent account of the 13 hours of battle that a small group of ex-military, private contractors faced as they sought to protect the American ambassador to Libya who was under attack by Islamic extremists. The story doesn't delve into the political battle concerning Hillary Clinton and the lack of preparation or support from the State Department - that's not the focus of this story - this is the story of those men on the ground, the decisions they faced, the effort they gave and the blood they shed. I just went and watched the movie and it's a pretty good depiction of the story told here in 13 Hours - yes, the book is better than the movie, isn't it always?! Be cautious giving this book to a younger reader - the language is what you might expect if hundreds of radical Muslims were shooting at a small group of men who were fighting for their lives.
This book is very apolitical in that it makes no attempt to justify or condemn actions or inaction surrounding this incident. By using the information provided by 5 contract employees, some of whom are former Navy Seals, the book tells the step by step, minute by minute experience of what happened at the Compound and the Annex. It brings clarity to what took place and how a very small number of Americans fought off a larger group intent on harming or capturing both facilities and their occupants. If you want to know what took place on the ground, this will tell you. If you are in search of people to blame, you will have to look elsewhere
13 Hours in Benghazi is a fast paced narrative along the lines of Blackhawk Down. While not quite as intense as that book, 13 Hours was a read I had a hard time putting down, as Zuckoff brought me to an 'on the ground' perspective of the events. The only place that this book didn't really deliver, that I was hoping for more insight, was with regard to the back story - more detail on what lead up to it, how things played out in Washington (before, during, after), etc. The book only delivered bits of that information and was primarily focused on the action in Libya. Still, an excellent, compelling read.