(My review of the Red Circle posted to Amazon)
To me a memoir is successful if the reader closes the book with the feeling that they have insight into the character and nature of the person righting the book. Too often memoirs are elaborate self justifications written by people with something to prove to others. The Red Circle delivers on the first count and surprisingly makes no attempt to justify anything to anyone. Brandon Webb makes no bones about who he is and how he got there and in being so brutally honest in the telling of that story, Webb pays a real compliment to his audience. The challenge in telling a story about Navy SEALs and Special Operations is that so much of it is secret that most writers are left with stories that are thin on operational details, leaving the reader no better informed than if he just read a newspaper account. Webb manages this task by writing as a witness to the operations in question and rather than dwell on the minute details brings the reader into the bigger picture of the operation. His account of tunnel ratting in Afghanistan is riveting to read. The way political considerations back home can effect the mission of what amounts to a mixed platoon of SEALs and Marines on a simple rec mission in the field is angering and amazing to read at the same time. Webb is at his best when he describes the smells, sounds and emotions of close quarters battle in the War on Terror. In The Red Circle the reader is not going to be sold a rah-rah tribute full of glowing praise for the mythic status of the Navy SEALs and other SpecOps types. Webb doesn't pull a single punch, if he's going to say that a particular SEAL is a turd and can't pull his weight he going to call him out by name. Harsh as it may seem, it serves to humanize these people. We find that these extraordinary men who serve in the Navy SEALs are even more impressive by the fact that they are not supermen but very mortal and subject to the same failings as the rest of us. They drink, they fight, their families break up, they back-stab each other, they compete constantly for status and reputation within the teams. They forgive honest error and even human failings but are brutally intolerant of incompetence or indecisiveness. Webb is to be commended for treating his readers like adults who can accept the multi-faceted personalities of his fellow SEALs as they go about their bloody business. Webb's story of the Navy SEAL Sniper program is equally instructive. The reader comes away with the sense that the SEAL Sniper is someone who has taken the science of ballistics and turned it into an art form of movement breathing and Jedi like concentration and focus. A concentration and focus that all comes down to the tiny image seen in the rifle scope's Red Circle. A place where matters of life and death are decided by just a few pound of trigger pressure. In a real sense that may be the whole point of Webb's book. This is how SEALs live their lives, just a few pounds of trigger pressure away from life and death at any moment.
Have you guys seen the red circle watch? Holy shit! It's on Brandon's personal site. I'll be in my bunk.
Done! Went to see Brandon at a book signing tonight, last minute I saw the header saying he was in town, drove 75 miles after a 10 hr shift with my youngest boy, and it was well worth it. First the book is great. Makes you feel like you know him. He is honest and real in his stories. Its one of the better Mil books out from the GWOT, if not the best of the lot. Makes it so you can relate very easily.
Second. The man in person is someone you would want to have a beer with and listen to what he has to say on a variety of subjects. He handles the QnA session great. Answered q's from people who have probably never served to kids questions to people who have served with the same personal touch.
He is honest and you would have ZERO problems having this guy as your SR NCO. If he comes to your town go meet him. His does a great service for all of us who have served in GWOT, he is a great spokesperson.
Thirdly, its great to see how his writing skills have progressed from KU to 21st Cent to Red Circle.
Brandon...you bring it.
Brandon Webb nailed it! A MUST READ April 08, 2012
THE RED CIRCLE, IS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ. BRANDON WEBB KEEPS YOU GLUED TO THIS BOOK FROM PAGE 1 ON DIDN'T WANT IT TO END! HE MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR GOING THROUGH THE TRAINING AND MISSIONS WITH HIM. THIS BOOK IS A RE-READ X3! JUST A GREAT BOOK, GOD BLESS BRANDON AND THE WHOLE SEALS FAMILY. THEY ARE THE ELITE AND THANK GOD THEIR ON OUR SIDE. Reviewer: Ej C
Done! Red Circle is a great book about a true hero. Thank you for sharing your experiences and insight through your book (and on sofrep.com). I must say this was a fab read that was hard to put down. BW is a great author and I have immense respect for him - as an author and a truly brave American.
I've handed out innumerable copies of The Lone Survivor in an attempt to show my appreciate for the bravery of our armed forces. My hope is that everyone who reads it can have a strong appreciation for the bravery shown and sacrifices made for every single American. This is another book I feel just as strongly about.
The Red Circle will definitely go on the shelf with other greats. (And I'll plan to hand out large quantities of this book to friends as well!)
And thank you, BW, for your service!
I've had a helluva week, and haven't had a lot of time... shit I spent more time handing out Brandon's book than reading it, but tonight I finally got 30 minutes of peace and quiet. I didn't make it far, but in the few dozen pages I got through, I can tell you this:
I've read maybe 2,000+ books in my life: fiction, non fiction, textbooks, manuals. But this one is unique. I've read the greatest storytellers (IMO) who ever lived... but the honesty Brandon brings is startling. I don't know that I would put in print my own personal experiences at this level... some things are too close to home.
I'm only 30 pages in, but I can tell you this: it gives insight into his character, not just from the narrative but there's an overarching honesty that belies a man.
character, integrity, whatever you might call it: at the end of things, I'll be glad to call him my friend.
Brandon,I just finished your book, and it is one of the more enjoyable books I have read in the past year. This was because there were some situations that I could relate to in my experience in the USMC. The biggest thing that stood out was that I was "that guy" at one of the hardest USMC schools in 2010 right before I deployed to Afghanistan. Thank you very much for sharing your life experience with us, and I wish you good luck in all future endeavors.PS: I was laughing pretty good when the SEAL nick named "Garrison" was introduced in the story, who just happened to be a prior service Marine. That was great. Well, I hope it was a nick name and not his real name.
Review is in. Helluva great story. Many thanks for sharing with us. Great to see real guy's stories getting published.
I guess the strive for perfection extends beyond the SEAL Teams...... halfway through and I cant put it down. I have a midterm exam on friday and no studying will get dont until im done with your book. Excellent job sir.
@Dutch Thanks! -BW
@BrandonWebb Hah, I left to teach class, came home and his review *poof*... gone.
There was a thread about him on SOC.net awhile back. Small world.