Welcome to The Reading List, where we’ll be reviewing military fiction and non-fiction books about once a week.

Inside Seal Team Six
Inside Seal Team Six, by Don Mann

Don Mann, former Seal Team 6 member and adventure race organizer, deserves a better book. Inside Seal Team Six, written by Don Mann and ghostwriter Ralph Pezzullo (who also helped write the far superior Jawbreaker), is at its best when describing SEAL corpsman Mann’s incredible lifesaving techniques, but comes up short on stories to tell and is grossly over-redacted on the stories it does tell.

All of that is unfortunate, because Don Mann’s life story is a hell of a tale. Mann spent 17 years in the teams (8 of them on ST-6), and has an inspiring personal story about overcoming peer pressure amid the mid-seventies culture of crime, drugs, and alcohol to become a globally-competitive endurance athlete in addition to being a member of one of the United State’s most elite units. I’ve long been a fan of adventure-racing competitions (although Mann claims to have been screwed out of a TV deal by the producer of my old favorite racing program, Mark Burnett’s “Eco-Challenge”) and was looking forward to an insider’s perspective of not only running such a competition, but Mann’s perspectives on organizing his “Beast” series of races.

Unfortunately, the book is light on all kinds of details, and talks way too much about the Bin Laden raid, which Mann had nothing to do with outside of having worked with some of the SEALs on the raid. Discussion of Mann’s time on ST-6 is pretty light at approximately 50 thoroughly-redacted pages, especially given 1) the title of the book and 2) the fact that the majority of Mann’s operations took place 20-30 years ago.