This first appeared in The Havok Journal on November 19, 2014.
“Ranger Veterans Should Step Out of the Shadows” read a recent headline in one of my favorite blogs, Task and Purpose. Being a regular reader of T&P as well as part-owner of a company that just launched a book about Rangers in the War on Terror, the story caught my attention. I had no idea that it was going to be a review of the very book we just published. We don’t know the author and are not affiliated with him in any way, but we agree whole-heartedly with his primary point: it’s time for these stories to be told. Below is a short excerpt of his review of our book. You can read the full version here.
We need more books like Violence of Action. As a society that has lived with war on the periphery for more than a decade, modern Americans have far too many untold stories. Stories serve so many purposes. As a nation, they build our history, immortalize glory, and serve as valuable tools of therapy. Violence of Action is a collection of firsthand accounts from various authors by and about Rangers of the 75th Ranger Regiment. Modern-day Rangers are not accustomed to sharing their stories with non-Rangers, but Violence of Action breaks through that stigma as a work of literature that holds the potential to serve as the stepping-off point for a generation of quiet-professional warriors.
When a platoon of 40 men executes a mission, each walks away from a unique experience. Violence of Action collects the ground-level viewpoints of Rangers who write from their respective vantage point. These are not the stories of the senior leaders nor are they redacted or conspiratorially revised histories to support a hidden agenda; they are heartfelt recollections that strive to maintain the integrity of promises made not to disclose what should be protected. The book builds a foundation for truly scalable history; as more Rangers from these phenomenal missions capture their own experiences in writing, the true calamitous nature of combat will ironically become clearer, and recorded history will be more accurate.
Many war books draw negative feedback for their lack of anything resembling humility or gratitude. The very nature of Violence of Action as a collection of short writings from a sampling of Rangers (as well as other contributors, such as a Ranger wife and a Gold-Star mother) helps to inoculate this book from the scorn of other veterans. The book also clearly took steps to ensure compliance with operational security concerns. This is important to note because nothing will bitter a veteran faster than reading the information in a book they consider a violation of their non-disclosure statement. Regardless of legality, it is a betrayal of trust.
Want to read more? Check out the original article here on Task and Purpose.