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Hardcover One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer Book

ISBN: 0618556133

ISBN13: 9780618556137

One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer

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Book Overview

The New York Times bestseller that "provides a close-up and often harrowing look at Fick's service both in Iraq and Afghanistan" (US News & World Report). If the Marines are "the few, the proud,"... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Must read for junior officers and enlisted leaders

Fick provided an in-depth look at the challenges faced by new officers such as learning what they must do to succeed in battle, carrying out orders that carry more risk than it is worth, and even the mental fortitude required to be a leader/recon marine. If you’ve seen Generation Kill, I highly recommend you read this as it provides a more in-depth look at an already realistic show

a Warriors secret heart...

Legit. A Recon Marine always gives more than he takes. With this said I respectfully thank and honor Capt. Fick for his private and revealing book about Idealism, loss of innoccence, and the Mask of Command. Do Leaders regret, do they feel, do they disagree? Yes, the Legit ones do. However they rarely disobey. Ramparts become stepping stones and enemy ambushes proving grounds for small unit tactics and fire and manuever. One Bullet Away reveales Ficks' secret heart and the violence it bears and also the mans truth and compassion gained by combat. I Myself was a bullet away on more than one occassion and in one particular ambush, Capt. Fick layed it on the line and decisively and calmly saved my teams life. I will always admire, respect and love the Warrior who gave more than he took from 1st Recon Battallion. And all of his men are of the same mind as myself. His book is an affirmation to our platoon and its leadership. Plt Commander and Plt Sergeant be blessed. The men of 2nd Plt thank you. Read the book, it is Legit. Rudy Reyes-Recon Forever

Leadership, Duty, and Brotherhood

"I left the Corps because I had become a reluctant warrior. Many Marines reminded me of gladiators. They had that mysterious quality that allows some men to strap on greaves and a breastplate and wade into the gore. I respected, admired and emulated them, but I could never be like them. I could kill when killing was called for, and I got hooked on the rush of combat as much as any man did. But I couldn't make the conscious choice to put myself in that position again and again throughout my professional life. Great Marine commanders, like all great warriors, are able to kill that which they love most-their men. It's a fundamental law of warfare. Twice I had cheated it. I couldn't tempt fate again." Words of wisdom from Nathaniel Fick. This is a book that gives us the realities of military and Marine life in particular, and written with a superb command of the language and the military mind. Nathaniel Fick was a Dartmouth student who wanted to be a physician. He had difficulty with one of his science courses, and this changed the shape of his life. He realized he wanted to go on a great adventure, prove himself, and do something for his country. And that something was revealed in a lecture he went to about the Marines. He joined the Marines and went through one of the most difficult courses of his life,he thought at the time; Officers Candidate School. Not understanding that the real tests were to come. He became a Second Lieutenant and he went on to Recon school. Reconnaissance teams are the elite of the Marine Corps, if elite was a word in their military language. Recon teams go on the most dangerous missions of all- teams calling for emergency extracts and any form of mission that your mind can imagine. "The Marines develop leaders who are not only skilled, courageous, and tough, but also humane" Lt Fick was one of these. His first orders were that of a platoon leader, and his first assignment was on a ship. He led some very dangerous missions into Afghanistan, and then the most dangerous mission of all; The Iraq war. "War for freedom, war for oil, Philosophical disputes were a luxury I could not enjoy. War was what I had. We don't vote for it, authorize it, or declare it; We just had to fight it." said Lt Fick. And fight it, he did with his platoon. He brought his men through some of the most dangerous of missios. The fact that all of the men he brought with him to Iraq, came home with him in one piece was Lt Fick's own particular mission. He and his men played a small part in the quick "win" in Baghdad. His experience, intelligence and superb actions as an officer won Lt Fick his promotion to Captain. However, this was enough of war. Nathaniel Fick knew he could not continue. He left the Marines and spent a year drifting. He realized that combat had nearly unhinged him. He channeled all his energies into applying to graduate school. Nathaniel Fick is now in graduate school at Harvard University and the Kennedy School of Government. He ha

A New Classic

In flowing narrative, Fick leads the reader from his initial decision to become a US Marine, through his subsequent training, and finally into the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq. I found it an exceptionally honest and raw look into military life, and into the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. One Bullet Away gives an account of what it means to be a soldier today fighting on the front lines. With nuance it discusses the real consequences of our country's decision to go war. I've also read Generation Kill, another excellent account of the Iraqi invasion written by the reporter (Evan Wright) embedded in Fick's platoon. While many of the experiences in Iraq covered by Wright are similar to those of Fick, Wright observed the enlisted Marines' experience at war as an outsider. One Bullet Away offers another view - that of how the platoon commanders on the ground make difficult decisions to lead Marines in war. It captures the angst of those decisions, which have very real and dangerous consequences for Fick, his men, and the civilians living in the battlefields. One Bullet Away is also enjoyable to read. Fick clearly and vividly describes his experience in the Marines with candor and intimate detail, and he captures the range of emotions caused by training, war, and returning home - laughter, fear, frustration, sadness, and pride. One Bullet Away does not focus on the policy behind the war, but offers instead a complicated look at what it actually means for this country to be at war, and what it means to be a Marine. Not only is this an excellent book, powerfully written and interesting to read; it is an important book, that every American civilian wanting to find out what the war is actually like, must read.

Well-written book by a warrior/scholar

I was fortunate to receive a rare galley of "One Bullet Away," or "OBA," and immediately got through the first 100 pages the first night. Fick's prose is by far the best of the current plethora of Afghanistan/Iraq war memoirs (throw in the few Desert Storm books too). His writing actually flows with descriptive details from his days as a junior at Dartmouth through officer candidate school. The meat of OBA starts with his post-9/11 tour in Afghanistan as a rifle platoon commander and his stint with First Recon Battalion (the best of the best) during the march to Baghdad in 2003. While no war diary will offer every perspective ("I was there" embedded journalist, know-it-all retired general, bickering grunt, the first female in ground combat), OBA doesn't pretend to be the ultimate account of the war. It was a treat not to read about another grunt complaining about officers and pay and not knowing what he/she was getting into upon enlistment. However, Fick's experience is comparable to a Marine lieutenant who landed in Vietnam in 1965, the first year of that bitter and protracted conflict for American combat troops. (Unlike the welcome in Baghdad, there were South Vietnamese girls who greeted the Marines with leis as they landed ashore.) The current wars have a long way to go with the most difficult challenges ahead. Still OBA provides rare insights into a young officer's mental state as he leads young volunteers into harm's way twice and manages to bring them all back alive. Fick, an atypical officer from the Ivy League, writes admirably about his Marines who come from broken backgrounds. He doesn't come off sounding like he's too good to be there on the front lines with his men nor do his critical observations meant to further his career (he's in graduate school at Harvard). OBA is a timely must-read, not only for military buffs and veterans, but for our society at large.

Raises expectations and hunger for more

This book easily has historic qualities, with insights derived from from personal recollections and observations. Even morbid overtones are captured artfully. Youthful cynicism of Fick and his contemporaries speaks to the reader with extraordinary eloquence. But the most engaging thing about One Bullet Away is how the author is transfomed from an adolescence student at Dartmouth into a full-fleged warrior a few years later, able to manage the physical and psychological rigor of combat in both Afghanistan and Iraq. My permanent bond with Fick was completed on page 143, where he lays out a idea more powerful than an IED: "My time if Afghanistan hadn't been traumatic. I hadn't killed anyone, and no one had come all that close to killing me. But jingoism, however mild, rang hollow. Flag-waving, tough talk, a yellow ribbon on every bumper. I didn't see any real interest in understanding the war on the ground. No one acknowledged that the fight would be long and dirty, and that maybe the enemy had courage and ideals too." Fick doesn't have to say more to remind us that bin Laden continues to evade us, meaning victory is illusive. So far Fick has delivered one book and a few articles in the New York Times. Surely this is just the beginning of this author's career on the path to wisdom and knowledge.
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