Level Zero Heroes: The Story of U.S. Marine Special Operations in Bala Murghab, Afghanistan, Michael Golembesky and John Bruning

Michael Golembesky promised the men in his MARSOC (Marine Corps Special Forces) team that if he lived through their experience in Afghanistan, he would write a book about it. And write he did (with help from John Bruning). Heroes follows Golembesky as he becomes part of MARSOC team 8222 and their exploits in Afghanistan, particularly in Bala Murghab.

This book was pretty much exactly like the rest of the books I’ve read of this genre: guy is in a special ops team, makes up dialogue that he can’t possibly have remembered verbatim,  kills some bad guys (although this guy’s job is to call in air strikes, so there is a lot more of jargon that deals with the equipment he uses and more use of aerial support in ground combat), plans an elaborate scheme to outthink the enemy, and wins at the end of the day.

Don’t get me wrong: these guys definitely are heroes. I’m just a little worn down on how similar all these books seem to be. What is worse is it seems like these guys come back and can’t wait to sign a book deal, as if all their accomplishments weren’t enough. Sometimes war stories should be carried with a person and shared only in the intimacy of those who would understand. The public doesn’t understand war and doesn’t need to be spoon fed the next best “war story” that seems so trivialized by corporate profits in the literary industry. But, that’s just my opinion.

Of the three books in this genre I have read, this is the weakest by far. It is overshadowed by the most deadly sniper in US Military History and the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden: tough players in the arena as far as stories are concerned. Still, if you are interested in learning more about what MARSOC Marines do, this is the book for you.

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