With the controversial buzz surrounding Zero Dark Thirty—the new film about the hunt for and killing of Osama bin Laden—it isn’t surprising that No Easy Day sits near the top of the New York Times bestseller list, several months after its own controversial release.
One might say the lack of surprise stems from the similar subject matter found in No Easy Day, a first-person account of the planning and execution of the bin Laden raid from a Navy SEAL who confronted the terrorist and witnessed his final moment.
No Easy Day generated its own controversy, given the initial anonymity of its author (Fox News and the AP disclosed his real name; TheBlaze has not) and backlash from the Pentagon and fellow SEALs due to the sensitive material they say its pages contain.
As for factual comparisons between No Easy Day and Zero Dark Thirty, Rolling Stone interviewed screenwriter Mark Boal (who worked previously with director Kathryn Bigelow on their Academy Award-winning film, The Hurt Locker), and he points to at least one striking similarity:
The duo took a risk by crafting their story before the historians had finished theirs, but Boal says he’s been relieved to find his account corroborated in recent reports, including the bestselling SEAL Team Six memoir, No Easy Day–which describes a cocky CIA agent nicknamed “Miss 100 Percent” for her conviction that bin Laden would be in that compound.
Check out the brief news clip on No Easy Day just prior to its release:
Here’s how TheBlaze covered the controversy surrounding the book, even before its publication:
- “Navy SEAL’s First-Person Account of Bin Laden Raid Hits Book Stores on Sept. 11, US Gov’t ‘Surprised’”
- “Author Behind Upcoming Bin Laden Raid Tell-All Ostracized from SEAL Team 6″
- “Navy SEAL Behind Tell-All Book on Bin Laden Raid Identified — Should the Media Have Published His Name?”
- “Fellow SEAL’s Strong Message for ‘Benedict Arnold’ Behind OBL Raid Book”
- “Report: Al Qaeda-Linked Sites Post Name & Photo of Ex-SEAL Author, Call for His ‘Destruction’”
- “SEAL’s Tell-All Book Raises Questions About Bin Laden’s Death, Says Raid ‘Reported Like a Bad Action Movie’”
- “’60 Minutes’ to Air Interview With Ex-Navy SEAL Behind Bin Laden Raid Book: ‘This Book Is Not Political’”
- “Pentagon Threatens Legal Action Over Ex-Navy SEAL’s Bin Laden Raid Book”
- “‘The Greatest Betrayal’: Spec. Ops Community Releases Rebuttal to SEAL’s Tell-All OBL Raid Book”
- “Pentagon: Former SEAL’s Bin Laden Book Contains ‘Sensitive and Classified’ Info.”
- “SEAL Behind the Bin Laden Tell-All Gives Detailed ’60 Minutes’ Interview in Disguise“
Within the pages of No Easy Day, which sports an edgy, rough tone you’d expect from a former SEAL, operator Mark Owen of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group—commonly known as SEAL Team Six—puts readers in the action along with the other handpicked members of the 24-man team as they train for the biggest mission of their lives.
It includes his narrative of the assault on bin Laden’s secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan (a.k.a. Operation Neptune Spear) on May 1, 2011, including the helicopter crash that could have ended Owen’s life, his eyewitness perspective as one of the first SEALs through the door on the third floor of the terrorist’s hideout, as well as the radio call confirming bin Laden’s death.
Owen’s story also draws on his youth in Alaska and describes the SEALs’ quest to challenge themselves at the highest levels of physical and mental endurance. With boots-on-the-ground detail, Owen describes numerous previously unreported missions that illustrate the life and work of a SEAL and the evolution of the team after the events of September 11.