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By Water Beneath the Walls: The Rise of the Navy SEALS

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A gripping history chronicling the fits and starts of American special operations and the ultimate rise of the Navy SEALs from unarmed frogmen to elite, go-anywhere commandos--as told by one of their own. Just how and why did the U.S. Navy--the branch of the U.S. military tasked with patrolling the oceans--ever manage to produce raiders trained to operate on land? More, how A gripping history chronicling the fits and starts of American special operations and the ultimate rise of the Navy SEALs from unarmed frogmen to elite, go-anywhere commandos--as told by one of their own. Just how and why did the U.S. Navy--the branch of the U.S. military tasked with patrolling the oceans--ever manage to produce raiders trained to operate on land? More, how did a unit that had no business existing come to lead the ranks of the world's most elite commandos, routinely striking thousands of miles from the water into the deserts and mountains of Iraq and Afghanistan? Behind those questions lies an incredible underdog tale of American military history--and in By Water Beneath the Walls, former Navy SEAL Benjamin H. Milligan tells it as never before. In chapters built around key raids and told through the eyes of remarkable leaders both famous and forgotten, Milligan brings to life the SEALs' predecessors in World War II, the Korean War, and elsewhere; lands us on the beaches of the Bay of Pigs Invasion where the Navy alone emerges with a dedication to commando raiding; and launches us into the rivers and highlands of Vietnam, the proving ground where the SEALs discover the mission of capture-kill and cement their future for decades to come. Yet as the SEALs made their transition to elite commandos, again and again it seemed predestined that some other unit--the Recon Marine, the Green Beret, the Army Ranger--would race to that finish line first. Ranging from the battlefield to the boardroom, Milligan reveals here the fateful victories and defeats that shaped those units in other directions--and how, in each key moment, the Navy contrived to sail into the gaps left behind. Written with uncommon verve and the insight that can only come from a combat veteran and a former member of the book's tribe, By Water Beneath the Walls is not only an exhaustively researched and essential new history of the SEAL Teams but a crackling account of desperate last-stands and unforgettable characters accomplishing the impossible. Most of all, it is a riveting epic of the dawn of American special operations that belongs on the shelf of every reader of military history.


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A gripping history chronicling the fits and starts of American special operations and the ultimate rise of the Navy SEALs from unarmed frogmen to elite, go-anywhere commandos--as told by one of their own. Just how and why did the U.S. Navy--the branch of the U.S. military tasked with patrolling the oceans--ever manage to produce raiders trained to operate on land? More, how A gripping history chronicling the fits and starts of American special operations and the ultimate rise of the Navy SEALs from unarmed frogmen to elite, go-anywhere commandos--as told by one of their own. Just how and why did the U.S. Navy--the branch of the U.S. military tasked with patrolling the oceans--ever manage to produce raiders trained to operate on land? More, how did a unit that had no business existing come to lead the ranks of the world's most elite commandos, routinely striking thousands of miles from the water into the deserts and mountains of Iraq and Afghanistan? Behind those questions lies an incredible underdog tale of American military history--and in By Water Beneath the Walls, former Navy SEAL Benjamin H. Milligan tells it as never before. In chapters built around key raids and told through the eyes of remarkable leaders both famous and forgotten, Milligan brings to life the SEALs' predecessors in World War II, the Korean War, and elsewhere; lands us on the beaches of the Bay of Pigs Invasion where the Navy alone emerges with a dedication to commando raiding; and launches us into the rivers and highlands of Vietnam, the proving ground where the SEALs discover the mission of capture-kill and cement their future for decades to come. Yet as the SEALs made their transition to elite commandos, again and again it seemed predestined that some other unit--the Recon Marine, the Green Beret, the Army Ranger--would race to that finish line first. Ranging from the battlefield to the boardroom, Milligan reveals here the fateful victories and defeats that shaped those units in other directions--and how, in each key moment, the Navy contrived to sail into the gaps left behind. Written with uncommon verve and the insight that can only come from a combat veteran and a former member of the book's tribe, By Water Beneath the Walls is not only an exhaustively researched and essential new history of the SEAL Teams but a crackling account of desperate last-stands and unforgettable characters accomplishing the impossible. Most of all, it is a riveting epic of the dawn of American special operations that belongs on the shelf of every reader of military history.

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