Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Review: "Rogue Warrior"

This past weekend I finished Richard Marcinko's autobiography called "Rogue Warrior." He wrote it with John Weisman so I'm not 100% sure if it qualifies as an autobiography. But who cares.

If you're not familiar with Richard Marcinko (he goes by Dick), he was one of the first Navy Seals and founded Seal Team Six; one of the first counter terrorism efforts by the government. Dick is the kind of guy who not only went to Vietnam, he volunteered to go back. A large part of the book's first half is dedicated to his Vietnam experience. If true, he was quite the warrior.

After Vietnam he bounced around in various tough-guy jobs with the Seals. He eventually founded Seal Team Six, but was somewhat forced out of that position after, what he would say, telling to many admirals to fuck off.

His career with the Navy ended with him conducting fake security operations for a group they called Red Cell. His role was to try and break into military bases to show management how insecure a base was. Oh, and after that he served almost two years in prison for various improprieties, which he said were all false. I think it was in prison when he started writing the book.

If you watched the most recent Batman movie The Dark Night (see my review), there is a scene where Batman is lifted out of a building after an airplane flies by and hooks onto a wire extension placed in the air. This is based on an experiment by the CIA back in the '60s or '70s. Dick Marcinko was one of the first test dummies for the apparatus. He said it was quit a thrill when you're first hooked. I guess a plane grabbing you at 200 miles-per-hour would be pretty cool.

The book is filled with tough-guy moments and swearing. He probably says "fuck" about a thousand times. He also has little regard for his family. From what I can tell, he pretty much cheated on his wife (and told everyone about it) the entire time he was a Seal. And he said, time and time again, that his real family was fellow Seals. Those are the people he felt closest to.

I can't say that I'd recommend the book. However, if you're currently writing an action thriller novel (as I am), Marcinko provides good fodder. Whether he is or not, he portrays himself as a bad ass. He's a good person to build a fictional character from.

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