BN.com Gift Guide
Customer Reviews for

The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education

Average Rating 4
( 87 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(53)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(6)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

A Warrior-Scholar

Not many authors who write first-person accounts of life in the military would include on their recommended reading lists Shakespeare¿s Henry V or Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev. That Craig Mullaney does says a great deal about "The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier¿s Ed...
Not many authors who write first-person accounts of life in the military would include on their recommended reading lists Shakespeare¿s Henry V or Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev. That Craig Mullaney does says a great deal about "The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier¿s Education." This volume is a compelling account of military life at West Point and in Afghanistan, where Mullaney commanded a platoon in that treacherous landscape hard by the Pakistani border. In between his years in uniform, Mullaney had the distinction of spending two years at Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar, and he uses his academic side to add unexpected dimensions to "The Unforgiving Minute." He offers a vivid account of West Point discipline¿his experience in Army Ranger training is particularly harrowing¿and real front-line dangers posed by real enemies. That would be enough to make this a fine book, but Mullaney includes themes¿soldierly camaraderie, father-son relationships, even a little bit of romance¿that make it a lot more.
All of Mullaney¿s training comes into play for one unforgiving minute in Afghanistan. I¿d never fully understood why the Army humiliated and even brutalized its future leaders before sending them out to combat. "The Unforgiving Minute" provides the answer.

posted by JoelH on February 18, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Better example of how not to lead...

I bought this on the recommendation of "every junior officer MUST read". And honestly, I wanted to like it, but as I got further and further into it the more I regretted it. The author is obviously very well read and that shows strongly in his writing, but he has a li...
I bought this on the recommendation of "every junior officer MUST read". And honestly, I wanted to like it, but as I got further and further into it the more I regretted it. The author is obviously very well read and that shows strongly in his writing, but he has a little too much chip on his shoulder on his perceived slights about his time at Oxford and his back and forth about whether he really wants to be a soldier.
I would probably respect his book more if he had done more than his required 5 year stint post Academy, with about 18 months of actual unit leadership. All in all, Nathaniel Fick's One Bullet Away is a far better book if you're looking for junior leadership example.

posted by 10453710 on April 5, 2012

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 87 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 5
  • Posted February 18, 2009

    A Warrior-Scholar

    Not many authors who write first-person accounts of life in the military would include on their recommended reading lists Shakespeare¿s Henry V or Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev. That Craig Mullaney does says a great deal about "The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier¿s Education." This volume is a compelling account of military life at West Point and in Afghanistan, where Mullaney commanded a platoon in that treacherous landscape hard by the Pakistani border. In between his years in uniform, Mullaney had the distinction of spending two years at Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar, and he uses his academic side to add unexpected dimensions to "The Unforgiving Minute." He offers a vivid account of West Point discipline¿his experience in Army Ranger training is particularly harrowing¿and real front-line dangers posed by real enemies. That would be enough to make this a fine book, but Mullaney includes themes¿soldierly camaraderie, father-son relationships, even a little bit of romance¿that make it a lot more.<BR/> All of Mullaney¿s training comes into play for one unforgiving minute in Afghanistan. I¿d never fully understood why the Army humiliated and even brutalized its future leaders before sending them out to combat. "The Unforgiving Minute" provides the answer.

    13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2009

    First time war memoir reader - couldn't put it down

    As someone who has never picked up a war memoir, I was captivated and touched by this book¿s ability to make a new world of experiences accessible to me. Mullaney¿s book spans West Point, Oxford University and the mountains of Afghanistan where he led a platoon of men, and ultimately lost one of his soldiers in one of war¿s unforgiving minutes.<BR/><BR/>Military academies and military life have always been black holes to me ¿ I knew they existed, but had never known anyone who had gone through the experience. Part of me was uncomfortable with the image of an over-the-top fraternity-like experience. To experience West Point and battle through Mullaney¿s eyes was to understand the deeply-abiding love, sacrifices, and rewards of the men and women of our military in a new way. Mullaney¿s ability to weave personal reflection and insights throughout his stories of hardship, laughter, sorrow, excitement and wonder made this book nearly impossible to put down even with a toddler running around my feet. As a mother of two sons who may one day be called to serve with the military, this book provided a meaningful window into an important American institution. <BR/><BR/>This book also provides an important window into the war in Afghanistan. Most media analysis is provided by reporters and writers who may travel with and speak with soldiers but have not experienced life in the field. Mullaney¿s background as a West Point graduate, a soldier and leader on the ground in the highly volatile Afghan-Pakistan border region, and a scholar with obvious intellectual and moral fiber make his reflections on the war and its future required reading for all of us concerned with US foreign policy today. <BR/><BR/>A definite must-read that covers the needs of both heart and mind.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 18, 2009

    A book for scholars and soldiers and anyone else interested in a great read.

    A riveting story of one man's preparation for the ultimate test of a military leader. This book takes you from West Point to Oxford to the battlefield on the Afghan Pakistan border. The stakes are high all along the way. Craig Mullaney melds the soul of a poet with the courage of a warrior. His lyrical account of his personal and professional development sets a new standard for modern battlefield memoir.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 26, 2009

    Destined to become a must-read classic

    Readers will find so many embedded, thought-provoking narratives in Craig Mullaney's outstanding book - what it takes to become a man and leader, modesty and humility in a new generation's story of heroic learning and deeds (a refreshing break from the cartoonish silent super heroes we often have seen), the strength that comes from linking thinking and action, the acknowledgement that training never ends. Life will always have its "Semper Gumby" moments. On another level, one is left questioning how the military can get better information faster about equipment and support needs from the soldiers on the front lines up the chain of command. How can the military meld the value of hierarchical organization structure with the entrepreneurial ideas that come from our fighting men and women? Thank you, Craig Mullaney.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2009

    The Great American Novel--Except It's a True Story

    Mullaney's memoir brilliantly captures the struggles and triumphs of a junior military officer and places those experiences in the context of contemporary American life. The Unforgiving Minute documents the difficulty and pressure of transforming the best education and training in the world into success in an extraordinarily confusing insurgency, and learning from the mix of courage mustered and cowardice borne on the battlefield. However, it does not stop at shedding light on that facet of the American experience. In reflecting on preparation for the unforgiving minute, performance during that crucible of combat, and teaching those who would follow, it also tells a coming-of-age tale in which love and betrayal lead to untold challenges and immense personal growth. Reflective, but often humorous, The Unforgiving Minute commands the reader's attention from start to finish. It is essential to understanding, at a personal level, our times.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 18, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A true pleasure to read. This brilliantly crafted memoir of leadership, love and loss has already received glowing praise from more distinguished sources. Still, I feel I have discovered a great young author in Craig Mullaney.

    As a combat veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, my skepticism of contemporary young soldier memoirs runs deep. Hardly would I have been able to stomach another Rambo-like narrative. Life and war are never so simple. <BR/><BR/>So, it was with some reluctance that I picked up Mr. Mullaney¿s book. And, I am pleased to report back that The Unforgiving Minute is a masterful work. It is a book that will be appreciated by those who want to lead, learn or love (Mr. Mullaney is fortunate enough to have experienced all three in his young life). Its candor is striking, its language moving.<BR/><BR/>For me, the book is most impressive in its honesty and its eloquence. Mullaney may be a proven soldier and accomplished scholar, but he also happens to be a brilliant author.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 18, 2009

    Remarkable book, a fantastic read

    This wonderful memoir gripped my attention from the first chapter and held it all the way to the end, as I accompanied the author on his journey from West Point, through Ranger School, to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, and then to Afghanistan and back. On the way, in a truly readable, compelling narrative, the author invited me to share in his most physically and emotionally challenging moments, to celebrate his successes and deeply mourn his losses. All the amazing advance praise for this book is well founded. I couldn't put this book down and will recommend it to all my friends.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 18, 2009

    Very Different Kind of Military Memoir

    This is really 3 books in one: a fantastic account of the process of becoming a military officer, an unflinching look at the ever topical Eastern Front of Afghanistan, and rumination on the idea of achievement and family. This is not typical of other military memoirs I've read (I got an advance copy from a friend) as this shows a particular vulnerability from the author that I found very refreshing. I hope that the book (and it's lessons about the Afghan situation) get a wide audience.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2012

    Better example of how not to lead...

    I bought this on the recommendation of "every junior officer MUST read". And honestly, I wanted to like it, but as I got further and further into it the more I regretted it. The author is obviously very well read and that shows strongly in his writing, but he has a little too much chip on his shoulder on his perceived slights about his time at Oxford and his back and forth about whether he really wants to be a soldier.
    I would probably respect his book more if he had done more than his required 5 year stint post Academy, with about 18 months of actual unit leadership. All in all, Nathaniel Fick's One Bullet Away is a far better book if you're looking for junior leadership example.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 28, 2009

    Captivating, Accurate, and a True Story

    I am a West Point classmate of Craig's from the Class of 2000 and first met Craig in the summer of 1996 during Cadet Basic Training. We were in the same Beast platoon and I was initially amazed with the way in which Craig could memorize required Basic Training knowledge with ease and recite 6 or 7 paragraphs verbatim after only a small amount of studying. More than twelve years have passed and I find myself amazed again by Craig, this time by the captivating book he wrote. The Unforgiving Minute is a brilliantly told true story outlining Craig's experiences at West Point, Oxford, Ranger School, and in the Army which prepared him to lead soldiers in combat. As an Iraq veteran from OIF II, I can honestly say that Craig's account of combat and the 'unforgiving minute' are amazingly accurate and a must-read for soldiers preparing to go to combat or anyone who is curious about what it is really like to experience combat first-hand. Craig still has the same amazing memory as he did 12 years ago, and he was able to depict his memories with vivid descriptions and details that make readers feel as if they were there with him experiencing things along his side. A truly great read, it had my attention from the first sentence and kept it throughout the entire book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2009

    A soldier's education enlightens all...

    As our Nation fights two wars, the relevance of Mullaney's memoirs cannot be overstated. While reminding readers of the great sacrifices waged by our servicemen and women, Mullaney combines the magic of West Point and the harsh reality of war through the incredible journey of a young man, leader, and soldier. As a veteran, I found The Unforgiving Minute to be extremely realistic yet poetically written. The odyssey from student to soldier to veteran delivers acute details while conveying a story of duty, sacrifice, and love. A must read for current and future leaders of our nation and military. An invaluable education for citizens who want to understand why soldiers serve.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 25, 2009

    A Must-Read for anyone with any interest in Afghanistan, the military, traveling, school, love, death, or American values

    One marathon reading session later, I feel deeply inspired by and honored to have read Craig Mullaney's courageously honest memoir. Peppered with literary allusions, Mullaney clearly illustrates the warrior-scholar connection as he relates his formal and military training from West Point through Oxford, Ranger school, and Afghanistan. His impressive resume is only overshadowed by his great depth of feeling, intensity, and patriotism. He wonders if he had an impact on students while teaching at the Naval Academy; if he taught as captivatingly as he writes, there cannot be any doubt that he did. The book should be required reading for all America's leaders within the Armed Forces for its moving account of one soldier's unusual yet edifying education.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2009

    A military memoir, father-son chronicle and Bollywood love story

    Craig Mullaney has taken a step back from his busy record of accomplishments to reflect on his educational journey, from Catholic school in Rhode Island to West Point, where his account of cadet life is almost Harry Potteresque in its adventures and arcane traditions. Next he journeys on to Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, to Afghanistan as an officer and back to the US as a Professor at the US Naval Academy. Mullaney is honest about the forces that motivated him to join the military including his troubled relationship with his father, and the challenges of translating education into action on the battlefield. More importantly he is insightful about the larger forces in military policy that prevent his tour of duty from being successful. The account is by turns poignant, funny and insightful, particularly Mullaney's traditional South Indian wedding to a karate black belt Indian-American doctor.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 19, 2009

    Best Book of the Year

    One look at the advance praise for this book tells you all you need to know: Craig Mullaney has created a memoir that qualifies as an instant classic in American literature. Mullaney's book towers head and shoulders about the rest of its genre and has genuine cross-over appear to a wide readership. It is a tale of love and loss, of patriotism and service, and of self-improvement. Mullaney's memoir is told with unflinching honesty and it conveys the essence of American values. <BR/><BR/>You cannot put this book down once you've started, and you cannot leave this book unchanged. If you haven't bought it yet, do so. If you're looking for a good gift, you've found it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 19, 2009

    West Point to Oxford to Afghanistan

    As we enter into the seventh year of US involvement in Afghanistan, it is a good time to reflect on where we have been as a nation and the costs of war. Mullaney¿s book is a well timed addition to that national conversation and adds a thoughtful, on-the-ground voice to our understanding of the Afghan conflict. If this was all the book did it would be worth reading, but it also delivers a personal story of growth and leadership that inspires as the reader is whisked from Rhode Island to West Point to Ranger School to Oxford and through the rugged terrain of the Afghan-Pakistan border. The reader¿s investment of time will be aptly rewarded with this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2009

    Every young adult, age 18 -25 must read this book!

    Whether or not you support the military, and whether or not you support the military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, you must read this book! This books tells what it is like RIGHT NOW for a young adult in the military. This is a present day coming of age story which will make you cry, ponder, cheer and burst your buttons with pride at being an American!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    One of the most inspiring accounts I've read in quite a long time.

    I just finished reading The Unforgiving Minute, and in it I have found long lost honor and inspiration I once had. As an ex-cadet of USMA, enjoy reading accounts of cadets and grads, which is why I decided to read Mullaney's. I was in for more than I thought. Mullaney had accomplish nearly everything I had wanted to achieve while a cadet. When I left West Point, having been got the best of by the mathematics and chemistry departments, I had lost much self respect and esteem. I've since picked myself up and contribute much to society, but I have alwys wondered "what if?" What if I had done better, graduated, and gone on to Ranger School? How would my life be different? Before finishing the book, I decided that I would do my best to pick up my dreams where I had left off. As a member of the Army Reserve, I am looking forward to changing to active duty to realize my dreams and aspirations. Mullaney's accounts of not only his achievements, but also his times of self-doubt and personal troubles made me realize that I may have veered off course, but I wasn't down for the count. The book reads almost as if Mullaney took the time to tell his story to you over a few pints. I recommend this book for all Americans, both military and civilians. Mullaney is what I feel defines the ideal American. We are privileged to have men and women such as he who are willing to put "responsibility before privilege".

    Go Army!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Forgiving

    There is no doubt that this is a good book, and the author has been getting his share of press for it. I liked it as it presented me with information that I otherwise wouldn't have learned, and provided me with a perspective which I didn't have. The author is not without considerable ego, which colors the pages and his actions. For all his gifts, one wonders why we gave him this military education if he was going to give it up the first chance he had. Small criticism, as people are allowed to leave, but he never does seem bound to be a soldier, leading me to ask why he took that course. And to ask that after reading the book means that something still did not come across.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2009

    A must read

    "The Unforgiving Minute" is certainly one of the best war memoirs to come out of the post-9/11 era. Craig Mullaney's keen sense of his surroundings and his attention to detail allowed him to portray his very poignant story in such a way that any one person can learn a myriad of lessons from his life experiences, military or otherwise. "The Unforgiving Minute" is both a phenomenal tribute to the sacrifice and hardship born by those military members who have served and are presently serving our country in Afghanistan and Iraq and an emotional story of the author's coming-of-age and constant quest for self-awareness. I highly recommend reading this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 7, 2009

    A Soldier's Story, A Love Story, and a Life-Affirming Story

    Craig M. Mullaney's "The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education" is for anyone who has ever asked the question in life "What Am I Doing Here?" as he follows "the magnetic pull of West Point." Mullaney answers that question by taking the reader on his extraordinary and compelling journey, coming from a working-class, Irish Catholic family in Rhode Island, to his education as a Cadet at West Point, as a Rhodes Scholar at Lincoln College at Oxford, and through his training at Army Ranger School, and as a platoon leader in Afghanistan. He finds himself in his "unforgiving minute" in Afghanistan on a mission along the Pakistani border, where he is responsible for his soldiers' safety and lives.

    The "Unforgiving Minute" is surprisingly not only a soldier's story, but a son's story, a brother's story, and a love story, recounting his warm and funny romance with the doctor-in-training who he meets at Oxford. All of Mullaney's experiences come alive in his writing, culminating in his time in Afghanistan as he applies his education and training with his platoon and his superiors (who are not all impressed with his Oxford education and his desire to continue to challenge himself intellectually).

    This inspiring memoir is finely written, always intelligent, and at times, humorous and heart-breaking. It is a must read for any American who wants to understand what it means to be a soldier in these difficult times.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 87 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 5