Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior

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Overview

Rorke Denver trains the men who become Navy SEALs—the most creative problem solvers on the modern battlefield, ideal warriors for the kinds of wars America is fighting now. With his years of action-packed mission experience and a top training role, Lieutenant Commander Denver understands exactly how tomorrow's soldiers are recruited, sculpted, motivated, and deployed.

Now, Denver takes you inside his personal story and the fascinating, demanding SEAL training program he now ...

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Overview

Rorke Denver trains the men who become Navy SEALs—the most creative problem solvers on the modern battlefield, ideal warriors for the kinds of wars America is fighting now. With his years of action-packed mission experience and a top training role, Lieutenant Commander Denver understands exactly how tomorrow's soldiers are recruited, sculpted, motivated, and deployed.

Now, Denver takes you inside his personal story and the fascinating, demanding SEAL training program he now oversees. He recounts his experience evolving from a young SEAL hopeful pushing his way through Hell Week, into a warrior engaging in dangerous stealth missions across the globe, and finally into a lieutenant commander directing the indoctrination, requalification programs, and the "Hero or Zero" missions his SEALs undertake.

From his own SEAL training and missions overseas, Denver details how the SEALs' creative operations became front and center in America's War on Terror-and how they are altering warfare everywhere. In fourteen years as a SEAL officer, Rorke Denver tangled with drug lords in Latin America, stood up to violent mobs in Liberia, and battled terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. Leading 200 commando missions, he earned the Bronze Star with V for valor. He has also served as flag aide to the admiral in charge and spent the past four years as executive officer of the Navy Special Warfare Center's Advanced Training Command in Coronado, California, directing all phases of the basic and advanced training that prepare men for war in SEAL teams. He recently starred in the film Act of Valor. He is married and has two daughters.

Ellis Henican is a columnist at Newsday and an on-air commentator at the Fox News Channel. He has written two recent New York Times bestsellers, Home Team with New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and In the Blink of an Eye with NASCAR legend Michael Waltrip.

With all the SEALs' recent successes, we have been getting a level of acclaim we're not used to. But something important has been missing in this warm burst of publicity... Correcting that is my mission here.
My own SEAL dream was launched by a book. My hope is that this one teaches lessons that go far beyond the battlefield, inspiring a fresh generation of warriors to carry on that dream.
-Lieutenant Commander Rorke Denver

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Veteran Navy SEAL Rorke Denver has fulfilled dangerous assignments on three continents, but those risky pursuits form only part of the appeal of this important book. In addition to battling bad guys in Iraq, Liberia, and South America, Lieutenant Commander Denver has run every phase of training for the elite SEALS. Thus, his Damn Few serves a one-stop citizen's tutorial to the operations, practices, and strategies of America's most revered rapid deployment team.

Publishers Weekly
Denver and journalist Henican (Home Team) take readers from Hell Week to the battlefield and back to base in this portrait of the grueling life of a Navy SEAL. Having led over 200 missions as a SEAL officer, Denver is acutely accustomed to the bizarre mix of lucidity and confusion that can descend on the minds of even highly trained soldiers in the midst of war. It’s his job to make sure that heady blend doesn’t come as a surprise when it matters most. Denver explains that joining “the greatest man club in the world” requires “talent, training, and instinct,” and each of these is subjected to systematic honing in the leadup to induction. The program begins with a six-month marathon course of “medieval ferocity,” during which 70%–80% of the class drop out. After that comes the infamous “round-the-clock relentlessness” of Hell Week, five 24-hour days of punishing physical challenges. The titular few that survive then enter into a kind of liberal arts program of war making—courses run the gamut from parachuting to computer hacking and language studies. The result: warriors “in every sense of the word.” Interweaving tales of battle and reflections on what it means to be a professional killer, Denver crafts an awe-inspiring sketch of soldierly excellence. 16-page b&w photo insert. Agent: Peter H. McGuigan, Foundry Literary + Media. (Feb.)
Lieutenant Commander Rorke Denver
"With all the SEALs' recent successes, we have been getting a level of acclaim we're not used to. But something important has been missing in this warm burst of publicity... Correcting that is my mission here. My own SEAL dream was launched by a book. My hope is that this one teaches lessons that go far beyond the battlefield, inspiring a fresh generation of warriors to carry on that dream."
Steven Pressfield
"If you've ever wished you could read the testament of a Jedi knight, here it is. Damn Few takes us inside the mind of a born warrior. LtCdr Denver has trained SEALs and led them in combat. He tells us what it takes to reach the super-elite level, why he does it, what it means to him, what he thinks the future holds. This is timeless stuff, worthy of being read in the era of Caesar, Alexander, Leonidas--or a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away."
From the Publisher
"With all the SEALs' recent successes, we have been getting a level of acclaim we're not used to. But something important has been missing in this warm burst of publicity... Correcting that is my mission here. My own SEAL dream was launched by a book. My hope is that this one teaches lessons that go far beyond the battlefield, inspiring a fresh generation of warriors to carry on that dream."—Lieutenant Commander Rorke Denver

"If you've ever wished you could read the testament of a Jedi knight, here it is. Damn Few takes us inside the mind of a born warrior. LtCdr Denver has trained SEALs and led them in combat. He tells us what it takes to reach the super-elite level, why he does it, what it means to him, what he thinks the future holds. This is timeless stuff, worthy of being read in the era of Caesar, Alexander, Leonidas—or a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away."—Steven Pressfield, author of Gates of Fire and The War of Art

Kirkus Reviews
A 14-year veteran of more than 200 combat missions reflects on a career training and leading the Navy's elite warriors. Thanks to their many conspicuous successes since 9/11, the SEALs are enjoying a golden moment, celebrated in a number of books and films. Though they number barely 2,500, the SEALs' special skills have proven especially effective in an unconventional terror war, so much so that intense pressure exists now to create more of these special operators, even as the brotherhood attempts to hold the line, fearful of compromising standards and quality. Denver addresses this intraservice controversy, but his story explains why it will take more than a Pentagon fiat to create more SEALs. The fact remains: Few people have the strength, resilience, aggressiveness and mental toughness sufficient to survive BUD/S, their tortuously rigorous entry program, and the subsequent years of advanced training and moment's notice, high-risk deployments. SEALs come in all shapes and sizes, and it's impossible to predict who will succeed. With the help of Newsday columnist Henican (co-author: In the Blink of an Eye: Dale, Daytona, and the Day that Changed Everything, 2011, etc.), Denver takes us through a few SEAL missions, including the bin Laden raid, the sniping of Somali pirates and some house-to-house operations in Iraq. But his focus here is on the training, the lessons taught--that winning pays, that small details matter, that thorough preparation is essential, that nothing about war is fair--and on explaining the SEAL culture, from the outrageous "van brawls" (don't ask) and the enduring fraternal network, to the solemn significance of the gold Trident and the unique self-knowledge that comes with being a "meat eater," a man who's killed someone on the battlefield. "What can't these SEALs do?" To hear Denver tell it, when it comes to special operations, hardly anything at all. Good reading for military buffs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401324797
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 2/19/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 142,694
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Rorke Denver

In 14 years as a SEAL officer, Lieutenant Commander Denver has tangled with drug lords in Latin America, stood up to violent mobs in Liberia and battled terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan (earning the Bronze Star with V for valor and other top commendations). He has also served as flag aide to the admiral-in-charge. He is now at SEAL headquarters in Coronado, California, where he has directed all phases of the basic and advanced training that prepare men for war in SEAL teams. He is currently executive officer of the Navy Special Warfare Center's Advanced Training Command. Telegenic and articulate, he is often asked to represent the SEALs with the media, the military and top government leaders. He is a former All-American college athlete (Syracuse lacrosse) and is married with two daughters.

ELLIS HENICAN is a columnist at Newsday and an on-air commentator at the Fox News Channel. He has written two recent New York Times bestsellers, Home Team with New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and In the Blink of an Eye with NASCAR legend Michael Waltrip.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 25 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 12, 2013

    I have been reading everything I can find on SEALS. Most of the

    I have been reading everything I can find on SEALS. Most of the books are about their experiences on the battlefield. I wanted more. I want to understand what kind of man can even get to be a SEAL. This is the book I have been waiting for; this is a personal accounting of one amazing man's journey to and through this process and back. This man then takes on the recruiting and training of other SEALs, excels at that and then through his extraordinary character, charismatic personality and talent, becomes the face of the SEALs in the film "Act of Valor" and beyond. This man has become the go-to spokesperson for the SEALs and an eloquent and personable conduit to their secret world. He rides the fine line of secrets and disclosure with finesse. An extraordinary person to begin with; from a close knit family, a stellar athlete, an intellect, a spiritual and introspective deep beautiful soul, a wry and humorous, handsome charmer, Mr. Denver, inspired by Winston Churchill, starts out with the noble desire to serve his country. He is a person who always pushes himself. He wants to see what he is made of and looks to join the best of the best . He does and then excels beyond his own expectations. In Damn Few, he takes you through it all. You are with him through all the physical and mental tests and then through the legendary horrible and aptly named Hell Week .You feel the physical and emotional pain. You can barely believe what these men endure. He then takes you into the educational portion and into the strategies and tactics that show you what these men learn and how these skills become visceral nerve and muscle body knowledge through constant drills and realistic training. You see and feel via Mr. Denver's beautifully written prose, how these men are literally forged and created from the uber humans they naturally are. The process combined with their own natural talent, gifts, superior physicality and brilliance make men who can get the toughest and seemingly impossible tasks done. These are the men of science fiction, the true superheroes of our (or any) time. You learn the psychology/culture behind this astounding Brotherhood and why it is such a close knit world and you learn it through the eyes of one of their own. Mr. Denver is such a fantastically skilled writer so with his economic select words: you feel it. He is the real deal.
    Mr. Denver does an extraordinary job of describing the intense process of becoming a SEAL. He describes in an intelligent, emotional and sometimes spiritual sense the discipline and abilities required for this calling. He makes the experience visceral and moving. You come away with a deeper understanding of what it takes to find candidates who just might have the best odds to be able to withstand the process which could destroy a lesser person and why this is needed. You understand that this is truly an elite bunch and no matter how much our government and we need more men like this, they are born and trained and not just easily found. They cannot compromise their standards or they will not be as successful. That is not fair to anyone, especially not the ones already in place. He then takes you through a behind the scenes and personal account of just what the training entails and the most profound challenges and fears any human would need to look at, face and conquer to be able to move through and survive.

    This could easily have been an arrogant account of a cocky Shoot-'em up tale. It isn't. This is a profound look into the real heroes of our time. A behind the curtain look at the ultimate secret weapons of today's and the future’s terror ridden war. Mr. Denver then takes these lessons learned and missions accomplished successfully and some not successfully and turns them into leadership lessons that can (and should) be applied to business and really, to life. This is a book to refer to time and again. It is a page turner and a great read and you will not be disappointed.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2013

    A real deal look from a no nonsense source.

    LCDR Denver does an amazing job of not only regaling the reader with those real-life stories that read like the fiction action novels inspired by them, but also of putting it all into perspective in a very honest way.

    I have read books by Kyle, Luttrell, Webb, and others and have to say that it is nice to get that officer perspective too. All are heroes, and this reader appreciates not only the service given as a member of the United States Navy, but also the service of sharing these stories with those of us who take the time to read and be educated.

    There is no denying the vicarious living that goes along with being a guy and reading this. Imagining the sounds and smells, while wondering if I could hack it in their shoes. This is another chronicle of those warrior men Orwell had in mind when reminding us all that "people sleep peaceably at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." That is a notion I fully believr ans one for which I am supremely grateful to LCDR Denver and his SEAL brothers for all that they have and continue to do.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2013

    A new found respect for the men who serve our country

    Being a wife of a Naval officer who served his country for 26 years I was moved by the honesty, heroics and heart of Rorke Denver; or as his coach Roy Simmons Jr would say,"head, heart and hustle."

    We owe so much to men like this. The least we could do is read about the Navy Seals contributions to our freedom. Truly unsung heroes.
    From page one you are hooked and drawn into the Seals world. You get to live along side Rorke and others as they struggle to become and perform as Seals. You can feel the frigid water , the weight training, sleepless nights, relentless exercises etc. Glad I could journey with him from the comfort of my home.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    Must read

    A very good book you read you can everything about seal camp and know what you need. I hav been wondering what it takes I have been trying to find a book this it is a must read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    Excellent

    A glimpse into the mindset and determination required to become a Navy SEAL and the brotherhood and training that makes them so effective.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    Incredibly wriiten

    Incredibly wriiten

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2013

    Very Insightful

    An awesome book for anyone who is interested in learning more about the Navy SEAlS, especially a must read for anyone who is thinking about joining the Navy SEALS

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    Damn Few!!!

    A rare inside look into self-determination.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2013

    Great Read

    Rorke Denver's account of SEAL training is top notch. I thoroughly enjoyed his book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2013

    One Of The Best

    Simply an intriguing book. Couldn't put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2013

    Must Read !

    Remarkable book by a remarkable hero !

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2014

    LCDR Denver will open many eyes to the life and training of Ame

    LCDR Denver will open many eyes to the life and training of America's United States Navy Seals and the SWCC boat handlers. Men we can all be proud of, but, if you read his book and come away thinking they are only sailors, you must have thumbed the pages with your eyes shut!
    I was never a Navy Seal or SWCC. I am old, or so I am told. Thanks to these brave men and their mind set,. I have adopted their "your only easy day was yesterday" attitude and although my health is bad by disease I continue to push forward, remaining strong, with my head held high! Thank you Sir!
    Someday I will meet a real Navy Seal.

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    Posted October 8, 2013

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    Posted January 17, 2014

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    Posted August 27, 2013

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    Posted December 28, 2013

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    Posted April 20, 2013

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    Posted February 22, 2013

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    Posted July 17, 2013

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    Posted December 21, 2013

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