The Guerrilla Factory: The Making of Special Forces Officers, the Green Berets

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For the first time, an insider takes readers deep into the grueling training that every Army officer must endure to become one of America’s elite Green Berets.

The Navy has the SEALs and the Army has the Green Berets. They are masters of counterinsurgency warfare, trained to immerse themselves in hostile territory, sleeping near their enemies and building relationships with people who want to kill them. In this book, retired lieutenant colonel Tony Schwalm takes readers behind ...

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The Guerrilla Factory: The Making of Special Forces Officers, the Green Berets

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Overview

For the first time, an insider takes readers deep into the grueling training that every Army officer must endure to become one of America’s elite Green Berets.

The Navy has the SEALs and the Army has the Green Berets. They are masters of counterinsurgency warfare, trained to immerse themselves in hostile territory, sleeping near their enemies and building relationships with people who want to kill them. In this book, retired lieutenant colonel Tony Schwalm takes readers behind the scenes of the legendary camp in the North Carolina woods, which all Special Forces soldiers must pass before they can become leaders in this brotherhood of unconventional warriors.

The Special Forces Qualification Course, also known as the Q Course, is infamous in the U.S. Army. It transforms conventional soldiers, with blood, sweat, and tears, into unconventional guerrillas. As a young soldier, the author earned his Green Beret there. Later, he was the commander of Special Forces officer training at Fort Bragg, evaluating and redesigning the crucible in which leaders face brutal tests of physical strength, stamina, and wits, and where men are pushed to the point of hallucination, walk until their feet are bloody, and fight packs of angry dogs with nothing but a rubber rifle.

Revealing details never before shared outside military circles, Schwalm provides a rare and rousing look inside the courageous hearts and souls of soldiers who put their lives on the line for duty, honor, and our country.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When America needed a significant military response, especially after 9/11, Schwalm says the first line of security against terror was the warriors of counterinsurgency warfare, the U.S. Army Special Forces, i.e., the Green Berets. The author, a retired lieutenant colonel with the Green Berets who terms these Special Forces soldiers“supermen without equal in the world,” details their rigorous training to be “killing machines,”beginning with his own difficult passage through the qualification,, or Q, course, at Ft. Bragg, N.C.. Schwalm details the harsh, even brutal contests of physical endurance, will, and tactical resourcefulness of the grunts, driving some soldiers to quit or feign injury to get out of the training. Schwalm himself served as commander of Special Forces officer training, acknowledging the importance of battle-tested guerrilla troops ready for multiple combat deployments throughout the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan. Forged by experience and headline events from flashpoints around the world, Schwalm’s insider perspective on the training for unconventional warfare gives his book a fresh, authentic voice. Agent: James Hornfischer. (Nov.)
bestselling author of Brothers Rivals Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, and the Partnersh - Jonathan W.Jordan
"In The Guerilla Factory, Tony Schwalmoffers a gripping insider's story of how America's elite warriors are made. From the terror ofcapture to the art of building an insurgentarmy, Schwalm's personal accounttakes you deep into the shadowy world of the Special Forces to reveal how Green Berets are picked, trained, and deployed in exotic places where the usual rules of warfare don't apply—where success is shrouded in secrecy andfailure can mean death."
Kirkus Reviews
A retired U.S. Army Special Forces officer provides a behind-the-scenes look at the physical, psychological and emotional toll one pays to join the ranks of America's most elite fighting force. In his debut memoir, former Green Beret Schwalm minces no words recounting the near-tortuous training endured by America's Special Forces. The author begins by categorizing Special Forces soldiers into two types, the Supermans and the Daniel Boones: While "Superman goes, does, and leaves" the Daniel Boone variety of soldier "goes, does, and stays and stays and stays." The staying is the hard part, explains Schwalm, because it demands that trained killers learn to make nice with local citizens in foreign, dangerous terrain. It is a tightrope walk depending more on rhetoric and rapport than conventional weaponry, though for Special Forces soldiers like Schwalm, both brain and brawn have their place. The author's riveting account into the inner workings of elite training proves particularly interesting to military outsiders, who soon learn of icy swims in makeshift rafts, endless midnight runs and war games so realistic that the word "games" seems wholly inaccurate. After enduring POW training--which demanded Schwalm and his comrades be locked in hot boxes and deprived of all basic necessities--the exhausted soldier leaves the extreme training exercise having drawn a single conclusion: "I would rather be a pile of bleached bones shining in the sun than taken alive." Soon after, the student becomes the teacher; Schwalm was dispatched to Trinidad to train Trinidadian commandos in the ways of American warfare. Yet in the wilds of Trinidad, he was faced with a new and humbling challenge: learning to lead despite vast cultural differences. An eye-opening, unconventional war story in which the war itself resides in the training.
Armchair General
“Captivating . . . one of the more engaging books I have read in quite some time. . . . As entertaining as it is informative. The Guerrilla Factory is one of those select works that will appeal to a wide array of readers. . . . For those who simply enjoy a good war story, Tony Schwalm will demonstrate he has few peers.”
From the Publisher
"This is not just a memoir by a top soldier, leader, and scholar—-it is a fine tale of courage, compassion, and selflessness from one of our country's finest." —-Eric Greitens, author of The Heart and the Fist
bestselling author of Brothers Rivals Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, and the Partnersh - Jonathan W. Jordan
"In The Guerilla Factory, Tony Schwalm offers a gripping insider's story of how America's elite warriors are made. From the terror of capture to the art of building an insurgent army, Schwalm's personal account takes you deep into the shadowy world of the Special Forces to reveal how Green Berets are picked, trained, and deployed in exotic places where the usual rules of warfare don't apply—where success is shrouded in secrecy and failure can mean death."
Dallas News
"[A] well written, eye-opening memoir . . . Rich with twists, anecdotes and insights into how officers are selceted and trained to lead small units of tough, highly trained fighters behind enemy lines. . . . [This] is first-rate reading."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451623604
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 11/13/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Tony Schwalm is a retired lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Army Special Forces (a.k.a. the Green Berets). A veteran of multiple combat deployments around the world, he is currently a team leader with the U.S. Army Human Terrain System, leading a group of social scientists who support combat operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2014

    Excellent read!

    Very informative and really welll written!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2012

    IF

    Not this one next result

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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