One Bullet Away
The Making of a Marine Officer
By Nathaniel C. Fick
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780618556137, 384pp.)
Publication Date: January 2005
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A former captain in the Marines’ First Recon Battalion, who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, reveals how the Corps trains its elite and offers a point-blank account of twenty-first-century battle.
If the Marines are the few, the proud,” Recon Marines are the fewest and the proudest. Only one Marine in a hundred qualifies for Recon, charged with working clandestinely, often behind enemy lines. Fick’s training begins with a hellish summer at Quantico, after his junior year at Dartmouth, and advances to the pinnacleReconfour years later, on the eve of war with Iraq. Along the way, he learns to shoot a man a mile away, stays awake for seventy-two hours straight, endures interrogation and torture at the secretive SERE course, learns to swim with Navy SEALs, masters the Eleven Principles of Leadership, and much more.
His vast skill set puts him in front of the front lines, leading twenty-two Marines into the deadliest conflict since Vietnam. He vows he will bring all his men home safely, and to do so he’ll need more than his top-flight education. He’ll need luck and an increasingly clear vision of the limitations of his superiors and the missions they assign him. Fick unveils the process that makes Marine officers such legendary leaders and shares his hard-won insights into the differences between the military ideals he learned and military practice, which can mock those ideals. One Bullet Away never shrinks from blunt truths, but it is an ultimately inspiring account of mastering the art of war.
After receiving a BA in classics from Dartmouth, Nathaniel Fick served as an infantry oficer and then as an elite Recon Marine. He saw action in Afghanistan and Iraq before leaving the Corps as a captain. He is now in a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, D.C. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller ONE BULLET AWAY. Fick is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute of Strategic Studies, and serves as a Director of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy at Dartmouth College. He holds a B.A. from Dartmouth, an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and an MPA in international security policy from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
For more than seven years, Americans learned about the war from news reports. But between headlines, many also turned to books to understand the strategy and the lessons of the conflict. As "Operation New Dawn" begins, Thomas Ricks picks the best and the worst books about the Iraq war. More at NPR.org
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"This is a remarkable book that will give today's readers a much fuller picture of the realities of their military." --James Fallows, National Correspondent, The Atlantic Monthly
Fick's book makes [war] become real, with all the heroism and the mistakes that still come with ground combat." -- Richard A. Clarke, author of AGAINST ALL ENEMIES: Inside America's War on Terror
"One Bullet Away is brilliant, a must read for anyone who wants to truly understand what our troops face.' --General Anthony C. Zinni USMC (Retired), former Commander-in-Chief US Central Command, co-author of BATTLE READY
"One can hardly imagine a finer boots-on-the-ground chronicle." Kirkus Reviews, Starred
One Bullet Away is a singular literary achievement, a gripping account of 21st century war by a 21st century warrior." --Evan Wright, author of Generation Kill
A brilliant, no-bullshit piece of under-the-helmet reporting." --Steven Pressfield, author of Gates of Fire and The Virtues of War
This is one of the best books on the Marine Corps in a long time....Terrific." --Tom Ricks, author of Making the Corps and A Soldier’s Duty, military correspondent, Washington Post
"One Bullet Away is a riveting and highly charged account of modern war." --Lt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, USMC (Ret.), author of The Generals’ War, former military correspondent, New York Times
"Fick's descriptive and exacting writing...guarantees ONE BULLET AWAY a place in the war memoir hall of fame." --Carol Memmott USA Today
"The best sign of military intelligence." Gentleman's Quarterly
"Everyone who cynically dismisses 'the rules of war,' saying, 'there are no rules,' should read this book."
--Jonathan Shay, M.D., Ph.D., senior advisor for ethics and leadership, U.S. Army, and author of Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character and Odysseus in America
"Essential...candid and fast-paced...Like the best combat memoirs, Fick's focuses on the men doing the fighting and avoids...sensationalism." Publishers Weekly
The psychological distance between those who serve and fight, and those who publish and pontificate, is vast. Nathaniel Fick has closed the gap considerably with this fine book.” --Robert D. Kaplan, author of Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground
"[Fick] is a keen observer whose fine writing is distinguished by its intelligence and candor...Compelling...A riveting read." --Michelle Green People Magazine
"Tough-minded, beautifully written." Men's Journal
"Embrace the wisdom of this generation's military spokesman. Read One Bullet Away." --military.com