First Seals (Hardcover)

The Untold Story of the Forging of America's Most Elite Unit

By Patrick K. O'Donnell

Da Capo Press, 9780306821721, 320pp.

Publication Date: October 28, 2014

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (10/27/2015)
Pre-Recorded Audio Player (11/11/2014)

List Price: 25.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Beginning in the summer of 1942, an extraordinary group of men--among them a dentist, a Hollywood movie star, an archaeologist, California surfers, and even former enemies of the Allies--united to form an exceptional unit that would forge the capabilities of the Navy's Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) Teams. Known as the Maritime Unit, it comprised America's first swimmer-commandos, an elite breed of warrior-spies who were decades ahead of their time when they created the tactics, technology, and philosophy that inspire today's Navy SEALs.

The pioneering men of the Maritime Unit conducted some of the most daring operations behind enemy lines and even survived one of the Third Reich's infamous concentration camps. But after the war, their astonishing record of activity and achievement was classified, lost, and largely forgotten...until now. In First SEALs, Patrick K. O'Donnell unearths their incredible history--one of the greatest untold stories of World War II.

About the Author

Bestselling author Patrick K. O'Donnell is a military historian who has written eight previous books: Beyond Valor; Into the Rising Sun; Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs; The Brenner Assignment; They Dared Return; We Were One (selected for the Marine Commandant's Professional Reading List); Give Me Tomorrow; and Dog Company. His numerous awards include the prestigious William E. Colby Award and the OSS Society's John Waller Award. He has also provided historical consultation for DreamWorks' award-winning miniseries Band of Brothers and for documentaries produced by the BBC, the History Channel, and Fox News. He served as a combat historian in a Marine rifle platoon during the Battle of Fallujah and is in demand as an expert speaker on WWII espionage, special operations, and counterinsurgency on the modern battlefield. Over the past twenty years, O'Donnell has interviewed more than 4,000 veterans who fought in America's wars, from WWI to Afghanistan, and specializes in "unearthing untold true stories that read like novels."