Monday Book Review: Thirteen Hours

I can’t be glib about this review. I happened upon this book by sheer chance and took it with me to the carib. I have to be honest, it is not vacation reading for most people. It’s heavy work. But once I had a few days of relaxation under my belt, I was ready to tackle 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff and the Annex Security Team. I pretty much plowed through it in one day, taking it with me everywhere on this ship.

Whatever you may think politically about Benghazi, you are free to keep thinking it. This book is the work of one nonfiction writer who researched everything he could get his hands on and then spent serious time interviewing the people who were there, in the thick of it. Then he smoothed it out into a narrative that made me cry for the loss of good men who didn’t need to die.

The book covers the run up to the events of 9/11/12 in Benghazi, discussing the CIA Annex GSR team’s backgrounds and a bit about the historical political situation in Libya. Then it slows dramatically to an almost minute by minute coverage from the moment the attack began until the last man got out on a plane to Tripoli. 13 hours.

It is well written. It’s slow paced. Zuckoff makes you really feel the grind of waiting, not the way the men did, but as close as you are gonna get from your arm chair. I can only describe what happened there as a study in bad decision making where the focus was not on what I feel should have been a priority. Choice after choice were detailed and made me slap my own head. I don’t know what decision makers were thinking, my husband has his own theories, I can’t even.

But setting all that aside, the book is really the story of a small group of men who do what most of us pray we will never have to. And those of us who know we might have to someday, just hope we can do it with as much honor as these men do.

℘℘℘℘℘℘ – 6 pages, almost. I hesitate to give this rating because I am not on my way to the library to get everything else this author has written, in fact, I haven’t even checked into his other works yet. But I carried this book all over a ship in the Caribbean so I could read every second I could find. I had to know.

I know I said I wouldn’t be glib in this review and since technically the review is now over, I will be just a bit glib. This book is my writing wet dream. Interviewing the prime operators, combining that with research, and providing a smooth narrative….I have fantasies about doing just that.

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