Beyond the Battle: Stories from U.S. Navy Men

redstarKleiss, Norman Jack & others. Never Call Me a Hero: A Legendary American Dive-Bomber Pilot Remembers the Battle of Midway. Harper. May 2017. 336p. ISBN 9780062692054. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062692368. BIOG
Kleiss (1916–2016) never considered himself a hero. After joining the U.S. Navy, he became a dive bomber pilot on the USS Enterprise in May 1941. Kleiss was on the aircraft carrier when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. With coauthors Timothy Orr (military history, Old Dominion Univ.; Last To Leave the Field and Cities at War) and Laura Orr (deputy education director, Hampton Roads Naval Museum), Kleiss recounts that awful day, the ensuing bombs on the Marshall Islands, and the 1942 Battle of Midway. He relives these conflicts in incredible detail, including his three direct hits on enemy ships, using memories from his own logbook and official after-action reports from his squadron. Interspersed throughout are personal letters that Kleiss wrote to and received from Eunice Marie Mochon, whom he nicknamed Jean and who later became his wife, along with humorous stories about how he earned the nickname “Dusty” and spent his downtime. VERDICT A standout autobiography for anyone interested in bravery, courage, and first-person accounts of military heroics during World War II. A worthy addition to all libraries as the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway arrives in June 2017.Jason L. Steagall, Gateway Technical Coll. Lib., Elkhorn, WI

O’Neill, Robert. The Operator: Firing the Shots That Killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior. Scribner. Apr. 2017. 368p. index. ISBN 9781501145032. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781501145056. BIOG
When O’Neill retired from the U.S. Navy in 2012, after 16 years of distinguished service as a Navy SEAL, he had ­participated in more than 400 missions, including what was likely the SEAL’s most important one to date: killing terrorist and al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden. Here, O’Neill absorbingly relates the 2011 attack on bin Laden’s Pakistan compound. The author received a Silver Star for this action and for his service in Afghanistan. In this lively account, he describes his childhood in Butte, MT, along with his rigorous SEAL training and stories of building-to-building fighting in search of well-armed al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. These fascinating stories include his role in the successful 2009 mission to free Capt. Richard Phillips from Somali pirates, and those of too many fellow SEALs who were killed in battle. The author concludes with his take on the downside of heroism, as some fellow SEALS claimed O’Neill was trading on his new-found fame as the man who killed bin Laden, which unfortunately hastened O’Neill’s decision to resign. VERDICT Fans of battlefield narratives, such as Michael Golembesky’s Level Zero Heroes, will relish this gripping perspective on 21st-century ­warfare.Karl Helicher, formerly with Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of ­Prussia, PA

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