The Element of Surprise

The Element of Surprise

This classic book is the first one ever to fully chronicle the extraordinary exploits of a Navy SEAL unit--one of the most dangerous details in the Vietnam War.

Reviews of the The Element of Surprise

I met one SEAL when I was in Vietnam. He called us "pussies" because we did not drink much. I have seen stories about SEALS in other wars, and they all seemed like well-trained professionals. I hoped this book would present another side to my feelings about SEALS in Vietnam. SEALS were known as the "men with green faces." The legend among the Vietnamese was that they came out of the swamps and went back in to the swamps. He watched what he ate to avoid burping and farting while out on a mission. "Some of his instructors" treated the Vietnamese "as lower forms of life." He says, "I doubt many of us would have survived the combat situations we were exposed to if we had thought of those people in any other way." If nothing else, this "note" belonged at the beginning. I have met many great professional soldiers who fought in combat who had no such feelings.

Ive read a lot of Vietnam books, but mostly written by Rangers and LRRPs operating further north in the mountains, where the enemy was usually North Vietnamese regulars (soldiers) instead of Vietcong guerillas. OVERALL: 2.4 out of 5 Darryl Youngs book provides the reader a good idea of what operations were like for a young SEAL in Vietnam. He describes the missions, the people around him, his own attitudes at the time, the weapons, the enemy, and the environment. The book is not organized very well, and sometimes it feels like some events are being related out-of-order to satisfy the need to use it as an excuse to describe a weapon or person (that probably should have been described earlier). Young only spends a couple of sentences on his own history prior to SEAL training, and does not once mention the protests or opposition to the war back home, even though he relates his own confusion about American involvement after seeing how unmotivated many South Vietnamese people were to fight for their freedom. It would have been nice if he focused more on these (such as missions where they dressed in enemy gear) instead of the time spent describing operations that were virtually identical to each other. Unlike Gary Linderer (Eyes of the Eagle and Eyes Behind the Lines), Young trained from the beginning for special operations and he doesnt spend much time getting used to things after arriving in-country. This wasnt a problem at first, but when youre three quarters of the way through the book and its suddenly time-out to learn about a common weapon that the reader should have been told about near the beginning, it doesnt work.

Young's 1990 memoir is an earlier example of the genre, an action-packed adventure let down by some repetitive writing. Young served his six month tour in the Mekong Delta, raiding in the canals around Dung Island with Juliette Platoon. Young emphasizes the quiet tension of the raids, lurking in pitch black jungle in absolute silent, wading through neck high canals to avoid booby-traps, and then the desperate and overwhelming fire of an ambush and evacuation.

Darryl Young really did a great job when he wrote the book Element of Surprise. Darryl Young wrote this book to inform people on the excruciating training of a Navy Seal. Darryl does a great job describing all of the training with a lot of detail. Darryl Young tells his readers that mental and physical toughness can help you achieve great things. When Darryls training began he was in a class with eighty-five men. A quote from the book to support his style is The morning calisthenics were grueling: hundreds of sit-ups, push-ups, miles of duck walks, deep knee-bends, and more pull-ups than one could count.(Young xi).

  • English

  • War

  • Rating: 4.03
  • Pages: 304
  • Publish Date: March 28th 1990 by Ballantine Books
  • Isbn10: 0804105812
  • Isbn13: 9780804105811