Alpha: Eddie Gallagher and the War for the Soul of the Navy SEALs

David Philipps. Crown, $28.99 (480p) ISBN 978-0-593-23838-7
New York Times reporter Philipps (Lethal Warriors) presents an enthralling, blow-by-blow account of the 2019 court-martial of U.S. Navy SEAL platoon chief Eddie Gallagher for stabbing a wounded ISIS prisoner to death. Philipps traces the history of the Navy’s special operations force from WWII through the Cold War and Vietnam, as SEALs “developed a rogue outsider status that they wore like a badge of honor.” In May 2017, Gallagher’s Alpha team entered Mosul, Iraq, to assist in the battle against entrenched ISIS fighters. As the platoon progressed across the ruined city, Gallagher began to behave “like some two-bit cult leader,” pitting team members against one another and committing such abuses as stealing personal items, deliberately firing at civilians, and putting the platoon into “pointlessly risky situations.” After returning to the U.S., some SEALs came forward with allegations that Gallagher had murdered a 17-year-old prisoner and then posed for a photo with the corpse. Philipps describes how President Trump and Fox News pundits came to Gallagher’s defense, and recounts the shocking events of the court-martial (which ended with Gallagher’s acquittal on all but one charge) in riveting detail. This is the definitive portrait of a saga that exposed deep fault lines within an elite fighting force. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/19/2021
Release date: 08/24/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 486 pages - 978-0-593-41413-2
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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