cover image Shock Factor: American Snipers in the War on Terror

Shock Factor: American Snipers in the War on Terror

Gunnery Sgt. Jack Coughlin U.S.M.C. (ret.) with John R. Bruning. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-01655-3

Coughlin, known for his autobiography, Shooter, and the military thriller series Sniper, delivers an sharp view of the current Iraq conflict, focusing on the period between the initial invasion in March 2003 and early 2007. There’s some sniper history, but Coughlin’s main goal is to show how basic logistics have changed over the years. Snipers now work primarily in two-man teams consisting of a shooter and a spotter; the days of the lone gun crawling through a field are now mostly in the past. A primary purpose of these two-man teams is to move in advance of regular patrol units and set up hides where they can provide cover. Their goal on these missions is to save American lives as much as it is to take enemy lives. Coughlin’s war stories move at a steady clip, aside from a long detour where a frustrated sniper team can do little more than watch as a group of Iraqi police torture scores of prisoners. Though perhaps not on the level of quality as the many books about Carlos Hathcock or the excellent One Shot, One Kill by Charles Sasser and Craig Roberts, this solid update of the snipers’ art is still a worthwhile read on the subject. (Nov.)