Uncommon Grit: A Photographic Journey Through Navy SEAL Training

D. McBurnett. Grand Central, $50 (224p) ISBN 978-1-5387-3553-4
Retired U.S. Navy SEAL McBurnett documents the character of the elite special forces unit in his blunt and beautiful photographic chronicle of the intensive training required of SEAL recruits. McBurnett details the first four weeks of SEAL training with its culmination in “Hell Week,” five days and nights of acute sleep deprivation, nonstop cold, and arduous exercise, endured in service of developing a mastery of physical and mental pain. Stunning photographs document the program in Coronado, Calif. Of the most grueling physical tests, McBurnett singles out the combat training tank exercises, such as the perilous 50-meter underwater swim, which provides “the first sneak peek to see if you have the mental capability to push you beyond your comfort zone.” Full-page layouts mix black and white, color, and sepia photos of sand-covered grimacing soldiers as they haul huge logs overhead, are sprayed with water during sit-ups, or lie in a curving formation of bodies, battered by water on the tide line. (There’s also an actual seal in the mix, oblivious on beach.) McBurnett’s artistry elevates the training of elite warriors with a mixture of bracing realism and cinematic romanticism, appealing as much to fine photography fans as the military crowd. Agent: Howard Yoon, the Ross Yoon Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/04/2020
Release date: 10/20/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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