Book Review: NSW US Navy SEALs


United States Naval Special Warfare: US Navy SEALs

- Greg E. Mathieson Sr
- Dave Gatley
- Rear Admiral (SEAL) George Worthington, USN (Ret.)
- Commander (SEAL) Tom Hawkins, USN, (Ret.)



I consider myself well researched in certain aspects of Naval Special Warfare history, and I was amazed at the quantity and quality of previously unpublished information in this book. Despite the SEAL's high profile in today's media, the history of the unit is largely unrecorded and forgotten, particularly with regards to the waterborne and underwater equipment they have used over the years. This book addresses that gap. It's an epic work and is the current must-have US Naval Special Warfare book. It's a large format glossy hardback with hundreds of amazing photographs, from rare archive sources and more recent high-quality professional photography.

The SEALs were formed in the early 1960s but only became publicly acknowledged in the late 1960s during the Vietnam War. Even then it took years for the current popular image to be formed. Their creation is often accredited to President John F Kennedy. This is a myth, albeit probably the result of a genuine misunderstanding. But it is untrue all the same and this book convincingly dispels it. The SEALs' heritage goes back to the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT), Office Strategic Studies Maritime Unit (OSS-MU) and other raiding units of WW2.

The book includes several sections describing this history in detail and giving fresh insight into this under-recorded aspect of Special Forces heritage. The book also contains up to date information and sections on the organisation, training and equipment of the SEALs.

There have been a handful other excellent books with a similar scope and with great original content over the years (sadly mostly out of print), each building on the previous ones, but at this moment in time this latest work is undoubtedly the authoritative and go-to source of Naval Special Warfare. In certain aspects of recording history this book is simply unparalleled.