Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Audiobook Review: 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi

13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi
Mitchell Zuckoff

What happened—without the spin.

For readers who are sick of political ranting on both sides, this sound recording is blessedly free of it. If you want to know what happened at the CIA Annex and diplomatic compound on the night Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi, Libya, read this book.

13 Hours tells the story of the contract operators who provided security for the CIA annex and the diplomatic facilities which were attacked on September 11, 2012. The author states in the introduction that it is meant to relate the events and not to promote or dispel any of the political fallout that happened after the events. When events occurred in the presence of a survivor who could relate it directly, it was used; nothing is assumed or supposed. It offers a refreshing narration of events without “taking sides” or even speculating about the issues external to the events on the ground in Benghazi. The narration is well done and offers insight into the minds and lives of the former SEALS, Marines, and Rangers providing security for CIA missions. The events are heartbreaking due to the loss of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Information Specialist Sean Smith, and contract operators Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods.

Communication that night was problematic, as was chain of command. The CIA operators are former servicemen, but they are independent contractors, and therefore, civilians. The diplomatic facility was not a consulate; the ambassador was visiting in Benghazi from his base in Tripoli, so the compound did not have consular status or standard security. What you get in this book is what it was like to be there that night, responding to the attack, searching the burning buildings, repelling the attacks, waiting for rescue, and mourning the losses. You hear the operators’ frustrations, their fears, their regrets, and their pain. More than anything, you will gain a real sense of the heroism of members of the diplomatic corps and the security forces guarding them.

Kelly Laney
Springville Road Library

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