By Fred Burton and Samuel M. Katz
Read by: Jeff Gurner
Macmillan Audio | 2013 | Running time: 10 hours | 8 CDs | $39.99
Reviewed by Michael Carey
If you are like me, you have a hard time keeping up with the news, and like me, you’ll say it’s because of the 24hr news system that promotes pointless and often ignorant commentary with obviously biased, agenda-driven dialogue. Having said that, the news is important, and I’m embarrassed to say how little I knew of the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi in 2012.
I heard about it, but it seems like even before the survivors were back on US soil, the news was looking to point fingers and shouting about conspiracies. I wanted to know what happened and what it meant for our country, but I tuned out the mainstream media. This personal confession leads us to Under Fire. If you want to know in an in-depth, play-by-play account of what transpired that September 11th in 2012, Under Fire is the audio book for you.
Starting with the authors, Under Fire is detailed and informed. Fred Burton is a former Department of State agent (like the ones in the mission fighting to protect the Ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and the Information Officer, Sean Smith) and now vice president of Intelligence and Counterterrorism at Stratfor. He is an expert on security and terrorism.
Samuel M. Katz brings an expertise on the Middle East and the issues, ops, and international terrorism that have arisen and taken place in the region. The audio book combines these men’s’ experience and wealth of knowledge with deep research to bring to light the devastating situation that occurred that night, including the warning signs and the unheeded messages that the situation was becoming dire.
Katz and Burton do not insinuate there was a conspiracy, simply that the government, perhaps the CIA, valued the mission as a presence in the Islamic area during the Arab Spring. Whether or not the attack could have been avoided is not the question (although the answer seems apparent when all is said and done, but that is the funny thing about the past).
The focus of this book, from my perspective, is the action, training, determination, and heroism of the men on the ground, from the hurdles and red tape that hindered their movement to the decisions and sacrifices they made in order to complete their missions and rescue as many of their countrymen as possible.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the events on and leading up to September 11th 2012, as well as a lot of personal and tactical success stories to be remembered. Under Fire brings them and the heroes of that night to life with engrossing and informative narrative read by the Jeff Gurner, a recognizable voice from commercials with an extensive list of voice credits including numerous audio books and video games. His guttural voice, strong and appealing, will invoke your attention and lay out the events and action so dramatically you’ll think the descriptions of the weapons and vehicles could be an advertisement, and you’ll emerge with a greater understanding and appreciation for those who put their lives on the line for peace and our safety.