“It would be folly to think that this or any other account would be the last word on events with such wide-ranging implications.”
– Mitchell Zuckoff
Benghazi is a word that is mentioned a lot in the news, especially during this election season. The in-depth details of what happened at the U.S. State Department and CIA Annex on Sept. 11, 2012, where four Americans died is not something you hear a lot of. The movie 13 Hours is based on this book by Mitchell Zuckoff.
I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while and had it on my hold list for a few months before it came up for my turn. My husband and I read the book together and it was nice to have someone to talk about the book with while reading it. It’s hard to believe some of the things that happened during those 13 hours. I’ve also read a few other Zuckoff books and really appreciate how well he researches his topics and treats his books like they are history books and he is passing on the legacy of the people he writes about.
“When Jack saw Henry jocked up and ready, he felt a flush of admiration. Here’s a guy, Jack thought, who’s an administrative guy, and somebody gave him body armor and a helmet and a pistol. He volunteered to come basically on a suicide mission. For us, it’s our job to do stuff like that. His job is to sit behind a desk and interpret Arabic into English. But he’s doing what he thinks is right.”
The overall theme of this book is about the American security operators (contractors) trying to the their jobs, trying to do the right thing and trying to save lives. They are at the annex when the main state department compound comes under attack. They want to go rescue people immediately but are given orders to wait. They finally just go, believing they are doing the right thing and do help bring people back to the annex. There is another stand at the annex before they are all rescued. The book is written like you are there. You can sense the frustration of the security, hear the call of the enemies and smell the blood, sweat and tears. The best description I’ve ever read so far was in this book:
“The smell of burning diesel can be overpowering by itself, a scrambled sulfur-and-egg mixture sometimes described as the scent of Satan cooking breakfast.”
Every American adult should read this book. I have not seen the movie and am not sure my heart could handle seeing it after reading the book. Knowing the details of what happened will make you a more informed person. The book is not political in nature – just factual and documented.