There are two things I want to say before I talk about what I thought of this book. First, I was going to give this one of the same style titles that I normally do, but it did not seem right given the subject matter. Additionally, from what I gather this is a historical event surrounded in conspiracy and controversy. To that end, I will not be commenting on what I believe happened. I will simply address the quality of the writing and the impact it has on the event it presents.
13 Hours, in my opinion, is well written for the kind of event that it portrays. By that I mean this writing would not be appropriate for a science fiction or fantasy novel. However, for describing a military operation, this writing works. It provides information as the events unfold in a way that seems authentic for a situation such as the one depicted in the book. Yes, other genres do release information as the events unfold, but the way this one does a little different from the others. Well, it is different to me.
The way the book describes these events makes it feel as if you are on the ground with the soldiers. Granted, if you have not been in a situation like that you cannot really know everything, but I think this book does its job as best as it can. You do feel emotion for the people in this book, all of whom are or were real people, even if some of them were referred to under a pseudonym in order to protect themselves and their families.
Sometimes the book moves slower than I would like, but I imagine that even amidst the adrenaline these men in the compound experienced, it must have felt like one of the longest (if not the longest) nights of their life. I do not believe that the writing focused on anything other than what it needed to. It does not provide the reader with answers to the remaining mystery surrounding the events of that fateful night. Right from the book’s beginning, Mitchell Zuckoff with the Annex Security Team state that the book “is not about what officials in the United States government knew, said or did after the attack, or about the ongoing controversy over talking points, electoral politics, and alleged conspiracies and cover-ups.”
It is simply an account of what happened that night.
At times I was frustrated, confused, sad… You go through a roller coaster of mixed emotions while reading this book. I cannot say that I enjoyed reading the book given that it does recount some horrible things, but it was a good read.
My only question now is if the movie they made about this book and the events in Benghazi appear the same as this book. I have always been wary about books adapted into movies. We will have to see with this one.
Title: 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi
Author: Mitchell Zuckoff and the Annex Security Team