13 Hours Audio Book Review

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

Authored and Narrated by Mitchell Zuckoff

Audiobook, 7 hours and 43 minutes

Published by Hachette Audio

Language: English


Most Americans are broadly familiar with the attack on the US Diplomatic Compound in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 that claimed the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.  Libyan Jihadists conducted pre-planned, coordinated assaults on the Diplomatic Compound and nearby CIA Annex.  The security for the compounds was known to be inadequate to repel a concentrated attack from even a lightly-armed force, and repeated requests to improve security had been rebuffed by the State Department.  After the attack, false narratives and political mis-direction, only a few months before the November elections, resulted in Congressional hearings where the Secretary of State’s testimony consisted of the words “I don’t recall” more than fifty times.

But this book is not about Washington politics or the lack of accountability which persists to this day, as the author explains at length in his preamble.  This book is about the six Global Response Staff operators who were hired to provide security to the American diplomats and CIA agents in Benghazi.  These GRS members were not mercenaries as they are sometimes portrayed, they are highly trained ex-Rangers, ex-Marines, and ex-SEALs who continued to serve after leaving the military.  While vastly outnumbered, they fought without outside support for thirteen hours.

The author conducted interviews with the surviving GRS operators to reveal a minute-by-minute account of the actions of these men as the events unfolded in Benghazi that night.  The story is told entirely from their perspectives as they fought for their lives and to protect the Americans they were sent there to defend.  This is a gritty narrative of a small group of highly-trained soldiers defending against a larger, but less professional, assaulting force.  If you are looking for a “boots on the ground” account of a prolonged small unit action, I can recommend this book without hesitation.