“Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior” by Rorke Denver and Ellis Henigan

Damn Few

I love the movie “Act of Valor”. Most people aren’t impressed with it because they tell me people in the movie can’t act and it’s at that point I let them know that it’s because they aren’t actors, they were actual SEAL team members. I love the soundtrack too so when I found a book written by “LT” Rorke, I was excited and a bit leery. I read “Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell and didn’t like it and I was worried Rorke’s book would be more of the same “look at me and how great we are” mentality. I was concerned I was going to have to force myself to read pages of arrogant rambling about how awesome the author is and how wonderful the SEALs are without any actual support to back up those claims.

“Damn Few” starts with how Rorke Denver got into the SEALs and then how he became a SEAL through the rigors of training. The majority of the book is about the training itself. There are snippets at the beginning of each chapter that talk about real combat situations that Rorke was involved in and then the chapter takes over talking about the training. I also liked that Rorke includes quotes about war at the start of each chapter. The book also covers how Rorke approached SEAL training when he was in charge of it and a little behind the scenes of the “Act of Valor” movie.

My fears were slightly confirmed because a significant portion of this book is about how SEALs are an elite fighting machine (which is true). But Rorke does a better job than Luttrell of conveying why they are that way and Rorke definitely doesn’t come across as arrogant and self-serving at all as Luttrell did in his book. He’s honest about what deficiencies are in the program from top to bottom and this is true about the time he was in charge of the training himself. I can now appreciate what goes into turning a man into a SEAL and honestly, I wouldn’t have ever been able to do it myself (that and I’m a girl).

Overall, I enjoyed this book and it’s a quick read at 284 pages. What I got out of the book more than the story was Rorke’s book recommendations at the end (and my ever-expanding book collection expands further).  Overall, I’d give it 3 1/2 stars (Goodreads only allows full stars so I have it at 4 there) because while I enjoyed the book, I would have loved it more if he included more of his actual combat experience instead of focusing on the training.


About jenvolk5

Bank auditor by day, trivia and knowledge hound all other times.
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