In this unprecedented audiobook, a paramilitary contractor with more than two decades of experience gives us a firsthand look into the secret lives of America's private warriors and their highly covert work around the world. Author Jamie Smith has planned and executed hundreds of missions on behalf of government agencies and private industry in some of the world's most dangerous hot spots - and lived to tell the tale.
They are elite warriors who run highly dangerous missions deep inside foreign countries on the brink of war. Jamie Smith knows these men well. Not only is he one of them, but he was the founding director of one of the most successful global, private military contracting firms. For the first time, he breaks his silence, pulling back the curtain to reveal in raw, intimate terms exactly what paramilitary spies and operators like him do when the government cannot act or take public responsibility.
Combining the thrilling narrative of an international spy thriller with bracing boots-on-the-ground realism, Gray Work follows Smith through grinding CIA training and his career as an operative, his work with Blackwater Security, and the creation of his own successful company. Here is the grit and gristle of modern warfare, from espionage and assassinations, rescues and renditions; from the dark corners of the Arab Spring and the fall of Qadhafi to black ops; from Syria to Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and beyond. Smith has fought terrorists and won; he was ambushed on a mission in Pakistan and took a bullet through his shoulder and to his back and subsequently survived a grueling mountain trek that almost cost him his life.
As founding director of Blackwater Security and then as head of his own company, Smith has helped shape a decade of war. His book powerfully illustrates how the men who serve in this gray area between the public and private worlds are transforming the art and science of modern warfare.
©2015 Jamie Smith (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
Got halfway through this book and thought this is a lot of information that you normally wouldn't expect someone who has done this type of work to be writing about, so I decided to google the author.
I would recommend anyone looking at reading this book to do the same before purchasing.
I think this book would be better to be marketed in the fantasy section.
This would of been very difficult to write as he would only be able to type with one hand as the other was very busy down his pants. Very hard to listen to as any chance of a story pales in comparison to this guy talking himself up so high i though it was written by Steven Segal.
Gray Work had me laughing in the first 15 minutes.
This guy writes like someone who has read a few Matthew Reilly/Frederick Forsyth novels and thought he would write his own. The sad truth is, Mr Smith is probably a compulsive liar and allegedly a convicted fraudster. This book is filled with so much obvious B.S. it is almost unreadable.
His descriptions of under cover "tradecraft" are laughable. Then there are silly acronyms galore; NBH (New Building Headquarters) and PIG (Person In disGuise), OK I made up that last one, but they are all on this level of absurdity.
All this can't distract you from the fact the story just doesn't make much sense. For example, he is meant to be a high level CIA "operative", then goes on to describe how he manned a photocopier for weeks on end.
But hey, what would I know? With positive reviews on Amazon by "Ms. Shopalot" (Mr Smith's wife?) and "Col. Richard C. Roten" (yep, that's his Amazon username!) you are assured of an authentic swashbuckling tale.
For those interested in knowing more about the few who support military and other government operations - from the shadows, this is for you.
Narrated by a clear, and apt voice the listener is compelled to keep listening.
For those who already have a good idea about what goes on "behind the scenes", this is also an excellent Audible.
The book delved into the rise and rise of the Private Military Contractor, and the increasingly asymmetrical nature of modern battlefields. A place where the front line is a sphere that totally engulfs all that you know. Brilliantly written by a person who knows the details of both a state operated large intelligence organisation, and the role that PMC's can play in international and domestic security affairs.
This is a worthwhile book if you are interested in the espionage field. The author details several events that he was directly involved in and goes in to great detail on both a tactical and strategic level.
If you are not excited by the spy world, you may find this book to be too detailed for the casual reader.
The frequent references to the author's religious beliefs become cringe-worthy and, for me, distract somewhat from the immersion of reality, however this is not a deal-breaker.
The book is brilliantly read by the narrator who delivers a flawless and captivating performance.
really interesting story. was more gritty and realistic than many others in the genere. no posturing or muscle flexing to look like a bigger badder tough guy.
I'll admit that Im an atheist so the few parts where he mentions bible things to use chapters as examples and says some sh+t about Jesus. it was pretty infrequent which was good. but when I did hear it I would feel rather irritated listening to someone spout fairytales after just surving violent war zones.
but it was infrequent enough that even a very unforgiving atheist such as myself was able to ignore the such passages.
other than that it was a great book and I would recommend it to anyone who loves non-fiction soldiers in action, gritty and bloody type books.
I should note that he is a private military and espionage style contractor.
I'm glad I had the opportunity to listen to it and once again id like to give a shout out to the narrator Jeff Gurner for a job well done. he's no David Attenborough ;-) but I never once got sick of his voice. great job all around.
"Total horse sh!+. This book is far from true"
While the author may have had a few close calls in his career, he makes himself out to be a super spy. Consider this book fiction with a few stories embellished.
"don't waste your time"
wasted time comes off as a know it all that's more like a wannabe. Not a good edit and poor sound quality.
I did my research on this book I can't believe Harper published it Jamie Smith is a con artist
"Read about Jamie Smith before buying"
Read about the author prior to buying this book, it puts a whole other perspective on the stories it contains.
"What a load of malarkey."
I started listening to this book and after chapter one I could tell things didn't add up. The further I got in the book the more full of crap the author seemed to be. I couldn't stomach the whole book, and decided to look into this guy. Low and behold he is full of crap ever his co-workers said so.
"Don't believe a word of it."
It's all fake. Just Google the author, that will tell you all you need to know.
"This guy is a fraud. The stolen valor is sickening"
This book is a complete work of fiction. Google Jamie Smith and decide for yourself
After I finished, I read more about the author and learned that many sources claim that his history is fabricated.
If you are looking for an interesting story it was. Just really disappointed to learn that it's potentially false.
narrator is excellent, story is suspect at best. I researched the author briefly on line before ordering book but I didn't look deep enough until later.
" View into the privatization of black ops. "
Good read. Added background to events and trends we've increasingly seen of state power projecting force through privatized channels.
"Gritty and funny"
At times I found myself on the edge of my seat feeling as if I was in those dusty streets with the author and then a small quip would make me burst out laughing
Busier than a one winged bird will be part of my life for ever more
Thank you for your service
"Entertaining and insightful"
Well written showing a lot of depth whilst managing to keep casual and at times humorous
"jamie smith seems to see himself as john wayne!!!"
interesting experiences in contemporary conflict situation, let down by right wing view that increased conflict would have solved problems in Iraq, Jamie smith is clearly anti-Obama and rabidly keen on conflict as the solution but then I suppose that how he makes his living
andy mcnad immediate action
narrator was ok
interesting in that it gave a first person account of Libya and other conflict regions as they started to implode
more suitable to American audience, reinforces stereotypes of how some americans view the rest of the world
Really looking forward to listening to this, but after 5hrs of boring repetitive stories, I've had to give in and move on. Such a shame. Normally I would never do this but it's putting me off listening to books.
"Obviously not true from the first page"
Furious at how the publisher misrepresented this book. I didn't need to read the reviews to tell me the author was a fraud, i just listened to the first bravado filled
book spoiled by gos is great and America is the greatest at everything bias. makes everything feel exaggerated
If you're right thinking in your politics, voted for Trump, and have no ethical dilemmas with private contractors turning huge profits interfering in other countries wars then this is most definitely the book for you!!!! Me not so much
"Google Jamie Smith Before Buying"
Any truth in his story
Good STORY but far from the truth if you search for this guy online.
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