The United States Navy has an element of prestige and dignity that is difficult to replicate in the other military branches.
There are many reasons why recruits are interested in joining the Navy from the opportunity to tour the world or desire to engage in tactical combat with special ops.
Consequently, it’s not shocking that many outstanding books have been drafted on the subject.
Navy SEAL books and other rare insights into the lives of sailors is mandatory reading if you are considering a career in the Armed Forces.
Many of these books are international bestsellers and provide insider details into what it’s like to serve in the U.S. Navy.
Related Article – 18 Most Famous Navy SEALs
#15. Saving Bravo
- Author: Stephan Talty
- Publish Date: October 2018
- Price: $24.92
It is unusual to find a book that combines the history of the Cold War and Vietnam War.
What makes “Saving Bravo” even more special is the story is true.
“Saving Bravo” tells the important yet little known story about an American pilot that was sent to deliver the most important secrets of the Soviet Union yet crashed behind enemy lines.
In a rare conflict, Lt. Colonel Gene Hambleton found himself risking capture from both the Soviet Union and North Vietnamese.
It would take the efforts of a Navy SEAL and willing Vietnamese alley to help secure Hambleton from behind enemy lines.
The incredible true story takes readers on a thrilling adventure as Hambleton and his rescuers maneuver amongst 30,000 foreign troops and tanks.
#14. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe The World
- Author: William H. McRaven
- Publish Date: April 2017
- Price: $11.94
“Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe The World” is an informative read.
It examines how simple tasks like making your bed every day transform into life-changing consequences.
In this popular Navy book by William H. McRaven, readers learn how to develop self-discipline and responsibility by starting with simple chores like making your bed.
It’s a higher effective and easy book to follow, based on Admiral William H. McRaven’s commencement speech at the University of Texas. (video below)
While some Navy SEAL books may get stuck in bloody and gory details, “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe The World” is largely motivational.
You’ll get a lot of inspiration and motivation from this amazing book!
#13. Rogue Warrior
- Author: Richard Marcinko
- Publish Date: March 1992
- Price: $8.19
If you enjoyed “Inside SEAL Team 6” then you’ll absolutely cherish “Rogue Warrior”.
It consistently ranks among the best Navy SEAL books for its insider commentary and no-holds approach to storytelling.
Richard Marcinko had an impressive run through the Navy ranks before he became tasked with creating the most elite and deadly counter terrorist unit in the world – Navy SEAL Team 6.
“Rogue Warrior” is a must read because it explains the origins of this profound special ops unit from the beginning.
Readers also get an interesting take on “Red Cell” which is an important albeit little known lesson in U.S. special ops.
“Rogue Warrior” examines the life of one brilliant and ruthless operator, as well as the formation of SEAL Team 6.
#12. Navy SEAL Dogs: My Tale of Training Canines for Combat
- Author: Michael Ritland
- Publish Date: October 2013
- Price: $27.23
Who doesn’t like our fury four-legged friends?
“Navy SEAL Dogs: My Tale of Training Canines for Combat” is one of the most diverse and unexpected reads related to the military.
It explains how canines have become more and more reliable in combat situations, particularly in the Middle East where elite K9 units have been effective at saving lives.
Michael Ritland informs readers about these unique, four-legged heroes that have become more instrumental in sniffing out hidden explosives and other threats in the modern era of combat.
“Navy SEAL Dogs: My Tale of Training Canines for Combat” explores the close relationship between military dog and handler.
Often, these two are inseparable as they combine their talents to save the lives of sailors and special units like the Navy SEALs.
#11. American Sniper
- Author: Chris Kyle
- Publish Date: January 2012
- Price: $18.45
“American Sniper” is one of the more recognizable Navy SEAL books because it was adapted into a popular Hollywood movie starring Bradley Cooper.
The book became a #1 New York Times bestseller long before the movie and, is quite frankly, the best account of the live of Chris Kyle.
“American Sniper” introduces readers to Navy SEAL Chris Kyle who recorded the most sniper kills in U.S. military history.
Kyle was deadly precise during his tour in the Iraq War which garnered him the reputation “The Legend” while enemies referred to him as “The Devil”.
His honest version about the pain and conflict of war is supported by his surviving wife, Taya, who also speaks openly about the strains it creates on family.
Kyle was tragically killed by another veteran in 2013 yet his legacy lives on through “American Sniper”.
#10. No Easy Day
- Author: Mark Owen
- Publish Date: September 2012
- Price: $10.11
If you’re searching for Navy SEAL books that have become New York Times bestsellers than look no further than “No Easy Day”.
The book became an immediate bestseller after the assassination of Osama bin Laden which walks readers through the raid in a first-person account.
Navy SEAL Team 6 operator Mark Owen previously served in Afghanistan and was part of the famous Captain Richard Phillips rescue prior to joining the bin Laden mission.
“No Easy Day” puts readers in the passenger seat of this historical raid from the training and preparation to the actual execution of the mission.
Readers learn about the helicopter crash that nearly exposed the entire raid and was dangerously close to ending Owen’s life.
“No Easy Day” is also informative regarding the War on Terror and how international conflicts transformed following the events of 9/11.
#9. The Warrior Elite
- Author: Dick Couch
- Publish Date: January 2001
- Price: $28.20
How does being trapped in shivering cold water sound to you?
What about surviving days without sleep under grueling, constant directions?
While many want to serve in special ops it’s not for everyone, a valid case that is made in “The Warrior Elite” by Dick Couch.
Couch examines Navy SEALs under a modern microscope as he details their efforts in Afghanistan and with other recent conflicts in international terrorism.
Couch is a former Navy SEAL who accurately documents the SEAL approach of molding a young man into a warrior.
Navy SEAL training is highly considered among the most demanding and challenging programs in the world.
It’s well worth the read if you are considering attending Navy BUD/S training.
#8. The Red Circle
- Author: Brandon Webb
- Publish Date: April 2012
- Price: $21.95
“The Red Circle” is another terrific insider glimpse into Navy SEAL training and expectations.
Brandon Webb details his experiences in the world’s most elite sniper corps from training to combat tours in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf.
The demands of training in Naval Special Operations is highly documented in Webb’s outstanding book.
“The Red Circle” presents a unique and riveting examination of the U.S. Armed Forces through a former covert operations specialist.
Webb spent time working with some of the deadliest warriors on the planet including Marcus Luttrell and Chris Kyle.
As a result, make “The Red Circle” one of your must-read Navy SEAL books for 2021.
#7. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win
- Author: Jocko Willink
- Publish Date: October 2015
- Price: $17.04
Jocko Willink is one of the most important modern commentators of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Willink has direct, first-hand experience and knowledge of the Armed Forces, like most of the authors of bestselling Navy SEALs books.
“Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win” is nearly as much about developing personal characteristics is it about surviving in the military.
Jocko is a leading voice for developing leadership skills as he applies the training he received in special ops to the civilian world.
Willink takes his experiences in Iraq and applies them to practically any situation which is why several business people and corporations have taken his lessons to heart.
The bottom line: If you are looking to improve your leadership skills, then make sure you check out “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win”.
#6. No Hero
- Author: Mark Owen
- Publish Date: May 2019
- Price: $17.78
“No Hero” is the follow-up to Mark Owen’s bestselling non-fiction story “No Easy Day”.
The former Navy SEAL operator describes the evolution of SEAL Team 6 as it has been responsible for some of the most famous assassinations in U.S. history.
Owen was part of the Seal Team 6 raid that captured and executed Osama bin Laden and many other prominent missions.
He details many of these encounters over his noteworthy 13 years as a Navy SEAL.
“No Hero” is a worthwhile read if you enjoyed “No Easy Day” and want to learn about other highly classified and important operations in U.S. Navy history.
#5. The Finishing School
- Author: Dick Couch
- Publish Date: May 2005
- Price: $21.50
Dick Couch has authored multiple Navy SEALs books that are worth taking the time to read.
Couch is most well known for “The Warrior Elite” which takes an unfiltered and blunt look at the super intense Navy BUD/S training program.
In “The Finishing School”, Couch expands on Navy culture by following accomplished SEALs on the ground and in the water.
The purpose of “The Finishing School” is to present recruits with a realistic portrayal of the SEAL Tactical Training necessary to join special ops.
Like his first book, it’s highly recommended reading to prepare recruits for the harsh realities of Navy SEAL BUD/S training.
It gets past the B.S. and straight to the point of what it takes to survive the grueling training program.
#4. Breaking BUD/S
- Author: DH Xavier
- Publish Date: April 2013
- Price: $22.99
“Breaking BUD/S” is also among the most popular Navy SEAL books.
In fact, “Breaking BUD/S” has been referred to by many as the “SEAL Training Bible” which says it all.
“Breaking BUD/S” is one of the most extensive books on a very popular subject among military personnel.
It details Navy SEAL BUD/S training in crisp, fluid detail as readers walk through the Basic Underwater Demolition preparation.
“Breaking BUD/S” presents extremely helpful advice and suggestions for making it through the program which has an incredibly high dropout rate.
D.H. Xavier introduces readers to physical conditioning and mental toughness techniques that can prepare you for the impossible.
If you have any inkling of joining Navy special ops, then this is a must-read.
- Author: Eric Blehm
- Publish Date: May 2012
- Price: $12.69
There is a misconception within the military that you have to be perfect to join special ops.
While the training and expectations are among the most challenging in the world, operators are humans just like everyone else even if they have a fascinating story to tell.
It is what has made “Fearless” by Eric Blehm one of the best books you’ll ever read about military life.
Blehm introduces readers to Navy SEAL Adam Brown who was killed during combat in Afghanistan.
In a letter that was designed only to be seen if he passed away, Brown not only addresses his loved ones but also the cruel realities of war.
Brown overcame a lot to ascend to the highest rank within the U.S. Navy, including a crippling drug addiction.
“Fearless” is a blunt, honest, deeply personal chronicle of the SEAL Team 6 brotherhood and the brave men that serve within it.
#2. The Operator
- Author: Rob O’Neill
- Publish Date: April 2017
- Price: $15.74
“The Operator” by Rob O’Neill became an instant New York Times bestseller for many reasons.
It tells firsthand account of SEAL operator Robert O’Neill who participated in more than 400 highly secretive missions.
O’Neill was a member of the team that rescued Captain Richard Phillips from a pirate invasion.
He also attempted to rescue “Lone Survivor” Marcus Luttrell in Afghanistan after the operator became trapped by himself behind enemy lines.
O’Neill closely examines the pros and cons of serving in elite Navy SEALs while also documenting how the nonstop deployments take a toll on the body and mind.
“The Operator” helps humanize Navy special ops while leading up to the attack on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.
#1. Lone Survivor
- Author: Marcus Luttrell
- Publish Date: June 2007
- Price: $31.99
“Lone Survivor” is a very well known story even for those that are not interested in serving in the military.
The story became mainstream following the book and movie adaptation starring Mark Wahlberg.
Nonetheless, it is worth reading the book even if you have already seen the film adaptation.
The book contains more details and insights into the incredible tale of survival that left four Navy SEALs stranded in Afghanistan.
It primarily focuses on the life of Marcus Luttrell, the lone survivor of Operation Redwing.
While the story is tragic in many regards (largest loss of life in Navy SEAL history) it also tells an important true story of overcoming adversity and extremely unlikely odds.
Luttrell was able to utilize the survival skills he was taught in the Navy SEALs to avoid capture and eventually return home.
There are many outstanding Navy SEALs books available, but if you are only going to pick one, go with “Lone Survivor”.
Honorable Mention: Inside SEAL Team 6
- Author: Don Mann
- Publish Date: November 2011
- Price: $9.57 (hardcover)
“Inside SEAL Team 6” provides rare insights into one of the most renown special ops forces in the world.
Navy SEAL Team 6 got a boost of fame over the last decade following their involvement in the assassination of Osama bin Laden.
Don Mann (former Navy SEAL) takes readers on a special journey through what it’s like to serve in Navy special ops.
Mann spent over 8 years with SEAL Team Six and another two decades serving with the U.S. Navy.
He is one of the more authentic voices which is why many experts recommend it among the best Navy SEAL books available.