A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter uncovers the story of the shocking rise and fall of a decorated Navy SEAL accused of war crimes, the fellow SEALs who turned him in, and the court martial that captivated the nation.
After nearly twenty years of military service, Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who was admiringly described by those who served with him as 'aggressive', had risen in the elite command teams to the rank of chief petty officer.
But one bright May morning in 2017, Gallagher's trademark aggression culminated in the death of an unnamed ISIS fighter. Several men in Alpha platoon swore they saw their platoon chief murder the captive in cold blood that morning. Others said they saw no such thing. The revelations that followed when his fellow SEALs turned him in would result in a court-martial that divided his platoon, then the SEALs, the Navy, the Pentagon, the White House, and ultimately the American public.
This is a story about a commando who was inspired to serve his nation, who became addicted to combat, and whose need to prove himself among his peers pushed him to extremes - and about the handful of SEALs who decided that upholding their moral code was more important than perpetuating an insider's code of silence. But it is also a starkly modern story - one that reveals how pop culture and social media shaped who the sailor was and how he acted, and how the persona he created ultimately found an ally in America's first reality-television president, Donald Trump.
'This is a book to make your blood boil. Expertly reported and written, Alpha details a truly shameful national episode, and stands as a powerful corrective for those who mistake cruelty for toughness and equate war with murder.' -Mark Bowden, New York Times bestselling author of Black Hawk Down and Hue 1968 'A dogged researcher and gifted writer, Philipps turns the story of Gallagher's rise, his alleged war crimes and the botched Navy prosecution into an infuriating, fast-paced thriller.' -The Washington Post 'New York Times reporter Philipps presents an enthralling, blow-by-blow account of the 2019 court-martial of US Navy SEAL platoon chief Eddie Gallagher for stabbing a wounded ISIS prisoner to death ... This is the definitive portrait of a saga that exposed deep fault lines within an elite fighting force.' -Publishers Weekly, starred review