UNTOLD ORIGIN STORY: The shelf is filled with SEAL memoirs and behind-the-scenes journalistic accounts—but till now, no book has traced the unit’s unlikely, decades-spanning ascent to the pinnacle of the military’s special-unit heirarchy.
THRILLING SMALL-UNIT ACTION: Each chapter recounts specific, key battles with all the immediacy, clarity, and detail a military-history fan could dream of.
THE NAVY HEROES WHO PAVED THE WAY: At the heart of this story are unforgettable characters—who, tasked with the impossible, again and again rose to the challenge and completed their missions.
WHY THE NAVY? Milligan shows us how, over time, other branches of the military and rival special-ops units left gaps for the Navy—and, finally, the SEAL—to fill, expanding their purview beyond the shoreline.
A SEAL’S PASSION PROJECT: This is a book seven years in the making for Milligan, and it shows. There’s real scope here—a narrative connecting the dots of US special ops history in the twentieth century—and he’s both wrestled it all into shape and truly brought it alive, with fantastic detail at every step.
“Deeply researched, well organized, and incredibly engaging, By Water Beneath the Walls is one of the finest histories I’ve read about the formation and rise of the Navy SEALs. This is our legacy with all the warts, the challenges, and the heroics in one concise volume.”—Admiral William H. McRaven, former commander, United States Special Operations Command, and #1 New York Times bestselling author of Make Your Bed
“Fascinating…Written with gusto and based on years of research, this history spans eight decades. Fast-paced and packed with colorful personalities and close-quarters gunfights, it vividly details the lineage of the SEALs. This tour de force confirms what we all suspected: SEALs are slightly crazy, and our nation is safer for it.”—Bing West, #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of Call Sign Chaos
“By Water Beneath the Walls is the SEAL book we needed. A deep dive into the SEALs’ roots, it is written with style and insight that could come only from someone who is part of the community. Milligan uses razor-sharp analysis and masterful storytelling to leave us with a clear understanding of not only how the SEALs came into being, but, more important, why.”—Kevin Maurer, #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of Lions of Kandahar and No Easy Day
“If you want to know how the Navy SEALs became the elite commandos they are today, this is the book for you. Ben Milligan is a detailed storyteller, and his book is a fascinating, page-turning read that deserves a place on any military history lover’s shelf.”—former Navy SEAL and New York Times bestselling author Brandon Webb
“A well-researched, nuanced, and candid look at the evolution of American military special operations and, specifically, the expansion of the role of the Navy SEALs from a maritime/littoral-centric force to an inland, land-based capture/kill special operations component.”—Dick Couch, New York Times bestselling author of The Warrior Elite and Chosen Soldier