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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Sacrifice: The Green Berets, a Fateful Ambush, and a Gold Star Widow's Fight for the Truth by Michelle Black focuses on the aftermath of 2017, when Green Beret Bryan Black lost his life in an ambush in Niger, leaving behind his wife, Michelle, and their two young sons. Faced with limited information from the military about the incident, Michelle embarked on a journey to discover the truth behind her husband's death. She found discrepancies in the accounts provided by commanding officers and the team captain, Mike Perozeni, who became the military scapegoat. Michelle later learned that Perozeni's assessments were disregarded and those further up the chain of command gave the green light despite all they knew. Michelle's faith in the investigative arm of the military was shattered and she took it upon herself to gather evidence and pursue the facts surrounding the mission that led to her husband's tragic end.
Sacrifice by Michelle Black is a deeply intimate view of Michelle's experiences and a wholly consuming emotional journey after her husband's death. As a result, it is impossible not to empathize with her, although trying to grasp what that pain feels like is incomprehensible. When Michelle finds out that there is a video of Bryan's death that was when I threw my hands up and was sure it couldn't get worse. It did. It got much, much worse. Michelle pulls no punches and gives everything she has in a transparent collaboration of what she was told versus what she is certain actually happened. Not all of it is complimentary in retrospect and even Bryan's team is quoted using language with religiously charged stereotypes which, while uncomfortable, do lend to the credibility of Michelle's raw and honest outlook. The most eye-opening chapter of the book is the one where she simply lays out the facts. In 'Disparities', Michelle compartmentalizes the inconsistencies in the military report, with direct excerpts, against what occurred. It's hard to argue with the facts, or that Michelle's story is well-written, absorbing, and affecting.