Monday, April 18, 2022

Kevin Maurer's "Damn Lucky"

Kevin Maurer is the author of several books, including No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden. No Easy Day spent several weeks at #1 on the New York Times best seller list, and it was the top-selling hardcover book in the industry in 2012. The book is being translated in more than a dozen countries and also debuted at #1 in the U.K. and Canada.

Maurer has covered the military for more than ten years. In 2003, he followed the 82nd Airborne Division during the initial invasion of Iraq. He returned to cover the soldiers more than a dozen times, most recently in 2010 where he spent ten weeks with a Special Forces team in Afghanistan. He has also embedded with American soldiers in east Africa and Haiti.

Maurer applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Damn Lucky: One Man's Courage During the Bloodiest Military Campaign in Aviation History, and reported the following:
Page 99 is the start of Chapter 8 – Five Miles Above. It describes climbing to altitude and begins an important part of the book because it provides a detailed account of how treacherous it was to fight at high altitude.

It ends with:
Almost five miles up. It was like being on top of Mount Everest.
I was surprised that the Page 99 Test worked. I try and focus on first lines and last lines of every chapter, so I wasn’t sure what landed on page 99. It’s interesting, because I’ll read the first 100 pages of any book, but if I’m not hooked by then, I put it down and start a new one.

I think page 99 provides a sense of the book because the passage is centered around Lucky’s actions, which is at the soul of the book, as he and his crew climb to altitude. It allows the reader a glimpse of what it was like to deal with high altitude and cold temperatures – if the reader continues to read. To my chagrin, I noticed an edit that I wish I’d made, which is why I hate going back and reading my books after they publish. But, yes, the test works, for Damn Lucky. Now I’m going to have to check my other titles.
Visit Kevin Maurer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue