The Giant Killer (A Review)

On November 28, 1945, doctors in Stamford Hospital intensely worked to save new born Richard Flaherty’s life. His mother didn’t know at the time of his birth that her blood type was Rh-negative which may lead to serious health problems—and death—in a second born fetus. Richard’s future therefore was sealed before he took his first breath. The complications caused a hormonal imbalance which stunted his growth. Medically speaking, Richard would be considered a proportionate dwarf. He was expected to only grow to the height of 4’ 7” but Richard proved them wrong as he grew to 4’ 9.” He later later proved many others wrong by achieving the impossible and becoming a Green Beret Captain.”


At 4’ 9” and 97 pounds, Richard J. Flaherty was the smallest and most unconventional man to ever serve in the U.S. military and needed a congressional waiver just to enlist in the Army. Bullied and ridiculed at boot camp, Flaherty nonetheless achieved the kind of stature that’s only dreamed of: He became a Green Beret Captain, earning the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts for his actions in Vietnam.

His decommission due to the RIF in 1971 was unexpected and devastating, and Flaherty sank into the murky world of mercenary work. But he gained a reputation for intelligence, and the CIA recruited him to supply the Contras in Central America. So began a wild adventure involving guns, cash, cocaine and HALO jumps into the Everglades. All of that ends when he’s arrested for possession. Abandoned by the CIA, Flaherty discloses a smuggling ring stealing tons of explosives including weapons of mass destruction from inside a U.S. Army base and signs on to a new master, the ATF. The real mission however is for Flaherty to recover a recently declassified weapon of mass destruction that’s about to be sold on the black market (SADM).

After Flaherty’s death, Yuzuk kept digging, researching and confirming. He located witnesses and found documentation in a storage unit that revealed that even while homeless, Flaherty was still conducting clandestine missions around the world — Cambodia, Iraq, Jordan, Venezuela — but who was he working for? The CIA? Private contractors? Or were his missions something much darker?

“My three-year journey of discovery dragged me down the rabbit hole of CIA conspiracies and the hunt for stolen classified weapons — stretching from the bloody jungles of Vietnam to the dangerous streets of Iraq and Venezuela, all in search of the peripatetic Green Beret Captain Richard J. Flaherty.

For his actions in Vietnam Flaherty earned the Silver Star, Bronze Star W/Valor Bronze Star (3OLC), Purple Heart (1OLC), Purple Heart, Air Medal, Gallantry Cross W/Silver Star, Army Commendation Medal, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, 3 Overseas Bars, Sharpshooter Badge W/Rifle Bar, Air Medal, Parachutist Badge, Vietnam Service Medal W/Bronze Service, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.

#1 New York Times best seller author Doug Stanton “You are holding in your hands an amazing journey into a world of puzzles, intrigue, and mystery. Giant Killers are among us– author David Yuzuk walked with one and returned with this tale.”


The high rating is in recognition of the author’s near-perfect objective treatment of the life of one of our unrecognized heroes, a story that leaves it up to the reader to paint Richard Flaherty with wings or not. The biography leaves the reader to ponder the harsh irony that rewards real military heroes with homelessness and anonymity. The book is well written and should be a welcome as a unique addition to the library of Vietnam era enthusiasts.
– Lisa Hambry

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