List of favorite books: Woodcutter - Reginald Hill, Consent to Kill, First Deadly Sin - Lawrence Sanders, Sniper Elite - Scott McEwen
I get that a lot of people will hit the 'no' button when asked if this review was helpful, but somebody has to tell the truth. I believe that the majority of reviewers are proud Americans with a 'Let's kill all the Hajjis' type of mentality. Which I understand and can appreciate on certain levels. 3 Stars is actually kind though with respect to this book... Obviously we are swayed by the sacrifices of Americans that defend this great country. Even with Scott McEwan in the middle driver's seat - This book was only listenable to those who discount writing in order to praise heroics. They are not the same thing. I realized going in that this wouldn't be like listening to "Sniper Elite" by Scott McEwan... But I was hoping for something much better then this. The Story was very - Start/Stop. It had a very Po dunk sort of feel to it - Like a good ole boy attitude would put us on a level playing field. It seemed like the musings of someone, who took time to make a pseudo diary. Not a Diary like the "Notebook" mind you. It was also very opinionated in a way I couldn't relate to - Wether I agreed or not. I 'Could not' finish listening to this book after grinding my way through the first half. There was no continuing story line to follow, so I found it very hard to stay involved with this book on any level. Sorry for the non conformist attitude.
For what its worth............ J
No. The book subject, Chris Kyle's service and actions as a special forces operator in the Navy Seals, smacks of self-aggrandizing tales of conquest (including an apparent incident involving a fight with Jessie Ventura at a bar frequented by Navy Seals. An incident that has not been corroborated or verified by the Seal community), brutish bigotry toward Iraqis, and a childish inferiority complex regarding serving officers in the Seal teams. I felt like I was hearing one drinking story after the other, with each story getting more incredible and fantastic.
My lasting impression of the narrative is one of grave disappointment. I was hoping for the sober recollection of Chris Kyle's service and actions as a Seal Sniper in a manner similar to Michael Durant's memoir (In the company of heroes), or the critical examination of his own actions that are exemplified by Phillip Caputo (Rumors of War) or Robert Mason (Chickenhawk). Instead the story unfolds like that of a country bumpkin that became a Seal sniper. I think the most objectionable aspect of the memoir is Chris Kyle's apparent fidelity to the Christian faith as a means of comfort, yet without any examination of his beliefs or perspectives pertaining to Iraq or its citizens. His clumsy presentation of faith at best makes him come across as a crusader and at worst a very stupid man.
I think what Special Forces operators do is very dangerous, difficult, and requires heartfelt dedication and esprit de corps that is uncommon, and as such forms the basis of my review. Not just anybody does become a Navy Seal, nor should they, so what gets published or presented as fact should be judged so accordingly. Overall I don't think this book does many favors for the Navy. From this book's rendering it would seem that Navy Seals are ill-disciplined brutish killers incapable of higher reasoning or deliberate thought, a charge I doubt is true.
I thought John Pruden gave an excellent performance. His Texas twang and delivery made the character of the book authentic.
Maybe. I went to see Seal Team 6 and was surprised to see that the producers of the film at least tried to enter the complexity of their subject. However, I am not expecting the quality of The Hurt Locker, Homeland, or Zero Dark Thirty. If the film is made by a good executive producer who can present the Chris Kyle's objectionable bigotry as a facet of a complex personality, then the film might be pretty good.
A bar fight with Jessie Ventura, after Jessie apparently disrespects his fellow Seals? Seriously?
I liked the pace and structure of this book. So many battle stories I've read are so long and drawn out that I lose the flow. This was quick stories, to the point, and clear. I also liked the reader. All the details about the weapons was lost on me but I'm sure gun lovers can really get into that. What I had trouble with was the authors personal beliefs about God and country, marriage, child rearing, and the like. Yes, I know it really was the whole point of the book, and I don't have trouble with it being included. But it requires the reader to deal with his attitude toward war, his marriage, etc. And personally I found I didn't like the guy much.
I realize there are these type of people out there - and I'm glad they are on our side, but I would not choose him as a good friend - and I'm sure he wouldn't like me much either. I respect him as a soldier. I honor his sacrifice. But I wouldn't want his type of person making up the rules and running things. There are just other things to consider in war besides "killing the savages." I don't consider these type of people as heros. They join the military because they like to fight, they like to kill. I don't see that as heroic. His story of the soldier that jumped on the hand-grenade to save his buddies - that was the hero. Someone who goes into harms way because he likes war and likes to kill people, for whatever reason, is a soldier doing a job. Conversly, I see this guy as so humble that he would probably be the last person to call himself a hero. I wouldn't call him a savage brut. He seems to be introspective, humble, teachable, caring and even quite sensitive about many things. It is just hard for me to see both sides of these characteristics in a single person. I guess that's just my narrow thinking.
First of all, I'm a patriot and I love and respect our troops and the sacrifices they make for our great country. This particular story I do not find compelling. Frankly it was quite boring in many cases aside from this guy being a sniper. many other people in the military could've told eventually same story about their service. The narration I thought was especially poor. The fakeTexas accent really grated on me. When you pronounce every word ending in ING though it didn't have the G just drove me nuts. And sometimes he forgets and pronounce it the right way. I had heard that the movie was amazing, so I wanted to hear the book 1st. I may still see the movie but the book was a huge disappointment.
I am very grateful there are people like Kyle who put themselves in harm's way to protect our great nation. There are a number of great soldier stories out there and this one just doesn't make the cut. It does shed light on a current-day sniper's life in the battlefield, and the toll it can take on family life. This book was written to appeal to the masses and that really hurts it.
What I found most annoying about the book was the contradictions by Kyle about himself. I believe he tries too hard to not be seen a hero. He says "I'm not a badass" or that he doesn't think of himself as one, but then almost immediately paints the picture of him being one or actually says he and/or his team were badasses. There were several similar attempts like this of self-deprecating humor or self reflection but then he writes very much contradictory stories/statements. Good writing will cut out this pre-empting chatter and let the words or actions stand for themselves. It's okay to be a badass, or enjoy fighting, killing, etc.. So that seemed a bit dishonest or at least amateurish in to include in the book.
Right off the bat, Kyle says he did not enjoy killing. Or the actual act of killing... I forget exactly how he put it, but I do not believe that statement was truthful. He goes on at length about how they did want so badly to kill the insurgents. Maybe you have to say that to give the "warm and fuzzy" effect for readers not comfortable with the reality of war. Let's just tell it like it is.
The story seemed to jump around a bit, or maybe it didn't, I'm not sure. A few things were repeated, and some chapters were really short. It almost felt like reading a book not quite in the final edit stage.
I don't mean to be too hard on this book, but if you read GREAT books you'll recognize this as not being in the same category. With the movie getting such praise I had higher expectations for the writing, but I believe this might be one where the movie is better.
It is unfortunate that Kyle did not get to fully come into his own as a family man. I believe he was just grasping what it meant to be a father and husband as he alludes to near the end of the book. I think he was very candid about the damage his job and the decisions he made during his service had on his family.
Lastly, the narrator has a fake Texas accent which is very noticeable to anyone from the south. I think it is more distracting than helpful, although you do get used to the voice. I would have preferred listening to someone with a true southern accent or just leaving that out of the book. He differentiates Taya's female voice by making her voice much faster which was odd. A female narrator should have been used here. Other than the accents, the narrator does a great job.
Overall, I give it 3 out of 5 in all regards.
I'm not a fan of war. But this was so well written. I learned a lot about being a sniper. I am Patriotic. I appreciate the honesty and humbleness of Chris. God Bless all Soldiers and their families.
I read lone survivor and was drawn to read this.
Chris Kyle (r.i.p) is very ra ra American, let's go kill some people. There are so many moments throughout the book he comes off as contradictory. Claiming he doesn't want to brag,etc- but then subsequently doing it the next sentence. Training deets were cool. Story was meh...