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The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL | [Eric Greitens]

The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL

Like many young idealists, Eric Greitens wanted to make a difference. During college and afterward, he traveled to the world's trouble spots, working in refugee camps, serving the sick and the poor on four continents, from Gaza to Croatia to Mother Teresa's home in Calcutta, among others. Yet he could not prevent violence or save anyone from becoming a refugee; he could only step in afterward and try to ease the damage. So Eric joined the Navy SEALs and became an elite warrior....
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Publisher's Summary

Like many young idealists, Eric Greitens wanted to make a difference. During college and afterward, he traveled to the world's trouble spots, working in refugee camps, serving the sick and the poor on four continents, from Gaza to Croatia to Mother Teresa's home in Calcutta, among others. Yet he could not prevent violence or save anyone from becoming a refugee; he could only step in afterward and try to ease the damage. So Eric joined the Navy SEALs and became an elite warrior.

In a moving and inspiring memoir, told with genuine humility, Eric offers something new in the history of military memoirs: a warrior who wanted to be strong to be good, only to discover that he had to be good to be strong. Throughout his SEAL training and deployments in Kenya, Thailand, Afghanistan, and Iraq, the lessons of his humanitarian work bore fruit. The result is a lesson for us all: the heart and fist together are more powerful than either one alone.

©2011 Eric Greitens (P)2011 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"This tale of [Greitens's] dual military/humanitarian effort could be paired with Rye Barcott's It Happened on the Way to War." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (735 )
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  •  
    Kristopher Calgary, AB, Canada 05-21-11
    Kristopher Calgary, AB, Canada 05-21-11 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of the best books on Audible"

    I've been a member of Audible for several years, listening to a small library of books and this is one of the best by far. An inspiring and mesmerizing true story, the author recounts his time as a humanitarian volunteer in many of the worst spots on earth and his eight years with the US Navy SEALS. Greitens makes his philosophy of humanitarian compasion, backed up with force to ensure protection of those who need it, clear and relevant.
    This book is a great example of what America could be if it didn't spend so much time wrapped up in partisan infighting.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theodore WATERBURY, VT, United States 05-05-11
    Theodore WATERBURY, VT, United States 05-05-11 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unforgettable"

    It helps that the author reads his book, but his viewpoint and his character outshine even a rollicking good read about SEAL training, Mother Theresa, Oxford, the Bosnian and Ruanda genocides, and special ops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Found myself looking for anything and everything else by or about this fellow.

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole Mapleton, UT, United States 05-18-11
    Nicole Mapleton, UT, United States 05-18-11 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I hope everyone will read this!"

    This is one of the best books I've read lately. It has inspired me to be better and do better. It tells of many things Eric Greitens has done in the private sector volunteering in remote corners of the world, his Navy Seal training and deployment. His views are uplifting and refreshing. You will not be disapointed, I couldn't turn this book on tape off until it was over and I wished there were 10 more hours to listen to. This is a great listen and I hope everyone decides to listen!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stroudie Atlanta GA USA 09-20-11
    Stroudie Atlanta GA USA 09-20-11 Member Since 2009
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    "A peaceful activists eyes opened"

    I bought this book for my father, who is a big war fan. But on a long drive to Florida, my husband & I listened to it. Wow! As a peaceful activist I have always abhorred war. I wasn't sure I would find anything in common with someone who had become a SEAL. I was wrong. Eric went from being in the Peace Corps to a SEAL, which seems completely incongruous. However, following Eric on his journey I realise that he is honouring his deep convictions by becoming a protector of the weak not just caring, educating and assisting them. I can't imagine living through what he has lived through, but I am ever grateful for his moral compass in our military. He truly 'Steps up' in his life & he is an inspiration to all.
    The audiobook was riveting. I only found a one part less interesting, which was the description of the hazing in the pacific. Otherwise, this book helped me learn & understand more about those who chose to serve in this way. A very brave & honest book.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Auckland, New Zealand 05-21-11
    Paul Auckland, New Zealand 05-21-11
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    "A thought provoking and well written/read account"

    Have been listening to this book and am amazed by the great way it presents the story. The writer who also reads the book, is a natural to the audio book genre and delivers his story in a compelling and all emcompassing manner. Not an army story, but a life story and freedom, the value of it we in the west take for granted.

    Governments don't make change, people do, from the spark in the heart of one man or women a whole political or social shift can taken place, as we have witnessed in the middle east recently.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob New Carlisle, IN, United States 06-19-11
    Bob New Carlisle, IN, United States 06-19-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Captivating"

    Interesting perspecitive on the strategy of struggle. The balance of too much versus not enough is a complex and hard to comprehend topic that this author fights head on. Fantatstic book. Wish I had more time in the day while I was listening to the book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trip MONTCLAIR, NJ, United States 05-12-11
    Trip MONTCLAIR, NJ, United States 05-12-11 Member Since 2002

    I love Audiobooks. I listen to roughly 50-100 hours a month. It's a good thing I work for Audible!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An amazing book, I couldn't stop listening"

    One of the best examples of Military Memoir I have ever experienced. It helps that Greitens narrates his own words. He is a talented storyteller, who tells his tale plainly and without ego. I was left wanting to know more about him and his work. If you're looking for a shoot'em-up blood and guts thriller, you're not going to like this book.

    However if you'd love a great example of "The hero's journey" in the same vein as "One Bullet Away", "With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa" or even Heinlein's fictional classic "Starship Troopers" you've come to the right place.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    04-03-13
    04-03-13 Listener Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nice, different viewpoint, but slightly dull"

    Eric Greitens yaks on. He's got a good story but an average editor. Great insights into war torn country as he tours them as an aid worker. Some drawn out insights from boxing in his college days. Great travel story about China. Fascinating interactions with war torn refugees.

    But, Eric's voice grated a bit. He really should have gone for a narrator other than himself.

    He also showed some insight into the bigger issues. To an extent though, it lacked the profoundness that the title suggested. Yes, there are reasons to go to war and Eric's got some - but these were written more plainly than I would have liked. I guess watching Zero Dark 30 gives you some convuluted notion of a high level perspective - and it reduced the impact of Eric's service period.

    However, Eric does have a good cause post service, and it is worth applauding.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martha Raleigh, NC, United States 11-12-12
    Martha Raleigh, NC, United States 11-12-12 Member Since 2010
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    "My favorite of the year"

    I feel like most citizens are very disconnected from those who are serving in the military overseas - so I am drawn to books that help me be more aware. This is my favorite book so far of the year. I love what this man has to teach about life, values, compassion, courage and vision. The audio version is read exceptionally well by the author.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. Panama City, FL, United States 06-17-11
    Mr. Panama City, FL, United States 06-17-11 Member Since 2007

    Jonnie

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Navy SEAL with a mission to save the world"

    What a great man. What a great story.
    Listening to how Eric matures and develops through college and his international humanitarian episodes were interesting. However, the best parts for me were Eric's SEAL training experiences. It was very encouraging to know that a man like Eric was going to be a military leader. It was very discouraging to hear about some of the other people who were going to be military leaders. Overall a good listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • testamzn
    newark, United Kingdom
    4/23/12
    Overall
    "The Heart and the Fist"

    Few men can be Navy Seals and few men can write about their unique world like Eric Greitens.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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