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
"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)
The Author, who is also the narrator, describes his life before being a Navy Seal, the process of becoming a Seal, some experiences as a Seal, and finally his inspiring work after retiring from military service. Everything in his life builds up to the next phase of his life. Certainly he leaves out the mundane and boring parts, but it is inspiring to see reason and purpose for the experiences in life. This is a great read for a teenager who needs direction or is thinking about military service (though there is a fair amount of foul language). The author highlights the need for character and responsibility: for perseverance, honesty, accepting responsibility for your own actions, humility, and living a life serving others.
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.
I generally do not re-read or re-listen to books, but there are certain sections in The Heart and the Fist that I would repeat to remember specific details more clearly.
Eric Greitens' account of his life, his thought processes, and his determination to "walk the walk" so to speak are the best parts of this book, which is really the entire story itself. It is rare to hear about someone who will study and write his opinions about such heavy topics who then decides that if he writes about it he must be willing to do it. Additionally, I really like audiobooks that are read by the author as you get the true emphasis on the important parts of the story. Of the many military memoirs I have read, this is at the top of my list of favorites.
No, I have not. However, I would read and/or listen to another book by this author.
Thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. Even without the social message, it is in turn exciting, heartwarming, tear-jerking and laugh-out-loud hilarious. I highly recommend it to anyone--social/community workers/activists/volunteers, military and former military, or straight up civilians who may never have considered what sets "service" apart as a vocation. In particular, I think Greitens' perspective on the military after having worked in and studied international aid is important for others in both fields to understand. It's a great read, however for someone from any background. Greitens has a wonderful message and he delivers it with humor and humility.
My only criticism is that his narration needs just a little work. I like that he did it himself. It lends more integrity to the words. That said, he has a tendency to lilt-up mid-sentence which I started to find annoying about half-way through. (i.e. "That said? he has a tendency? to lilt-up mid-sentence? which I started to find annoying about half-way through.") He also occasionally swallows the last word or two of a sentence. None of this was distracting enough to subtract anything from any of his stories.
Yes - if you are a man or raising one, it's an exceptional call to action through a life well lived and story told.
Too many quotes, too many people, and too many challenges overcome to list.
I laughed out loud several times and find myself re-examining how I've lived my life and how I plan to raise my boys often. I've always been amazed and humbled by the sacrifice of our men and women in the Armed Forces and respected humanitarians who work in the field. This is a wonderful book which speaks to both sides.
Listen to it. Read it. Underline it. Share it with friends. It's more than worth your time.
First off, it's pretty cool that the autobiographer is the narrator. This book provides a great introspective into the depth of character and toughness required to be a SEAL. It has some really poignant statements about the proper times to apply strength and compassion when addressing international affairs.
This book was great for people that travel and ponder what our global role is. What are the things that humanitarians, Christians, military and other do for those in need, with good intentions, are harmful or helpful for those people and other cultures? Greitens does a fabulous job writing and reading the audio book. Even our 11 year old listened to this audio book with us and enjoyed it. There are some bad words and some content that was hard for us all to hear, but it was real life situations that happen. It's important for our preteens and teens to hear that life isn't all easy, and the freedom we enjoy every day is earned every day by many amazing people that step up to the plate and say "I'll do it."
Blind Vietnam veteran. Antique weapons collector. Outdoor enthusiast. Florida State University graduate with Business major. Owner of home health agency. registered nurse.
A great, exciting read! A MUST read for anyone who thinks they might want to be a Seal. A nice peak into the mind of patriotic youth.
Eric Greitens is a true leader and humanitarian. I would make this mandatory reading in my classroom (high school) except for the foul language.
Not for everyone
Earl, solid human being trying to improve the lives of his students
It was unusual, I was interested to hear a book narrated by the author. Initially it was a little difficult and some of the reading felt stilted - I had expected it to flow, but after a while I got used to the style and it was fine.
In some ways, it prompted me to think about what difference, if any, I was making. I found myself coming up very short in comprarison to Greitens.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.