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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)

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  •  
    Pamela Dale Foster Sykesville, MD 10-10-13
    Pamela Dale Foster Sykesville, MD 10-10-13 Member Since 2011

    I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "World, Country and Man"
    Where does The Heart and the Fist rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The Heart and the Fist ranks high on my list of audiobooks that I've listened to. There have been more good listens than bad and I find it difficult to rank them. But that is a good thing, author, narrator and content to your liking is a good prescription for passing time enjoyably.


    What did you like best about this story?

    What I enjoyed most about this story that it was a memoir from a man who has committed his mind and soul to the betterment of humankind.


    Which character – as performed by Eric Greitens – was your favorite?

    Since Eric Greitens performed as the narrator and was the author as well, I'd have to say Eric Greitens. He did an excellent narration of his own book. There were many characters in the book but I can't pinpoint any one person being better than another.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Listening was enjoyable and the subject matter was right up my alley. I enjoy reading about The Navy SEALS and I've read many. Reading the book all in one sitting wouldn't have been wise for me. The book discussed Eric's life and the many ways that he had served in various humanitarian efforts. The book was thought provoking and took time to listen closely about the many chapters in Eric's life. Eric Greitins, the author, had been told since he was a boy, that in order to learn about everything, he needed to go to college. He left high school after graduation and left the US to do Humanitarian service in China before starting college at Duke. He went through college on scholarships, he was from a suburban middle class family who could not afford the cost of college. Upon returning from China he began his freshman year at Duke. He honestly didn't quite understand what all the fuss was about because he surely wasn't learning about everything. After his freshmen year was over, Eric left for another country to work as a Humanitarian. He continued doing this throughout his four years of college. This is what led him to become concerned about mankind and geared his college degree to meet those ends. He applied for and was accepted at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He was given a small stipend and worked in many countries where humanitarian services were needed. The poorest was Calcutta, India and he did see Sister Theresa sitting in the front of a gathering but did not meet her. He wrote a 450 page dissertation before finishing at Oxford and was offered a job as a professor as well as being offered a high paying job outside the university. He had been thinking long and hard before and after finishing at Oxford and had decided that he had served numerous countries outside of the US, it was now time for him to serve his country, the USA. He joined the navy and went to school to become an officer before he left to join the SEALS class.


    Any additional comments?

    The Navy SEALS are the most elite of any special ops in the country. This is what I've read in every book I've selected and listened to concerning the SEALS. I do enjoy listening to the men describe how they survived BUDS week, also known as Hell Week. To think that out of 220 men and one woman who were selected to try out for that SEALS team, only 27 made it to Hell Week. Men quit before BUDS as well as during and after. There are also physical injuries that do occur that forces a candidate to try out at another time. Therefore, there were less than 27 men that graduated. The Frog Men were born before the invasion of Normandy. These men had to be taught how to execute underwater demolition skills to kill the enemy and to remove any booby traps that had been laid underwater to prevent the US men being able to reach the shores at Normandy. If they had been caught too far out at sea, every man would have died. It was realized, after WWII, that it was necessary for the US to have trained men and women who could successfully complete the impossible. Thus, the SEALS were born.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    harry PLEASANTON, CA, United States 08-27-13
    harry PLEASANTON, CA, United States 08-27-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Good Story Marred by the Author's Narration"

    I have always admired the lore of the US Navy SEAL's and I really wanted to like this book.

    Though the book offers a different insight into the mentality of an elite SEAL warrior it is weighed down by a halting and amateurish narration by the author.

    This is a great example of how an audiobook can be propelled forward or dragged down by the strength or weakness of the narration.

    Eric Greitens' self narration just does not complement his story...so much so that I hesitate to recommend this audiobook.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 08-17-13
    David 08-17-13
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    "Best Navy Seal Book Available"
    Any additional comments?

    Finally a Navy Seal book that gives the other side of the picture. If you like these books, then I highly recommend reading this book. It gives perspective.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Swann South 05-20-13
    S. Swann South 05-20-13
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    "I'm writing this guy in for president"
    If you could sum up The Heart and the Fist in three words, what would they be?

    Smart, dedicated, worldly


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Heart and the Fist?

    Earl, the boxing coach, making him take pride in the trophy he had received. It was a powerful lesson and the dichotomy between Eric and Earl's backgrounds was very poignant.


    Any additional comments?

    Why don't people of this caliber run for office?

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Copperas Cove, Texas, United States 01-30-13
    Carol Copperas Cove, Texas, United States 01-30-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Interesting journey, highly recommend it!"

    The title is an excellent description. The story is even more memorable because it is performed by the author.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arthur Boonton, NJ, United States 12-12-12
    Arthur Boonton, NJ, United States 12-12-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Good Read...Rhode Scholar who becomes a Navy Seal"
    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Heart and the Fist?

    This book gave a view of a view of how Eric Greiten lived his life and his journey as a Navy SEAL. It is an interesting view of Eric's personal journey through the early years of his life and his years as a Navy SEAL. For those that are looking a book just about Navy SEAL training or life within the teams you may be disappointed. This book is more about his journey as a person and his journey through the world from the point of civilian and Navy SEAL. I would not consider this book heavy military, maybe 50% of the book is dedicated to his Navy SEAL training and career.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    matthew Tucson, AZ 05-14-12
    matthew Tucson, AZ 05-14-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Not just about the Navy Seals"

    This work starts off slow but quickly builds. I was surprised I thought it would be all about military operations, it is not. Eric Greitens provides a great account of his life and humanitarian work. It made me look back and think what have I done and what lessons have I learned from others that developed me? The book keeps you interested and is a great account of some of the suffering that the world endours.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew A. Comchoc 05-04-12 Listener Since 2010
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    "A Great, and Non-Standard War Book"

    I loved this book. The author is the narrator, and although his voice isn't the greatest, I 5-starred the performance category because he's good enough, and it's always preferable to have the author read their own books.

    This guy's perspective as a former humanitarian aid volunteer who then became a SEAL commander is very unique. His insights, derived from the unique prism of experience through which he observes things is very very interesting.

    The first half of the book is about his life in general. And like all SEAL books this one seems to have the obligatory large section about BUDS, but this book is about this guy's life, instead of about something else, so it made more sense here.

    I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caroline Mesa, AZ, United States 02-24-12
    Caroline Mesa, AZ, United States 02-24-12 Member Since 2011

    sleepymommy08

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    "nice narravtive of Navy SEAL training"

    Like many others may have done, I downloaded this just after OBL was killed to find out more about the men who carried out that mission. I usually enjoy hearing books read by their authors but Mr. Greitens voice seems 'dry' to me and does take a little getting used to.

    The story began slowly and I almost stopped listening but I am glad I continued. Mr Greitens descriptions of the people he encountered even before he joined the Navy are one of my favorite parts of the book. His narration of his SEAL training helps you appreciate how difficult the whole course is (without actually participating yourself). I love some of the instructor stories, especially the one about the hokey-pokey which bring a bit of humor into the mox

    I enjoyed hearing that a normal kid grew up to be not only a Rhodes scholar but also a member of one of our nation's elite military units. The most refreshing part of the story is hearing how Mr. Greitens has used his talents to help others after leaving the Navy.

    I gave this 4 stars because I felt the story moved too slowly at times and because of the voice performance. Overall I am very glad I decided to listen to this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DAVID 12-17-11
    DAVID 12-17-11
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    "Wonderful story and very pleasant to listen too."
    If you could sum up The Heart and the Fist in three words, what would they be?

    Great story by a great man. I had the chance to meet Eric at a speech he was giving and he is very genuine just like this book.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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