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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

Critic Reviews

"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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  • Overall
  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 05-22-11

phenomenal journey

Nothing is better to listen to on Audible than a great book, well narrated by its author. This is a fascinating story about one man, and his journey to being what he is today. Greitens' ultimate story is yet to be told, but you cannot do much better than he has done so far. An inspiring story.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Lakewood, CO, United States
  • 03-05-12

Honest and engaging

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

His honesty about his own personal failings with his grandfather while aiding refugees in Rwanda is character and humanity rarely written about outside of the most personal journals. I've had moments like that in my own life, but never had the courage to share it with anyone. Greitens' story is powerful and compelling.

Any additional comments?

If you read Sole Survivor and were a bit disappointed with the arrogance, religious overtones, and lack of believability, and were left longing for an honest accounting of what makes a true warrior, this book is not to be missed. Simply one of the most amazing soldier stories I've read (and I'm partial to the genre).

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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From Oxford to Afghanistan

STORY (True) -- This is the personal memoir of a remarkable young man named Eric Greitens. He attended Oxford and excelled scholastically, and he also traveled to many poverty-stricken countries to aid children and victims of genocide or war. His impression was always the same...we're here too late, why are we handing out food when we should have stopped this from happening in the first place? He also adopted an attitude of "If not me, then who?" He reached a point in his life where he had three paths before him. He could stay and teach at Oxford, work for a Fortune 500 company making megabucks or join the Navy. He chose the latter.

A major portion of the book is Eric's going through boot camp and training to become a Navy SEAL. It's detailed and fascinating. You will spend lots of time listening to what goes on during Hell Week, which is the grueling final test which must be passed before becoming a SEAL. All I can say is Wow! After graduation, you will hear of multiple SEAL missions in which he participated, most of which were in Afghanistan trying to capture high-ranking members of terrorist groups.

The end of the book is a very short bit about the organization Eric has formed to help veterans. The book definitely sends some important messages and will leave you thinking about them.

PERFORMANCE - The author narrates his own memoir and it was good to hear Eric's voice. He does a good job, but personally I would have preferred a professional narrator.

OVERALL (Actual rating 4.5) This is a great book. I'm not rating it a 5 because I was anxious for the SEAL part to start and was less interested in his college years and humanitarian efforts. There's a little bit of profanity, but not much. Eric describes the sad conditions he finds overseas and speaks frankly about his military missions, but I didn't find anything overly gross or depressing. I'd recommend this book for guys over about age 15. Females probably won't be interested in the subject matter till they're older.


2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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COMPASSION AND AGGRESSION ; YIN AND YANG

The publisher's review explains the story but the author / narrator through sharing his story tells of self made opportunites to make a difference in the life of others by being the best he could be as a compassionate aide and an aggresive leader. Like the author the story is balanced in several ways. His life divided into two time frames, both of which are compelling listening. There is sadness and humour, friends and enemies, east and west, unity and division. The more I listened, the more I learnt about my self and my own values.
Not because the author asks that of us, but because his motivations and actions are stimulants to our sense of self worth.
The author is currently leading a path that I cannot wait to read about some time in the future. He has the heart of a warrior who was born to protect, always with the velvet glove of compassion but balanced by the fist of aggression.
As a narrator, the author is excellent. The self acknowledgement of his achievements is not boastful but realistic. At all times he balances those successes with his respect and love for those who shared his journey, especially his brothers in arms.
A story I could read or listen to again.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • DK
  • 10-24-17

Strength, Humility, Compassion, Courage And More

#Patriot

I am not an emotional reader. I read to pass the time and 'get away' to other places or characters' lives. The Heart and the Fist is a HUGE exception. Through Eric Greitens' story and performance, I heard of his experiences with war refugees, especially the children, in Syria, Rwanda and other 3rd world countries. I felt Greitens' naïveté and his touch of arrogance as an American in China. However, his desire to live and do more as a part of American history really struck me in the heart (a good thing.)

Eric Greitens, a Rhodes scholar from the University of Oxford, graduated and continued his travels to the most desperate areas in the world. As a volunteer helping these people by passing out food and listening to the stories he didn't feel that he was doing enough. Greitens wanted to do more, to do something to prevent these travesties. So, he joined the Navy and tried out for the elite squad of the Navy SEALs. An opportunity to help people on a mass scale, including our homeland (USA.)

The compassion, empathy, strength, teamwork, love for country, love for humanity and doing whatever he can to fight evil – for love of country, love of family and love of life. Eric Greitens' is a wonderful and humble human being.

Greitens' performance is excellent. It felt like I was in the room listening to an old friend recount his stories. 5 stars

I highly recommend THE HEART AND THE FIST to all audiences. It is definitely credit worthy. Potential readers should note that there is some strong language and descriptions of violence.

Thank you for reading my review. If you found it helpful, would you take a moment and select 'yes' below? Consider following me on Audible.

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A tremendous amount of naivity on foreign issues.

I had to push myself through it, and I eventually was ble finish it. Self-righteousness, but not a good amount of substance in the character of the writer.

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Great story

I enjoy reading about our nations true heroes. This book spent enough time on some of the lives of individuals while teaching me a bit about our military.

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Great reading

Super interesting. My son had to read it before going to ROTC, so I read it too. I just wish it was longer. Highly recommended for anyone in a leadership role and trying to lead in the future or just help others along the way.

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NOT TO BE MISSED

A book for all of us...from every party, religion (or not), belief system, race, creed. Balanced and wise and beautifully read. And a PAGE TURNER!

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A New Way to Fight Terror

Any additional comments?

I'm a glutton for Navy Seal stories and this one delivers a different angle of what the Green Berets do by winning hearts and mind.