American Sniper by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwan, and Jim DeFelice is narrated by John Pruden and it is an intense enlightening book.
Chris Kyle was a US Navy SEAL and he has the most career sniper kills in US military History. When this book was published in 2012 the Pentagon officially confirmed 150 of his kills. They did not verify the actual number of total kills. Chris was quick to say that he killed to protect the USA and the civilians in Iraq that were being treated as hostages by the insurgents. Chris tells that he always loved an adventure. The war was exactly what he thrived on. He honed his skills and took on a leadership role with new members of the team. He had always loved exciting activities such as being a champion bronco rider. In fact he excelled at them.
The training he went through in order to be a SEAL was just unbelievable. He loved that training too. Chris seemed to love the excitement of learning all the new things that were afforded him through all the special training to be part of the Special Ops. He wanted to be included in the Iraq war, he was excited to be there. HE felt that he was there to protect America and that was something he strongly believed in.
That he loved his time in battle was interesting, but I understood how he would feel that way. Once he explained how he felt the need to be there and he saw the brutality of the opposition up close and personal, I understood. He made friendships with people that would be able to save his life or unfortunately endanger his life. Interestingly, there were both kinds of people in his platoon.
He has a rich sense of humor that comes through so strongly. It made listening to the sometimes painful memories tolerable and for the most part enjoyable.
I did enjoy listening to his story. I believe this is the first time I have gotten into a SEAL’s head and I found it amazing. He was compassionate about the people that were victims of the insurgents. As well as those that served beside him. He of course loved his wife and family. But when it was time for combat, he was ready. He was excited and prepared.
He tells his story without making himself sound over the top, he talks about being invincible while in Iraq, yet he would break toes and fingers while back home on leave. He is quick to say some of his invincibility was just dumb luck. Chris Kyle made this story very personable.
There was also trouble with his home life. His wife and children needed him and he wasn’t always available for them. When he got news from home about a sick family member, he raced back to be there for family. That however, was not the norm. He would choose to go back into the battle when he had the chance.
It was hard for his wife Taya to understand his dedication to the Navy and his love of the country. She adds her own side of his story. She talks of the troubles that his service caused, as well as being a mother to babies while he was deployed. She is very candid in the emotions that she had while he was deployed.
Chris is also quick to tell of the sacrifices of his platoon members. His telling of the other members of the team makes you feel like you know them. He tells of working with the other branches of the military and both learning from them and training them in order to be more successful. Sometimes my heart broke when a member of the team did not fare well. It was very frank and honest, but other then the language, there was nothing offensive in it. He admits he learned to use some colorful language while he was a SEAL. It is not a gory read, but again, it does have explicit language. I have to admit, I laughed every time he said one really harsh expletive. It was exactly what a soldier, cowboy and Texan would say in the moment of extreme stress and surprise..
This book is powerful. I am very glad I read it. I am impressed with the man behind the American Sniper.
The narrator, John Pruden had me in tears in several places. He spoke the words of Chris Kyle and the emotion that broke through his words made me so very emotional. He spoke with strength when the story called for it and then tenderness and sadness when the pain, death, and terror of the occasion called for it.
I wish I had more stars to give this book. It was alive with emotion and was great getting to know this man. Knowing what occurred to him life after this book made it even more important to me that I know his complete story.