AudioBook Review: American Sniper by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen, and Jim DeFelice

 

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Overall *****

Story*****

Narration*****

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.

The audiobook is available through Audible  and the book is available through Amazon in both Paperback and Kindle Edition.

Book Review: Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business by Dolly Parton

Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished BusinessDolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business by Dolly Parton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I entered into this buddy read with no preconceived notions about Dolly Parton. I have listened to her sing and I enjoyed her songs. I have seen her moves and enjoyed them as well. Other than knowing she was born in the mountains and had a lot of brothers and sisters, I didn’t know too much about her, or her journey through her life and career.

Listening to My Life and Other Unfinished Business has been so enlightening. Dolly Parton is open and bluntly willing to speak her mind. She talks about the hard times in her life while she was growing up poor in the mountains of Tennessee. She talks about friendships that have ended abruptly and those that have lasted her entire life.

Her relationship with God is not preachy it is very uplifting. She has a real relationship with him, but she is open and loves people that do not believe exactly as she does. She is willing to share her beliefs and they are very important to her.

She talks about her relationship with her husband and addresses many of the rumors and gossip that they have faced in their marriage. She talks of her husband with respect and love.

Humor is a large part of her personality. She sees great humor in herself and her life. She gives joy and finds joy in what she does.

There is so much more to this woman than I ever knew. I am glad I listened to this audio book. It has enriched my life.

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Two Biographies and an Autobiography by Will Foret and Helen Keller

A Life of Learning: Abraham Lincoln's Pursuit of WisdomA Life of Learning: Abraham Lincoln’s Pursuit of Wisdom by Will Foret
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There was plenty of good new information on the learning process of Abraham Lincoln. The book was filled with amazing facts about Abraham Lincoln’s education. It is unbelievable that he was able to write and read with his limited education.

To be basically a self taught man, he had a firm grasp on Latin, the classics, history books and so many more. It surprised me to find that he had only attended school sporadically.

I was totally impressed with his willingness to walk wherever he could find a book to borrow, no matter the distance.

Abraham Lincoln was a great thinker and an avid reader. He continued learning his entire life always seen with a book in hand.

I got this eBook while it was free on Kindle and I am so glad I found it. It is very short but has a lot of new and unusual information on this beloved president.

How Teddy Roosevelt Became A ManHow Teddy Roosevelt Became A Man by Will Foret
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is so much personal and sometimes painful information packed in this little booklet. Teddy Roosevelt endured so much from the beginning of his life through his entirety.

Teddy was born sickly and the treatments they prescribed were so strange in the mid 1800’s it will make you shake your head in wonder. The good part of his being a sickly child was the drive that it instilled to improve himself.

He had people that he looked up to and emulated which helped him choose his path in life.

The man lost so much in his life. One day he lost two special people. Each death really affected his life and his decisions. There is such sadness knowing that his grief overshadowed his heart.

This is a quick little read that makes you appreciate the President even more than before.This book is worth picking up and reading!

The Story of My LifeThe Story of My Life by Helen Keller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved reading this book. I read it as a school girl and was awe struck. I lived in Alabama myself so I knew of her home, Ivy Green, and have visited it several times over the years. There was something wonderful about seeing from her own words how she had not only survived but thrived.

She had such an indomitable spirit that shone through. She was my hero when I was a child and she has not lessened the impact she had on me even today.

I have just re-read this book and I gained even more insight into her beautiful life. I had forgotten that she was able to read in English, German, French and Latin. She met people like Alexander Graham Bell and began friendships that she maintained all through her life. Her desire to learn and witness everything available to her was flawless. She attended plays and fairs and every event while having Anne sign into her hand a vivid description of her surroundings. She could describe these events in detail later in her life with such elegance that I could visualize it myself from her words.

She worked tirelessly on learning to speak and her greatest pain came from knowing that she was unable to communicate in a manner that everyone could understand. She and Anne Sullivan worked on correcting her pronunciation throughout her life with that one goal in mind.

Anyone that reads this will come out ahead realizing how amazing she truly was. With all her struggles she just pushed and pushed to make her life an amazing never ending adventure. Such an inspirational book, it is not to be overlooked.

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