Following the last book was going to be a challenge in and of itself. It was such a great book that I knew we had to go to something completely different or it wouldn’t stack up.
A Book by Multiple Authors: American Sniper by Chris Kyle et al
Chris Kyle is the most prolific sniper in US history. He chalks this up to opportunity more so than skill: he had four back to back deployments in Iraq at the start of the war in the early 2000s. This just shows how humble he truly is.
He wrote this memoir, which spans from his childhood through his retirement from the Navy, as a way to set the record straight before anyone else wrote about his career. The multiple author part comes in the form of excerpts written by his wife and a collection of letters from those touched by his life. I had a Kindle version that was an edited version of the original text.
This is also the book that the movie was about although I wasn’t familiar with the story as I had not seen the movie.
What are my thoughts? Really I’m torn about the book in every aspect. While I found it very interesting to learn what training he went through to become a SEAL and then a sniper, his way of glossing over his own impact during the war effort downplayed his significance too much. I understand he was being humble, but being honest is also important and his way of telling the stories made his own acts seem too bland.
In addition, wile I liked reading the interjected thoughts and emotions of his wife, I found it really hard to relate to. Here he was talking about his ultimate sacrifices and lost men and then there is a paragraph from her complaining about how he puts his country before family. I’m not related to anyone in the military and have zero personal experience with these things, but her paragraphs made me feel more sorry for him that his spouse was not being supportive of his career choice (a choice he made prior to meeting her and prior to getting married). I felt like they either needed to have more input from her, so you could see her entire side of things or none at all.
And finally, his death. The book was written, published and released before his untimely death and so it is obviously not mentioned in the book. However, they edited it to add letters from his friends and family at the end – each written after he died and talked of the impact his life and death had on them. I then had to google his name to find out the circumstances of his death. Again, either fill the reader in on it or leave it out.
I would give it 3/5 stars. It held my attention for the most part, but seemed to not be very cohesive in the telling.