Saturday, March 7, 2015

According to the book jacket, Chris Kyle recorded the most career kills in the United States military history from 1999 to 2009.

The autobiography tells of Chris growing up in mid Texas and his love of excitement and physical activity.  Among his activities in his younger days was busting broncos.

Early on, Chris admits that he likes to have fun. He was brought up in the Christian faith and if he had to prioritise his beliefs they would be God,  Country and Family.

Chris's story is told in brief episodes of his life and experiences. He tells how, when he decided to join the military, he went to the Marines first but they were out to lunch, then he considered the Army and thought of being in the Army Special Forces but it was when he was leaving that recruiter's office that a Naval recruiter spoke to him and asked if had ever heard of the NAVY SEALS.

Chris had four deployments to Iraq and describes his training to become a SEAL and some of the physical activity he had, from training, to getting into trouble in bar fights.

He finally met Taya, his future wife and we learn about their courtship and marriage.

As a SEAL, Chris doesn't disclose the names of his fellow SEAL's for fear that someone might want to cause them harm. We do learn of a number of his friends in the SEALS who were killed in action or died from their wounds at a later time.  In these moments Chris's love for his fellow SEALS is easily seen and his description of a seal from his sister platoon, Mike Monsoon's death in battle and the manner in which he saved the lives of others resulting in him being awarded the Medal of Honor was touching.

Another aspect of the autobiography that added to our understanding of this American Hero was reading about how events affected Taya. There is a very high divorce rate in the SEALS and it is easy to understand why.  Even when Chris was back in the States, he was often going for more training and carousing. He tells of a time that he was supposed to be home for his daughter's birthday and couldn't make it because he was in jail from a fight.

To understand the mind of a hero, this book was helpful. At times, I felt he could have been more personal. In his actions with his family, he never mentions his children's first names, even when worried that his little daughter might have had leukemia, she is always referred to as 'my daughter.'

There were excellent action descriptions of Chris in action in Iraq and the reader is given a glimpse of the difficulties that Chris and other Americans faced. For many of the Iraqis and members of terror groups like al-Qaeda, their goal was to kill Americans. We might never realize how lucky we were to have heroes like Chris taking the attitude to prevent the killing of Americans and to kill the enemy first.

3 comments:

Kelly said...

My husband is reading this right now. I'm just sure if it's one for me or not, though.

Ethan said...

Great Review! I agree that he often seems a bit removed from the situations that he describes. I felt the film adaptation did a better job showing his emotional struggle than the book did. This makes me wonder if he truly felt any kind of conflict or if this was just added for the benefit of the audience in the theater.

Michael Draper said...

Kelly,
It's a rather violent book so I'd skip it.

Ethan,
Very insightful, he does seem detached and I wonder how a person who kills so many people can walk away without being affected. I did see that in the movie when his potential target was a child.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mike

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