Non-Fiction Review: American Sniper by Chris Kyle

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AMERICAN SNIPER BY CHRIS KYLE
WILLIAM MORROW & COMPANY (EBOOK), 2012
400 PAGES

AUTHOR’S WIKIPEDIA PAGE

AMAZON (UK)

AMAZON.COM

I READ THIS AS PART OF OVERDRIVE’S BIG LIBRARY READ.

 

From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. The Pentagon has officially confirmed more than 150 of Kyles kills (the previous American record was 109), but it has declined to verify the astonishing total number for this book. Iraqi insurgents feared Kyle so much they named him al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle earned legendary status among his fellow SEALs, Marines, and U.S. Army soldiers, whom he protected with deadly accuracy from rooftops and stealth positions. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle’s masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.

A native Texan who learned to shoot on childhood hunting trips with his father, Kyle was a champion saddle-bronc rider prior to joining the Navy. After 9/11, he was thrust onto the front lines of the War on Terror, and soon found his calling as a world-class sniper who performed best under fire. He recorded a personal-record 2,100-yard kill shot outside Baghdad; in Fallujah, Kyle braved heavy fire to rescue a group of Marines trapped on a street; in Ramadi, he stared down insurgents with his pistol in close combat. Kyle talks honestly about the pain of war—of twice being shot and experiencing the tragic deaths of two close friends.

American Sniper also honours Kyle’s fellow warriors, who raised hell on and off the battlefield. And in moving first-person accounts throughout, Kyles wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their marriage and children, as well as on Chris.

Adrenaline-charged and deeply personal, American Sniper is a thrilling eyewitness account of war that only one man could tell.

OPENING PARAGRAPH

I LOOKED THROUGH THE SCOPE OF THE SNIPER RIFLE, SCANNING down the road of the tiny Iraqi town. Fifty yard away, a woman opened the door of a small house and stepped outside with her child.

WHAT I THOUGHT

American Sniper is a hard book for me to review. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it exactly but I learned a lot from it. I also felt glad when I reached the end. This autobiography offered insight into a world and way of life that’s completely alien to my own experiences. I’ve never been in the military and neither has my partner. My father was in the British Army before he met my mother, more than 40 years ago. He never went to war. I’m a pacifist which made this book hard going at times. I don’t believe war, any war however justified is the solution to anything. I don’t believe violence is the right way to deal with violence. I think war causes more damage and horror in the long term which dwarves any good it can do. That’s my option and feel free to disagree. If someone wants to join the military and fight for their country and go to war that’s their choice. I don’t feel animosity towards people who want a career in the military. I read the Dali Lama’s autobiography Freedom in Exile years ago and remember how much I cried over the pacifist Tibetans who could not defend themselves when the Chinese occupied their country. American Sniper was a real eye-opener for me. I enjoyed reading about life in the American military and what Chris and his fellow seals went through in Iraq. I did cry a few times and felt very sympathetic for his wife. I found the horror of war a bit too much at times and probably wouldn’t be keen to repeat it.

RATING

4 STAR RATING

 

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