*Note- I am re-posting my review of American Sniper to honor Chris Kyle. He and another veteran were murdered last week. RIP Chris.
Chris Kyle’s autobiograhyis one of the best first-person military books I have ever read. It is fast moving, intense, educational, and tough to put down. Chris was a Navy SEAL sniper and has the distinction of holding the record for the highest number of confirmed kills ever for a United States military sniper at 160. Kyle says that the actual number is over 250, but that the extra 90 were not able to be confirmed during some very intense combat. He also made one of the longest successful sniper shots in history at 2100 yards against an enemy who was about to fire a rocket at American forces. Kyle compiled these numbers over four deployments in Iraq. He ended his military career in 2009 having been awarded two Silver Stars (America’s third highest award for valor) and five Bronze Stars with Valor.
American Sniper has everything an action buff would want in a book. Its descriptions of firefights, battles, and weapons is excellent. One of the things that sets this book apart, however, is that Chris also candidly discusses the toll that the multiple deployments and the stresses of combat took on his marriage. The primary reason that he eventually left the Navy was to try and save his marriage. Chris’s wife, Taya, writes several passages in the book about what life was like from her perspective, as she tried to raise their small children without having Chris there, and living with the constant uncertainty of whether or not Chris was coming home.
Kyle also honestly discusses his feelings on having killed so many people. He says that his Christian faith has helped him to come to terms with it. “But in that backroom or whatever it is when God confronts me with my sins, I do not believe any of the kills I had during the war will be among them. Everyone I shot was evil. I had good cause on every shot. They all deserved to die.” Does this sound like a man who is playing God with other people’s lives? Maybe, but don’t judge him until you have read the book.
If you decide to get this book, I highly recommend downloading it and getting the enhanced edition. It has several short videos embedded in the text. In the videos, Kyle discusses a number of different aspects of sniping, combat, weapons, and tactics.
Thanks to everyone who is partnering with us as we prepare to go back to Brazil. We could not do it without you! Obrigado!