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Shooter: The Autobiography of the Top-Ranked Marine Sniper Hardcover – April 28, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312336853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312336851
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #734,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The 3rd Battalion has a veteran sniper, Staff Sergeant Jack Coughlin, for whom the war in Iraq was only the latest of many wars; he fought in Mogadishu, too. On the first day of battle at the Diyala Bridge, he had eleven kills. He is one of the best snipers in the Marine Corps, perhaps the very best. When I asked one of his commanders about his skills, the commander smiled and said, 'I'm just glad he's on our side.' "
---Peter Maas, war correspondent and bestselling author of Love Thy Neighbor

From the Back Cover

INTO THE CROSSHAIRS
Marine Sniper Sgt. Jack Coughlin carried his specially designed bolt action rifle--and its nearly magical scope--into a landscape of sandstorms, firefights, and chaos during Operation Iraqi Freedom. As marines charged through the desert and leapfrogged through bizarre, treacherous urban battlefields, Coughlin and his sniper teammate did their job and did it well: One by one, they spotted their targets--up to a half a mile away. And one by one their targets died. Coughlin has more than 60 confirmed kills.

INTO THE ACTION
In this extraordinary account from battlefield Iraq, Coughlin tells the story of his own unique war, from stealthy, slowly-unfolding long range kills to unplanned firefights--and how one sniper team adapted and thrived in a battle zone unlike any they faced before…

INTO THE HEART AND MIND OF A WARRIOR
With vivid portraits of Coughlin's fellow marines and the battles they fought from Al Kut to Baghdad center, SHOOTER takes readers to the frontlines of the war in Iraq and gives a brutally honest account of a man trained to hunt humans, who had the courage to do his deadly job--and live with it once the shooting stopped.

"One of the best snipers in the Marine Corps, perhaps the very best. When I asked one of his commanders about his skills, the commander smiled and said, "I'm just glad he's on our side.'"
--Peter Maas, war-correspondent and bestselling author of Love Thy Neighbor
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Once I picked up the book and started reading I was hooked.
Pahtoman
By the end of the book I suspected that the author was really trying to convince himself, not the reader, that he wasn't getting off on every kill he logged.
B from the Emerald City
While reading this book you feel like your looking through the scope of Gunny Coughlins sniper rifle.
Rip Dunlap

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Mike on May 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
Let's face it -- there are great authors and there are great warriors, but great author-warriors are few and far between. "Shooter" proves this point, even when the warrior has an author helping him to write the book. "Shooter" is about Gunnery Sergeant Jack Coughlin, a USMC sniper. That he is one of the best there is no doubt. Although his career spans further, we see Coughlin in Somalia and Iraq, not really stopping anywhere else in between (which is too bad). Nevertheless, Coughlin comes across as the outstanding Marine that he is, and the reader will agree with the assessment of one of Coughlin's superior officers who states, "I'm just glad [Couglin's] on our side."

"Shooter", however, gets mixed up on what it wants to be: an insightful, introspective look into the mind of a man who is, after all, a professional killer (among other things) or a look at the life of a Marine specialist on the front lines. In the end, Shooter fails to deliver enough of either, and that is disappointing. With regard to the "insight" part of the book, Coughlin dutifully tell us that he holds no illusions about what his job is and what that means, how he never feels good taking human life, and how sometimes his targets show up in his dreams. On the other hand, he spends an incredible amount of time in the book complaining about how he is being left behind from the action in Iraq, which is essentially him complaining about not having enough opportunities to go out and kill people. Coughlin doesn't go into enough detail about how his job affects him personally for the reader to really care about how the job might affect him personally. For example, Coughlin experiences marital troubles that are all too common in military families.
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86 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Hallstatt Prince on May 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a very gripping book by a man who has a rather unusual job. The job he does is a job that when troops are deployed must be done. It is a job that we collectively as a country sanction. It is an interesting study of one man's mind as he is doing this job. Whether you are hawk or dove it is a book that should be read as it more about human psychology than it is about war.

Of course by saying this I do not mean to say that the book is devoid of history as it is chock full of it.

It is also not just about killing but about skill and what it means to be skilled at something.

If you give this book a chance it will get you thinking.

A very challenging and multileveled book that is not so easy to dismiss (as much as many would perhaps like). It is very much worthy of your attention.
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60 of 71 people found the following review helpful By carmine on October 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
Make no mistake, I have great respect for Coughlin and his 20 years of service to Corps and country. I am a former Marine. I served with Hotel Company 2nd BN 5th Marines in Viet Nam, mainly in the Arizona Territory, Go Noi Island, and into the Que Son mountains around An Hoa.

I bought this book with anticipation of an honest, no nonsense account of the opening of the Iraq war from the perspective of a senior enlisted Marine. Sadly, it was supremely disappointing on many levels.

One should not automatically assume that having a story to tell makes you a writer. Like every other craft (including that of a sniper) it takes training, experience, and time to develop. Clearly, Mr. Coughlin is not a writer. His style was amatuerish, his use of language unnatural, and the overall focus missplaced. For this I also fault the editors and any others I assume were supporting his work. There is no mistaking that Mr. Coughlin thinks a lot of himself. After all, he single handedly saved "The Main" by killing one Iraqi machine gunner. He singlehandedly changed Marine Corp doctrine with his 'mobile sniper concepts'. (Perhaps he was not aware that Marine snipers ARE mobile and have been for some time. Helicopter insertions of snipers occured regularly in Viet Nam. He should read Hathcock's book.) After the first chapter I was bored and put off at how often he patted himself on the back. Who identified him as the Top Rated Sniper? He never explained (although he never let you forget!) Every Marine is a rifleman. A sniper is a highly trained rifleman. They performed a sepcialized task. However, if body count is the measure, then I fully believe that the average grunt Marine during the same period of time in that conflict had a higher 'count' than him.
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76 of 91 people found the following review helpful By James R. Mckinley on May 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a non stop action filled read with a great human touch. The best book I have read in years about the struggle to keep your mind on killing vice having to live with it. The book focuses primarily on the most recent war in Iraq, but opens with the author's experience in Somalia. I would have liked to have read more about the author's 20 years in the marine corps, but nevertheless, this was a great read. I particularly enjoyed the author's opinions regarding the differences between an urban environment, and a jungle environment. Also, his views on the evolution of the deployment of snipers was very interesting. Finally, this book was a good, first person account of war.
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