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Shooter: The Autobiography of the Top-Ranked Marine Sniper Paperback – May 2, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (May 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312336861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312336868
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“[Jack Coughlin] is one of the best snipers in the Marine Corps, perhaps the very best.”---Peter Maas, war correspondent and bestselling author of Love Thy Neighbor

“Coughlin is less concerned with his tally than with the human values of comradeship and love.” ---The Washington Post

From the Back Cover

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.

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…

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.

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book to anyone regardless of your military "expertise" level!
Julie Matthews
Wright, a Rollingstones writer, describes similar scenarios, but with greater zest, professionalism and actually gets the experiences of war through to the reader.
Pierce Anthony
The point is that we don't know and we don't really care because Coughlin never gives the reader enough to care about.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 74 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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75 of 87 people found the following review helpful By HS8541 on March 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have been a Marine sniper for Ten years and a sniper instructor for 3 of those years. I have never heard of this man until this book came out. Reading it only part of it do to my anger at this book being called a true story I must urge the reader to view it as pure fiction written by someone trying to self promote himself as something is not. No unit commander or Scout/Sniper team leader would allow these things to happen. They have no tactical value and would be down right fatal to someone who tried. There is no such thing as the lone sniper anymore in the Marine Corps we always work as a team of two at the very minimum. We live by simple rules always "ONE IS NONE, TWO IS ONE". With this as a base fundamental for a Marine Sniper and all other Snipers in the Service. Confirmed kills started in Vietnam and ended shortly after it was a way for commanders to verify what snipers were claiming, as in enemy killed, it required searching of each and every person you killed. As for a ranking system for snipers in the Marine Corps I have never heard of one. Snipers are viewed as a team never as individualsHogs in the Shadows: Combat Stories from Marine Snipers in Iraq your team was successful never the individual. If you want to read TRUE stories about snipers in the Marine Corps read "Hogs in the Shadows" by Milo S. Afong. True stories told by Scout/Snipers To Scout/Snipers. To all of you who read this and believed it I am sorry but this would be a good work of fiction.
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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Darkside Marine on November 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I was a Marine in 3/4 "Darkside" during OIF, and can testify to the truth. What Coughlin says in his book is total BOGUS. Granted some of the battles are true, but his "heroics" are over played. He was attached to the Headquarters & Service Co. doing his company gunny duties, unlike the "Rambo" that he is trying to portray himself. Yes he is a sniper and had some kills, but not to the extent he claims. If he had, then how did the rest of us kill Iraqis? There wouldn't have been any left. Also, this is a guy that never did the PFT because he had "knee" issues and never did company or battalion humps. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY. Go read "Darkside: The Road to Baghdad". That is the truth. As for the "Officer Bob" remarks, this was totally unwarranted and not true. As for his adoration of Lt. Casey, I mean- look at the picture of Casey and tell me where is the "linebacker" of a man? He was quite skinny the last time I saw him. Also, the Marine sniper community is not too pleased about this book.
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53 of 62 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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