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The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss, and Life Hardcover – June 26, 2012


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The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss, and Life + Boots on the Ground by Dusk: My Tribute to Pat Tillman + The Tillman Story
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446571458
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446571456
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Marie Tillman's elegantly written memoir weaves together a love story with the life affirming lesson that grief's tributaries can flow toward healing and acceptance. This book reminds us that it's possible to move past trauma without forgetting or letting loss define you. This is a must read for anyone who has worked to overcome life's sorrows and embrace its triumphs with grace."—Lee Woodruff, New York Times bestselling author of In An Instant and Perfectly Imperfect

"Marie Tillman's gentle memoir of love and loss is an important reminder to all that life isn't measured by its length, but by its depth."—Regina Brett, New York Times bestselling author of God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life's Little Detours

"The Letter is a candid, eloquent account of unthinkable loss, its incapacitating aftermath, and Marie Tillman's long, lonely journey back to daylight. Graced with illuminating vignettes of her marriage to Pat Tillman, the ambivalent Army Ranger who was killed in Afghanistan by his comrades, The Letter is both a heart-rending elegy for an extraordinary man and an indispensable road map through the wilderness of bereavement. It's a brave and wonderful book."—Jon Krakauer, author of Into the Wild and Where Men Win Glory

"Marie Tillman's moving memoir, The Letter, is a story of profound courage. It takes courage to walk out into the unknown to reclaim one's life after a tragedy. It takes courage to live in a public way with such private pain. And it takes courage to share one's journey with an open heart knowing that it will bring comfort and connection to others. Marie's courageous example will inspire so many to recognize their own power to be architects of change."Maria Shriver, Journalist, Author & Activist

"In this moving debut memoir, the author describes her struggle to deal with grief and to come to terms with the cynical abuse of his sacrifice...An inspiring account of the author's difficult decision to become a public advocate for military families."—Kirkus

"In this thoughtful memoir...[Marie Tillman] successfully honors her husband's legacy while offering solace and hope for those in anguish."Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Marie Tillman is the founder of the Pat Tillman Foundation which inspires others to create positive social change through its leadership programs and scholarships for veterans, active servicemembers, their families, and college students across the country. She lives in California.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 54 customer reviews
This book is one that left me feeling so many things.
themiraclesnook
The Letter is inspirational, Marie and Pat Tillman's story is amazing, and Marie Tillman, in her earned own right, is a national treasure.
Alex G.
Based on that, I recommend this book to anyone who is dealing with grief or loss.
Valerie L. Tower

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Camelia Miron Skiba on June 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
They say behind each successful man, there's a smart woman. I say behind each hero there's a Marie.

The Letter by Marie Tillman is a heartfelt insight into her life after her husband's death as well as a journey through all stages of grief she's experienced since then. Pat Tillman's life had been in the spotlight very little before he died as both he and Marie have shied away from the public eye, preferring the coziness of their home, the serenity of their relationship, the comfort of their love. The NFL player who gave up a successful career as a football player to enlist in the army became an icon after his death in April 2004. The circumstances surrounding his death still create a lot of controversy, including two congressional hearings and multiple investigations. Somehow Marie had to learn how to cope with the media infatuation with her husband as well as with all the attention she unwillingly received.

I applaud Marie for her ability to capture real feelings, real emotions making the book that much more intense, allowing readers a close look into a grieving heart. The book contains very little dialogue, but it's easy to follow and finish in one sitting. Its simplicity, its reflection on life's fragility and what matters most as well as how Marie chose to navigate through the murky waters of healing is done gracefully. From a shy lotus lily living in Pat's shadow, Marie grew into a confident woman, working constantly to keep Pat's legacy alive. She went through the stages of grief in her own way, at her own pace, and came out not completely healed but stronger.

The Letter is a compelling, poignant book, a true story of heroism and altruism behind the deadly lines of war.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Alex G. on June 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Marie Tillman's The Letter is a wonderful read...I found I couldn't put it down and keep wanting to learn more about this incredible woman's story. I found myself relating the story and message of The Letter to my own life and believe I am better for having read it.

Marie Tillman's writing style...her `voice' (filled with raw honesty and true candor) ...made the experience even more powerful. I look forward to her next work and recommend this book with as much verve as possible.

The Letter is inspirational, Marie and Pat Tillman's story is amazing, and Marie Tillman, in her earned own right, is a national treasure.

Read The Letter and learn more about the continuing work of the Pat Tillman Foundation.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dana on June 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The words coming from an inspirational figure such as Marie Tillman will improve and help another ones process of healing. The story touches upon an experience of love, loss and rebuilding. I truly feel after reading this story will bring great value to those who need a real life eye opener.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Heidi G on July 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
4.5 stars A quick read which chronicles Marie Tillman's days and years after the death of her husband, Pat. I, too, read Krakauer's Where Men Win Glory and wondered what the family perspective would be. Because of the title, I'd expected "the letter" to be more of a significant player in the book; however, it ultimately becomes just the right focus. As a former Air Force officer who dealt with mortuary affairs, I saw the anguish of loved ones left behind and wondered what their lives would be like once the military stepped away and life had to go on. Marie tells of hiding away, of trying to stay out of the spotlight but still keep Pat's memory and Foundation going, and of fearing returning to the social and dating scenes. I appreciate Marie's candor and willingness to let us in on her world.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rissy Roo on April 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Usually stories about loss are extremely sappy and religious. This was straight and to the point. She had no words for her loss, and she didn't try to find God in all the pain. This story really spoke to me in that sense. Not everyone is religious, but everyone experiences pain. I felt it was well written and one of the better memoirs I have read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By rileyblue on August 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was impressed with the way that Marie opens herself up in this honest and moving memoir. Pat Tillman was an extraordinary man and she has done a wonderful job keeping his memory alive and running a wonderful organization in his name. I was deeply moved by this memoir and her journey through an unimaginable and horrific ordeal of Pat's death and consequent cover up. Thank you Marie for writing this book, for sharing Pat Tillman with the world.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sherri on June 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Marie Tillman captured the hearts and sympathy of the nation when her young husband Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan. In the months and years following his death, Marie searched for her path in life and how to continue without Pat. In his "Just in Case" letter left behind were the words from Pat that would carry her forward.

This book is written purely from the heart, with raw emotion and honest feelings openly shared. Marie has done an amazing job of bringing us into her world and showing us her journey through her grief. If you have lost someone special to you, or ever tried to help someone in their grief, The Letter will speak to you.

Amazing book...and what an amazing young lady Marie is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jim on January 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In the opening paragraphs an Army chaplain and 3 Army messengers in full dress uniforms call on Marie Tillman at work in Seattle with news of Pat Tillman's death in a firefight in Afghanistan. This begins her personal journey of grief and recovery and an intimate look at her relationship with Pat. The book is divided into three parts spanning the years 2004-2010. It is equal parts her internal and external life as she deals with her grief and the acceptance of his death, reflections on the long development of their relationship, her relationship with Pat's Family especially Kevin, Pat's brother who had enlisted with him and reaction to the publicity surrounding Pat's death.

The "Letter" of the title refers to the "just in case" letter written by Pat after his Iraq deployment, prior to redeployment to Afghanistan. Placed on her dresser, it stayed sealed until after his death. She tells us that such letters are common. The soul of the letter is Pat's request of her "...to live..."

She tells us that her family and that of Pat knew each other from the time she was four years old. I particularly enjoyed her reflections on Pat Tillman as the two of them grew up and their relationship evolved from acquaintances. One of the themes is the gap between the public use of Pat's sacrifice and the sensitive and intelligent human that he was. With all the public accolades, learning 30 days after notification of his death that it was fratricide was a kick in the gut to her and Pat's Family. We read her account of the persistence of the family to get the truth of the coverup, the Congressional hearings and the testimony of Donald Rumsfeld and Army Generals.

She discusses her evolving work life at ESPN, with work related moves from Seattle to New York, to L.A.
Read more ›
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