The bestselling author of Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, and Under the Banner of Heaven delivers a stunning, eloquent account of a remarkable young man’s haunting journey.
Like the men whose epic stories Jon Krakauer has told in his previous bestsellers, Pat Tillman was an irrepressible individualist and iconoclast. In May 2002, Tillman walked away from his $3.6 million NFL contract to enlist in the United States Army. He was deeply troubled by 9/11, and he felt a strong moral obligation to join the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Two years later, he died on a desolate hillside in southeastern Afghanistan.
Though obvious to most of the two dozen soldiers on the scene that a ranger in Tillman’s own platoon had fired the fatal shots, the Army aggressively maneuvered to keep this information from Tillman’s wife, other family members, and the American public for five weeks following his death. During this time, President Bush repeatedly invoked Tillman’s name to promote his administration’s foreign policy. Long after Tillman’s nationally televised memorial service, the Army grudgingly notified his closest relatives that he had “probably” been killed by friendly fire while it continued to dissemble about the details of his death and who was responsible.
In Where Men Win Glory, Jon Krakauer draws on Tillman’s journals and letters, interviews with his wife and friends, conversations with the soldiers who served alongside him, and extensive research on the ground in Afghanistan to render an intricate mosaic of this driven, complex, and uncommonly compelling figure as well as the definitive account of the events and actions that led to his death. Before he enlisted in the army, Tillman was familiar to sports aficionados as an undersized, overachieving Arizona Cardinals safety whose virtuosity in the defensive backfield was spellbinding. With his shoulder-length hair, outspoken views, and boundless intellectual curiosity, Tillman was considered a maverick. America was fascinated when he traded the bright lights and riches of the NFL for boot camp and a buzz cut. Sent first to Iraq—a war he would openly declare was “illegal as hell” —and eventually to Afghanistan, Tillman was driven by complicated, emotionally charged, sometimes contradictory notions of duty, honor, justice, patriotism, and masculine pride, and he was determined to serve his entire three-year commitment. But on April 22, 2004, his life would end in a barrage of bullets fired by his fellow soldiers.
Krakauer chronicles Tillman’s riveting, tragic odyssey in engrossing detail highlighting his remarkable character and personality while closely examining the murky, heartbreaking circumstances of his death. Infused with the power and authenticity readers have come to expect from Krakauer’s storytelling, Where Men Win Glory exposes shattering truths about men and war.
Amazon Exclusive: Jon Krakauer in Afghanistan Click on thumbnails for larger images
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|Krakauer and First Lieutenant Eric Hayes on a foot patrol along the Afghanistan Pakistan border. |
(Photo © Dennis Knowles)
|Krakauer doing Humvee maintenance, 2007. |
(Photo © Eric Hayesy)
|Observation Post, Forward Operating Base Tillman |
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. There may be no better example of the tragic aftermath of 9/11 than the story of pro-football-player-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman, whose death in the wilds of Afghanistan in 2004 created a scandal of government cover-up. In this masterful work, bestselling adventure writer Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild) renders an intimate portrait of Tillman and brilliantly captures the sadness, madness and heroism of the post-9/11 world. After the attacks, Tillman, a rising football star, eschewed a $3.6 million NFL deal with the Arizona Cardinals to join the military with his brother. From the outset, Pat was elevated by politicians and pundits as a symbol of America’s resolve, a role he detested and shunned, believing his football career afforded him no special status. After a grueling three-year training with the elite Army Rangers, however, instead of fighting terrorists, he found himself first deployed to Iraq--a war he called "an imperial whim." Tillman was later redeployed to Afghanistan, where he was killed in an almost unfathomable incident of friendly fire, which the Army obfuscated for weeks while the government hailed Tillman as a hero. Drawing on interviews with family, fellow soldiers and correspondence, Krakauer’s page-turning account captures every detail--Tillman’s extraordinary character, including the “tragic virtues” that led him to give up a comfortable life and athletic stardom for the army; the harshness of military training and life; the rugged terrain of remote Afghanistan--and, of course, the ravages of war. Most critically, Krakauer, by telling Tillman's personal story and blowing apart the "cynical cover-up" that followed his killing, Krakauer lays bare the best--and worst--of America's War on Terror.
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