5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Not what I expected,
This review is from: Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman (Paperback)
I didn't know much of Pat Tillman's story before reading the book so I was expecting him to be a super patriotic poster child for our war on radical Islam. But the way the book portrayed him was very odd and made me wonder how true it was. He disliked President Bush, he didn't support the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, he didn't like all the Army recruits he had to work with at basic training, he didn't like the Army training, he was a liberal, he admired Noam Chomsky (the ultimate blame-America-first for all the world's ills critic), etc... After a while I was wondering what motivated him to join the war effort in the first place. The whole thing was just so strange.
The ultimate irony of the book is it indicts the propaganda efforts of the Bush administration in support of the war without realizing that it itself is anti-Bush propaganda for the left. I would like to have seen a more evenhanded approach to the story. Obviously the Bush administration and the military perpetrated disgraceful acts with the cover up, and that story deserves to be told. However the author goes too far with his Bush-bashing that the book starts to seem more like a political hit piece than the retelling of Pat Tillman's life.
One example is a totally unnecessary chapter on how Bush "stole" the election of 2004 vs. Gore. It was factually wrong and had nothing to do with the story, so the fact that it was included was the first big red flag in the book that it was going to be a hit-piece. I don't want to go on about this, but Bush won the initial count and then the mandatory recount. Then Gore sued to extend the certification deadline and start hand recounts in several Democratic districts. The US Supreme court stepped in and said no way. But it doesn't even matter because several news organizations (New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, CNN and AP) went in afterward and determined that even if the Gore-requested recount had been allowed to continue that Bush still would have won. So the whole thing is a myth and any time you hear that Bush stole the election or was awarded the presidency by the supreme court you are listening to a liar.
One other outrageous passage involved sourcing a Clinton Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke book claiming he passed all kinds of valuable intelligence on al-Qaeda to the incoming Bush administration but they ignored his warnings and therefore failed to prevent the 9/11 attacks. So let me get this straight, this person served for eight years as Clinton's top terror expert during al-Qaeda's rise and essentially didn't respond to us being attacked in Somalia, plots to assassinate the pope and President Clinton in the Philippines, bombings of two US embassies, the USS Cole bombing in Yemen, etc..., now passes all the intelligence needed on to the new administration to defeat al-Qaeda? It's such obvious CYA fiction, yet Krakauer gobbles it up since it fits his narrative. There are many sources out there that claim throughout the 90's Clinton had 5 or 10 chances to capture or kill Bin Laden but he always refused to give the go-ahead, partly because the Lewinsky scandal made him risk-averse. So the bottom line is no one in our government did anything substantial to combat radical Islam prior to 9/11. There's plenty of blame to go around. Let's honestly review our mistakes and not engage in revisionist history to portray everyone as either a hero or villain. I mean the fact that we were attacked for twenty years by Islamic terrorists without responding pretty much proves there were no heroes among our leadership during that time.
On the plus side the parts of the book about Pat's upbringing in California and the in-depth descriptions of the military operations are well done and pretty unbiased. One other thing I loved is the book was broken down into 35 short chapters, which I loved. I'm not a big reader so I like to be able to have stopping points every few pages.