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571 of 704 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Great...Not Terrible..., January 7, 2012
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This review is from: American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History (Hardcover)
Very broad stroke tale of Chris Kyle's career as a SEAL. Broad in the sense that there is very little detail on actual shots taken/contact with enemies (where he actually engaged targets in his capacity as a sniper).

I was initially going to review the book after having read the first 30% of it which left me a bit disappointed but I decided to give it a chance, and finished it before re-writing my entire review. I fully agree with some of the previous reviews that the writing could have been better and I have to admit that I actually started wanting to skip all the passages written by Chris's wife (Taya) entirely. It does give a bit of perspective on their private life but as a shooter I was more interested in Chris's actual accounts.

I found it very interesting (and initially a bit brazen) how Chris starts his book exactly the same way Carlos Hatchcock* did with his autobiography referencing having had to kill a woman the same way Carlos started his book having had to kill a boy. Later in the book Chris pays homage to Carlos so the similarity became understandable.

* Carlos Hathcock - technically the best sniper ever to have walked the earth and probably the best written Sniper autobiography to date)

Comparing the countless records on fighting in wars like Vietnam compared to modern day warfare in places like Iraq you cant seem to shake the feeling that the enemy guys like Chris face there just aren't cut from the same cloth. The Vietcong were a very formidable enemy, living the war and being excellent at guerilla warfare, tracking, planning and even having some superb snipers in their ranks. Reading Chris talk about his enemy using beachballs to cross a river in order to reach American positions (which he promptly shot resulting in them drowning), the enemy mostly being completely jacked up on heroin, being stupid and having NO clue how to actually fight (pot shots and stupid fighting) and talking about picking off enemy soldiers on a nightly basis (sometimes up to 3 a night) really gives the impression that its much easier to rake up a high kill tally than it was in past wars. Chris goes on to admit how much he admires Carlos Hathcock and that he admits he is not even in the same league saying that he got as many kills as he did because he was lucky in mostly being where the action was. Therefore reading about some of the kills leaves you feeling less than 'impressed'. That being said, what Chris has achieved and what he did for his country is nothing short of heroic and respectable.

Chris does go on to discuss some of the street fights (clearing building to building) he was involved in out of his own choice after swapping his rifle for a Marines m-16 in order to fight along side them as he felt he could be of more use to the marines he was assisting on the ground than he could be as over-watch (a large number of his kills were CQ kills), which is also highly respectable.

So...

- If you are interested in the technical side of being a Sniper and actual details on shots taken, there are better books (for a start Carlos Hathcock's autobiography, A 100% flawless must read!)

- If you're interest is purely in details of SEAL operations and their involvement in recent wars (Iraq) then this book will probably disappoint as it lacks detail. It is however very interesting to see how much the role of the modern day SEAL has changed (where and how they are deployed and how they operate as part of joint force missions with other branches of the US military).

- If you want to read about Chris Kyle for the sake of learning about him as a person, where he came from and a quick run-down on his kill record (with no detail on separate kills as they tend to be summed up as "...that day I killed 3..." then this book will probably be of interest.

All in all a good-ish book...couldn't say its $13 I'd spend again for the Kindle version, but not regretting having read it.
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Comments

Tracked by 9 customers

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Showing 11-20 of 39 posts in this discussion
Posted on Mar 3, 2012 6:15:03 PM PST
AMZN says:
Was anyone else's book not properly cut right? I just got this book today and the pages aren't cut right so it looks sloppy and uneven when the book is closed. Should I return it or are all like that? Thanks

Posted on Mar 8, 2012 4:11:07 PM PST
S. Hall says:
I looked for Carlos Hathcock's autobiography and could not find it. Are you referring to his biography? Link please?

Posted on Mar 11, 2012 8:26:10 AM PDT
Totally in sync with your opinion on this book,perfect setting for an incredible story,yet i found it lacking in depth,superficial at times,and jumping all over the place,not a terrible book but not great by any means,also i found the product placement to be a little annoying to say the least,here in ireland that book cost the equivalent of about $35,so i feel i made a bad choice there,anyway it will stay in my library,lastly on your recommendation i will purchase the book on carlos hathcock,thank you

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2012 8:57:02 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 26, 2012 8:58:58 PM PDT
Scott says:
@AMZN - It's a Deckle Edge, supposed to be fancy, embrace it. "Deckle Edge: A book with uneven page edges cut to resemble handmade papers"

@S. Hall - White Feather: Carlos Hathcock, USMC Scout Sniper

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2012 1:34:58 PM PDT
please , post the exact title for the Carlos Hathcock autobiograhy.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2012 8:15:56 AM PDT
PLease , if you find the complete title of this autobiography , post it , i'm very interested on it.
Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 24, 2012 9:29:55 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 24, 2012 9:34:18 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 24, 2012 9:33:46 PM PDT
Big John says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012 8:02:01 AM PDT
Scot Hays says:
Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Kills
Silent Warrior: The Marine Sniper's Story Vietnam Continues

These are the two that I read and loved. My dad read them as well (at 80 years old) and loved them as well.

Semper Fi!!

Posted on May 24, 2012 11:37:58 AM PDT
With no disrespect intended, I wonder why anyone would consider posting a review after reading only the first 30% of the book. How could such a review be a fair commentary by the reviewer and therefore worthwhile to a potential purchaser? You did well to reconsider and base your review on a complete reading of the book.

"I was initially going to review the book after having read the first 30% of it which left me a bit disappointed but I decided to give it a chance, and finished it before re-writing my entire review."

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