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on February 6, 2013
When I first posted this review, there were roughly 3000 other reviews and many 1 and 2 star reviews. Most of the low rated reviews were from folks posting negative comments that had not even read the book. They were obviously against the war, didn't like the military, etc. Some of these comments are offensive, at least too me they were. I made a point to bring this to the attention of potential buyers of Chris's book so they wouldn't let the low ratings affect their decision to read, what I think is a very good story. I think this is important to point out and that's why I am including it here. The point here is to be helpful to others. So, with that said, I'd like to update this review a little bit now that over 5000 folks have had the opportunity to read it and leave their reviews, which seem to be a little more objective. I still disagree with others that claim this book is "poorly written". I think Chris, with help of course, did a pretty darn good job describing his experiences. This book was written by a Navy SEAL. Not Tom Clancy. This book is written in what I would call a sort of "conversational style". In other words, he writes like he talks. He is telling you a story or collection of them. I found his honesty refreshing. He makes no bones about the fact that he loves his job. He wasnt the best father or husband at times. He doesnt like politics, etc. I liked his sense of humor (I caught myself laughing out loud at times). I especially liked his discussion on his gear and weapons. It's interesting to read about what sort of equipment someone needs to survive in that kind of environment. He put things in his book that he was constantly asked about. Thats why they are there. The book also has some decent maps and photographs. This is not a book for everyone. One reviewer said the book was too "technical" and he couldnt follow it. Another said it was written by someone in "grade school". You can see by those two comments how differently this book will be viewed. This is a story of a man that goes to war, as he was trained to do. He had to make life and death decisions almost everyday. It's easy to sit in a nice comfortable home, and second guess him but the bottom line is that I am quite sure the men that served next to him were glad he was there. So all I can say is if you are interested in the life of a Navy SEAL, grab it. If not, why would you condsider it in the first place? Chris Kyle, rest in peace and God bless the men and woman who serve, and have served, this country.
2,575 helpful votes
2,576 helpful votes
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on April 3, 2017
Book is a pretty detailed version of Kyle's experiences in Iraq, and it's a good read. Movie is more of a summary of Kyle's 4 tours in Iraq, and adds a lot of embellishments and untruths into the Kyle story (Hollywood does this for more dramatic effects). That being said, the book received a lot of criticisms about Kyle making up a lot of stories to turn himself into more of a "Legend" than he really was. Such criticisms included Kyle taking out Looters in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina; this was not discussed in this book. Neither was the criticism of the alleged Jesse Ventura episode, where Kyle supposedly punched the former governor in the face. None of this was discussed in this book or at least the version I read. Maybe the publishers took those stories out in this version due to the criticisms and the subsequent defamation lawsuit filed by Ventura. I don't know. Anyway, this book is a good read, and, in my opinion, a better depiction of Kyle than the Eastwood movie version.
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on February 10, 2015
I wish I would have read the book first before watching the film. Some inaccuracies with the film or complete sequences that were skipped which played an important role in Chief Kyle's journey.

I enjoy the humor (twisted or not) sprinkled throughout the book. It gives you a no BS view of the world through a SEAL's eyes. His descriptions of BUDS and being overseas gives you a great visual for what it is like to be in those situations.

Towards the end of the book, it starts to change from a first hand account of events to a more personal opinion about his personal life, military life, and the people encountered in between.

Definitely an entertaining read. Keep in mind, it is a book written by a Navy SEAL, not a John Grisham novel so writing style may not match the gravity of the stories told. They are all important though for an American military legend.
53 helpful votes
54 helpful votes
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on October 12, 2014
With over 4500 reviews before mine I would like to focus on one aspect of this book: the Rules of Engagement. In Leon Panetta's Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace he says:

"Today, as with those historical examples, what is most crucial is not the size of the missile or the ability to deploy it from thousands of miles away; what matters far more are the rules of law and engagement. Again, those rules reflect painstaking consideration across the government; they require presidential authorization, specific policies approved by the National Security Council, intelligence collection, and analysis by a number of agencies, legal opinions, and reviews and congressional oversight. Those legal standards in turn reflect the basic values that guide this work, and those who are involved in debating and constructing those rules work zealously to protect the values-- notably the minimization of risk to American lives and those of noncombatants-- that they express."

It has been the long standing position of most fighters in the military perhaps first documented in Steven Coonts Flight of the Intruder (Jake Grafton Novels) (fiction yes, but Coonts was an Intruder pilot in Vietnam and has confessed that the book is autobiographical) that modern rules of engagement do not minimize the risk to American lives but rather increase the risk and protract the wars. Chris Kyle spends quite a bit of ink talking about how a consideration of each shot was the likelihood he would be court martialed or arrested. Perhaps as more warfighters speak out we will once again learn how to fight a war.
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on March 15, 2017
An interesting story of Chris Kyle life. The strong bond that is created with him and his fellow seals, becoming more to him than his family. All men that are in combat do develop close ties, brothers. I have not forgotten the people I served with in the Marine Corps. The story was real with all his warts. A little long with his tech on his rifles. Thank God we have men that are will to lay down their life for their country. Sometimes, I think the draft should come back and develop these boys into men and maybe these liberals would appreciate their flag.
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on February 23, 2015
I saw the movie then started reading the book. I am glad I did, as the book, as in most cases the book fills in a lot of gaps and keeps it moving. He doesn't spend too much time on any one situation. He gets to the point and goes to the next bit of information. I like the pace a lot. Anyway, Chris is a joy and it is like just sitting down and talking to the guy face to face - very personable and makes lots of jokes. This guy is one tough son of a gun - I mean! Thank you God for men and women like these that have this rare gift of courage and sense of duty to carry out these missions for our country. They are called specially and it is amazing to read about it and watch movies on it and hear about it - but wow, they live this stuff! I don't think we will ever have enough collective gratitude to cover what they do - but nonetheless I personally appreciate a real look inside and am happy to have gotten to read this.
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on March 4, 2015
If you have seen the movie you will want to read the book (or vice versa). Written almost like a journal rather than a narrative book. I found the text to be interesting, including the post-story comments from the screenplay writer and Taya Kyle. It is not a highly analytical assessment of rifle mechanics or ballistics used by snipers. It is extremely personal. I am a little biased as a Texan but the Chris Kyle story is a powerful witness to the sacrifices made by soldiers and to the many difficulties of transitioning from horrific circumstances in war to re-integrating with your family and society when they come home. If you have seen the movie, the closing scene will stay with you for a long, long time.
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on October 23, 2016
One of the best books I have ever read! It is a great pleasure to read the words of a real American Man who was afraid of nothing! The book impressed me in its authentic and appealing description and plots about wars. Chris Kyle was a hero and role model to be proud of, who devoted all his life to bringing hope for our country and all of us. The descriptions from his wife was so valuable for she revealed the stress of being wife of a solider. This book is your advisable choice and you will realize what true patriotism is. Buy it!
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on March 9, 2017
Two of the main reasons I liked this book is because I love my country and I honor and respect the men and women who fight and die for our freedoms. The other reason is because I learned how things went during the war that I would've never learned otherwise. Chris Kyle gave up much of his life fighting for our freedom and our safety. It was interesting to learn about his experiences and how lucky we are to live in America. This book has an incredible amount of cuss words. It was hard to read just for that reason, and, obviously - Kyle is no Shakespeare, and he admits he's no great writer. If you want to feel more pride for your country and those who fight for it- read it. It's good.
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on November 20, 2016
Excellent perspective from one who served. Seldom do I condemn other reviewers in their stance, but this is the rare exception. To all those who thought or think this is American propaganda, then you either did not read the book, your mind was made up before you started or you have not read any other memoirs from any other conflicts in the world.

This is the insight of a man who was on the ground and answered the call of his country and performed to exemplary levels of honor, bravery and comradeship. You will find the same type of writing in “Last Dead Hero”- Robert Lamon, “Blood Red Snow”- Gunther K. Koschorrek, “The Forgotten Soldier” Guy Sajer “Patton” Ladislas Farago and a host of others. These men fought for their country and sought to defeat and destroy the enemy. Plain and simple, waris about killing people to win. It’s not a walk in the park and handled through diplomacy where everyone holds hands and smiles. War is ugly, destructive and dehumanizing. Ask the Russians how many they lost during World War Two. Ask the British if they had, as Neville Chamberlain proclaimed, “Peace in our time.” You win by killing your enemy!
Chris gives the reader a frontline look at how the battle in Iraq was fought. Does he come across as inhumane? Perhaps. But as a sniper, his job isn’t to sit back and observe, it’s to protect his fellow soldiers in harms way. And he does this by killing the enemy.
I have talked, not interviewed, many men who served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan. The common thread all of these men and women hold is, they are fighting for the man/woman by their side. Politics and grand strategies are the farthest thing from their minds. Protecting their fellow soldiers is front and foremost.
His insight to his commanders is a common theme you’ll find in most biographies-incompetent. His description of one of these, “0% casualties, 100% effectiveness.” galled him. How do you go out in the field to ambush or become a target for your foe and not expect to incur casualties? I’m sure those were the words Eisenhower, Bradley, Montgomery, Patton, Truscott, Roosevelt, King, Schwarzkof and Franks told their men as they were going into the frey. No!
The other side of this tribute is his family life. Was it all rose gardens and happy-go-lucky? Far from it. His wife Taya had her own battles to fight. She was responsible for raising their two children while he was off fighting. Her insights to their fiery, troubled relationship are well timed and placed through this work. She does not hold back how much she despises the military but also understands that her husband is bound and determined to keep the bad guys from coming to the states and making sure he does everything in his ability to make that happen. For her, it is a Catch-22. She loves her husband and is proud of his service, but sooner or later, he’s going to have to make family number two on the list. When Chris realizes that he’s not immortal during his last deployment and reenlistment is coming up, he will have to decide if he wants to continue his service which could result in him losing his family. He chooses the later. This alone is an excellent testament of two people not taking the easy road. They overcame their differences and remembered why they fell in love in the first place.

I recommend this warrior’s story to anyone who wants a glimpse into the day to day life of a man who is dedicated to his God, Country and Family.

Five Stars
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