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

4.6 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446571458
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446571456
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read Krakauer's book and watched the documentary about Pat Tillman. This book draws the reader in, and appears to hold little back. The insights into Pat Tillman as a person and husband are deep. It takes guts to expose a relationship in this way.

Part of the way through the book, I researched Marie Tillman, and was glad that I did. (Without being specific, she appears to have a new, fulfilling life.) I'm not sure I could have finished the book if I hadn't. It was simply too upsetting from so many perspectives.

The book is well written, and a quick read, but emotionally trying so be prepared if you decide to purchase it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like most football fans of age around 9/11 I had heard about Pat Tillman. I hadn't thought much about him until I saw this book. Having recently lost my Dad it gave me a lot of new perspective on Life, loss, and grief. We all have to handle this trying time in our own way. Marie's story helped me to come to terms a bit more with my own loss and to start to move on. So much so that I'm likely going to give this book away to another family member who lost someone close to them.

You don't need to have lost someone and be going through the grieving process to enjoy this book though. It's a very quick and poignant read that I would highly recommend. I had a hard time putting it down and I suspect you'll have the same problem.
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