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Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged

3.8 out of 5 stars 636 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Book Description
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

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

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739357840
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739357842
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (636 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #969,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is not a `war story'. It is a rendering of a man who was far more complex than the one-dimensional hero who was portrayed in the media and who, through no fault of his own, was basically used as propaganda by the US government. Interestingly, that was one of the threads woven throughout the book, along with the use of Jessica Lynch as a tool to boost support of the war.

Krakauer does a great job in the beginning of the book by contrasting the carefree life of an American boy growing up in the suburbs vs. groups of boys being groomed by the Taliban to become terrorists. His description of Pat Tillman's early life gives insight into how he came to make the decisions that ultimately resulted in his joining the Army.

Some of the detail in the middle of the book got a bit cumbersome. However, it was a useful primer on some of the things that went terribly wrong in Iraq and Afghanistan during Tillman's time there, and I'm not certain that Krakauer could have told the rest of the story without the level of detail provided.

Nonetheless, the author provides a refreshingly honest look at a man who at times I found rather unlikeable, frankly. Without question however, the picture of Tillman that emerges is one of a man who cannot be categorized easily. His complexity was well illuminated in the book, which was a far more honest and respectful portrayal of his life than if he were simply portrayed as the `good' character in a morality play.

This book does not paint a rosy, cozy picture of the US government's actions, of the wars in Iraq in Afghanistan, or, it must be said, of Pat Tillman himself. But that served to make both the book and the man more interesting.
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Format: Hardcover
I was originally not very impressed by Pat Tillman's sacrifice. I believe our culture it too quick to call someone a hero. Most people use the expression to counterbalance their own insecurity of not serving in the military. After serving 6 years in the army including tours in Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq, I can honestly say I did not meet one hero--including myself. I now believe Pat Tillman's life was heroic. I say this because he was truly cognizant of America and its misgivings and yet he still willingly served. I did not become aware until about halfway through my tour in Iraq. Once I became aware, rage consumed me. Rage is a normal reaction when one realizes halfway through an act that what they are doing is morally reprehensible. Tillman could have easily escaped combat duty if he wanted. He refused to be used by the Bush regime and the military industrial complex, but still performed the duties that he believed to be right. I cannot express how unique of a person he was. He was a rarity in our world. The narrative on how the military brass and the Bush regime tried to use him and then cover up how he died made the rage come back all over again. I had to walk away from the book several times. The politics behind the story is vital to the context of the story. It's what makes him a tragic hero. A story that only romanticizes his sacrifice so we Americans can thump our chests in pride would be a disservice to his life. Those who are truly aware will appreciate this book. Those who wish to be in the dark will not.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't typically write reviews, but I think a few points raised by other reviewers need to be addressed...

First, Krakauer isn't just writing about Pat Tillman. He's also writing about Afghanistan. To suggest that Tillman's story could be told in a simpler fashion is merely stating the obvious.

Second, Afghanistan is a complex story. To tell it honestly requires exploring details that might not excite a reader looking for action and adventure. War isn't always what you see in the movies.

Third, Tillman's story would not be complete without addressing the political fallout of his death. Does Krakauer express opinions on these topics? Absolutely. But that doesn't mean he approached the subject with a political agenda.

If anything, Krakauer is attacking the political forces that would seek to use Tillman's life to advance their own agenda -- something that Tillman himself would have done if he were alive to do so. It's disingenuous to criticize somebody's writing simply because you disagree with the political truth that the author is exposing.

This is a complex book handled deftly by a strong, even-handed storyteller. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
A brief disclaimer to begin. Like Pat Tillman, I was a post-9/11 volunteer enlistee, and for that reason his story has always had particular resonance. That said, the similarities end quickly. I did NOT walk away from millions to enlist. I did NOT join an elite infantry unit, nor did I see any action in a theatre of combat - let alone engage in fire fights. Lastly, I DID make it home.

Krakauer takes up the Tillman story with a view to what made the NFL Safety turned Ranger tick. In some reviews, including Dexter Filkins' NYT review, the fact that it takes Krakauer more than 150 pages to get Tillman's boots into the Afghan sand is to the book's detriment. In my opinion, Krakauer's aim - if not the book itself -is better served by the time he takes in exploring Tillman's motives.

Those looking for either a behind-the-lines military tome with some added star power, or a pot-boiler about government and military propaganda and corruption, should look elsewhere. Instead, Krakauer spends most of his effort on trying to wrestle with a very common conflict in the hearts, souls and minds of many post-9/11 military volunteers. While visions of the towers tumbling compelled Tillman instictively to look for some way to help, he also couldn't help but retain the healthy skepticism of his government that had him concerned - in Krakauer's telling - that should he die on the battlefield, he might be used for propaganda purposes.

That conflict is a defining element of the all-volunteer force that is fighting these wars. So many of the men and women I served with loved their country, but joined to defend their families as much as to fight for their government. That might not be a logical or well-informed course of action - but, for many, like Tillman, it was an instinctive one.
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