Monday, December 31, 2012

Review of American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History

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American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military HistoryAmerican Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Chris Kyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I realize that giving a book like American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History a low or average rating opens the floodgates to comments about being un-American, unpatriotic, not supportive of our troops and all that good stuff. Just to be clear: none of that is true of me or has anything to do with why I didn't like the book. Fundamentally, my issue with Chris Kyle's autobiography is it means spending a lot of time in Chris Kyle's head, and he doesn't seem like the kind of person I would want to spend that much time with. He dedicates a lot of space to gloating about how elite the SEALs are and how tough their training can be. He goes on and on about how dangerous their missions are, and how badass they are and how nothing is hardcore enough for him. It's not that I haven't come to expect a lot of this kind of chest pounding in autobiographies by men in elite units in the military, but it made it extra difficult to take his attitude toward his wife and child. He seemed to focus entirely on his career without taking their needs into account at all. Couple an almost sociopathic personality with weak writing, and a book that should otherwise be impossible to put down becomes almost impossible to keep reading. The U.S. Military is full of real men, but I'm not so sure Chris Kyle fits the bill.

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