Hero’s memoir deserves to be read


Above is the book cover for American Sniper. It was recently adapted into a movie.

The stories in this book speak for themselves.

“I pushed my finger against the trigger. The bullet leapt out. I shot. The grenade dropped. I fired again as the grenade blew up.”

This was the incredible start to an unbelievably good book. “American Sniper” is called the autobiography of Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in American history. I would describe it as the autobiography of Chris Kyle, a man.

The novel begins with Chris growing up in Texas, learning to take care of himself and live off the land. He learns to shoot, break horses, ride bulls, and be a ranch hand all before his high school graduation.

Then, the, for lack of a better word, exciting parts of his life start. When the excitement of being a struggling rodeo bull rider wears off, he decides that his life could use a new direction.

The rest of the 448-page book details the life of his family, his fellow soldiers, and Kyle over four combat tours of duty. These tours take him from dinghies bobbing in the Arabian Sea, to smuggled Iraqi missiles, to the war-torn and desolate streets of Fallujah, and then back home to the U.S. and a loving family.

Kyle’s core values become clear through his many terrifying, hilarious, horrific, and loving experiences. “American Sniper” is not a book about war. It is a book about a man who fights in a war, who gets married, who parties with friends, and who raises a family.

Although the movie by the same name has created a storm of controversy over his morals and whether or not he is a true hero, the book will leave you in no doubt. Taken from the book without context, Kyle’s comments can appear quite damning. The book provides the context that the movie leaves out and expands on and clarifies many of the stories portrayed in the movie.

I read “American Sniper” over and over and then once more over because there was no reason not to and every reason to try to commit its numerous lessons to memory. In each of my four readings of it, I came away with the same message: Chris Kyle was a hero.

One of the great parts about America is that we have the freedom to read whatever we want. We don’t have to read the story and sacrifice of a man who protects our rights. No one has to read the stories of the men who gave everything so a whole country can never know about them.

We don’t have to, but its clear that we should.

Will Bolton is an Opinion Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.