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Book Review: American Sniper

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American Sniper book by Chris Kyle

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I have a couple of reviews about SEALs–Marcus Luttrell’s book Lone Survivor and Mark Owens No Easy Day. They give a good flavor for what life is like when your job title is ‘last line of defense in protecting America’. In Chris Kyle’s book, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in American History, I wanted to tell you in this amazing man’s words what life, war, patriotism, loving America and your family and your buddies not necessarily in that order–means to the man who became an American legend.

And entered everyone’s prayers when he was killed in an accidental shooting after he’d retired and returned home to his wife and two children and the America he loved.

Here are my favorite lines/quotes from his book:

  • …there are a lot of people who deserve credit, and if I don’t write the story, they may be overlooked. I don’t like the idea of that at all.
  • I’m a SEAL down to my soul
  • …2009, I was lucky enough to be positioned directly in the action.
  • Great. You do it again. And again. You do it so the enemy won’t kill you or your countrymen. You do it until there’s no one left for you to kill. That’s what war is.
  • In the end, my story, in Iraq and afterward, is about more than just killing people or even fighting for my country. It’s about being a man. And it’s about love as well as hate.
  • Family may, under some circumstances, outrank Country. But it’s a close race.
  • …hit a horse? Never saw a reason good enough.
  • …limpet mine is a special charge that is placed against the hull of a ship.
  • Somehow, I managed to slip as well. My elbow flew out and landed straight on his face.
  • American taxpayers had invested considerable dollars in my education as a SEAL. I wanted to defend my country, do my duty, and do my job.
  • Our job was to secure the gate, and just because we didn’t have wheels to do it with didn’t mean it wasn’t getting done.
  • I f***** love this. It’s nerve-wracking and exciting and I f****** love it.
  • …what I saw of the overall battle was like looking at an enormous landscape painting through a tiny straw.
  • Every battle-weary man rose, went to the window, and saluted. The words of the music echoed in each of us as we watched the Stars and Stripes wave literally in dawn’s early light. The reminder of what we were fighting for caused tears as well as blood and sweat.
  • I’ve lived the literal meaning of the ‘land of the free’ and ‘home of the brave’. It’s not corny for me. I feel it in my heart. I feel it in my chest.
  • … shooting is only a small part of the job. It’s an important, vital part, but it’s far from everything. a SEAL sniper is trained to observe. It’s a foundation…
  • …important to remember that perfect circles do not exist in nature [explaining why the barrel of a gun must be camouflaged]
  • You need skill to be a sniper, but you also need opportunity. And luck.
  • …inserted on the California coast from a submarine.
  • The CO of the boat pulled us over and told us when the gang used the gym. So we went down to work out, locked the door behind us, and fixed the gang problem.
  • I have the tattoo on my back, peeking over my shoulder–as if those who came before me were looking after me, offering some protections.
  • …when your chief asks you to do something, you do it.
  • …I still hadn’t experienced the real depth of what being a father is all about.
  • …don’t have to psych myself up, or do anything special mentally–I look through the scope, get my target in the crosshairs, and kill my enemy before he kills one of my people.
  • With right eye looking through the scope, my left eye could still see the rest of the city. It gave me better situational awareness.
  • …people who have written about the battles in Fallujah mention how fanatical the insurgents were. They were fanatical, but it wasn’t just religion that was driving them. A good many were pretty doped up.
  • You cannot be afraid to take your shot.
  • Make an unjustified shot and you could be charged with murder.
  • Despite what your momma told you…violence does solve problems
  • …great bunch of good ol’ boys, warriors all.
  • Besides movies, I spent a bit of time playing computer games–Command and Conquer became a personal favorite.
  • …we were working as carpenters. It’s an honorable profession, but it’s not ours.
  • …always carried an American flag inside my body armor
  • Some people translate [Allah Inshallah] as ‘God willing’. What it really means is ‘ain’t gonna happen’.
  • No SEAL has ever actually admitted feeling pain since the beginning of Creation…
  • …If you loved them {Iraqi mothers]…you should have kept them away from the war. You should have kept them from joining the insurgency. You let them try and kill us=–what did you think would happen to them?
  • We stayed in our rooms…keeping to ourselves mostly. I spent a lot of time praying to God
  • With all hell breaking loose around me, it felt better to know I was part of something bigger.
  • We did have to haze them [new SEALs to the Team] of course. This one poor fella, we shaved his head and his eyebrows, then spray-glued the hair back on his face.
  • In BUD/S, officers and enlisted are all treated the same3: like shit.
  • …if I killed someone …I had to write a shooter’s statement on it. No joke.
  • The way things were, you couldn’t chance making a mistake. You’d be crucified if you didn’t strictly obey the ROEs.

Here are a few more favorites that use a military setting and plot to share experiences we are all of us familiar with:

If you’re interested in this topic, you’ll love these books.

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. In her free time, she is editor of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

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