Book Review: “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History” by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen, Jim DeFelice

An American sniper, the best or the one that had the most confirmed kills in the Navy Seal, gave a pretty good account of his upbringing, his interest in military, his marriage, and his 4 enlistments/tours of the Iraq war. It’s hard for me to imagine that people would re-enlist multiple times and kept going back toward the war zone. Most sane people would probably run away from danger, but Chris Kyle is a seal, a professional trained to kill enemy. A few interesting things I’ve learned from reading/listening the audiobook.

The narrator spoke with a Texan accent and probably talked like him. It made the whole audiobook all that enjoyable.

The author mentioned that most of insurgents or suicide bombers were all drugged up to give them courage. It’s sad that doing what the terrorists do require more than just courage but also medical boost to go forward. I wonder what they’re really fighting for.

Lots of gun model names were mentioned that confused me. But I got to understand how the machines were really named after the type of bullets that were used. I supposed this book would be a great appeal to those into guns/bullets.

I came to believe that the professional soldiers are mostly for people looking for “actions.” According to him, his job is “to kill, not educate.” Throwing in patriotism, intelligence, and skills, you’ve got a killer machine. I respect those who put their lives on the line to serve the country and I can’t help wondering how else they can really excel. Chris Kyle was lucky that he hadn’t got seriously wounded in 4 enlistments. But the odd would stack against him if the war dragged on and if he re-enlisted.

Kyle ranted about the the gutless upper brass who would fight defensively, afraid of losing the men. It tends to show how difficult it is to be a great leader – not so much to fear losing the young soldiers but to fear looking bad politically.

I got to learn a lot of acronyms like ROE (Rules of engagement), IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) and etc.

Kyle stated there was collaborative spirit among the army, air forces, marines and navy seals. This is good know. Nothing like a common enemy like Suddam Hussein that could united all the different divisions of the military.

I particular like the perspectives of his wife, Taya, sprinkled throughout the book. Kyle wouldn’t be as successful as he was without the support of his wife. And I came to appreciate how much stress a solider’s wife has to endure when her loved one is fighting a war and could never know if he is coming back, dead, alive or disabled. That’s a tough life to live.

The politics of war also showed its color like having to make the Iraqis soldiers look good and giving them credit where they don’t deserve, while fighting a war. Mixing PR with wars is a recipes for disaster. But America being a free country where information flows freely, it’s an unavoidable chore.

Injuries and deaths are part of the war. Kyle was descriptive in the deaths and injury of his fellow solders, Marc Lee and Ryan Job, who were like brothers to him. I do believe that when you have to rely on them to stay alive, they become your extended family.

I can’t say I enjoyed all the vivid description of the war and killings but it did paint a reasonable good picture of the war. Let it be known so that we don’t enter into wars lightly. I wish the author well in the his private enterprise and hope he become as successful as he was in the military.