Navy Seal Chris Kyle has recorded the most kills in US history during his time-serving 4 tours between 1999 and 2009. His job was to protect his fellow comrades as they traveled on the ground throughout war-torn areas, and Chris had a bird’s eye view from roof tops. While Americans nicknamed him “Legend”, the enemy called him al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and had a bounty out for his death.
In 2013, after Chris had served his country for tn years and had returned home to be a husband to his wife and a father to his two children, Chris was killed while working with war vets.
This book, written by Chris himself and includes chapters by his wife Taya is their story of a deep love and a war that never ended.
Note – this is not my genre at all. I avoid war books and anything political like the plague. (And the plague is something definitely to avoid!)
If you know Chris’s story… you know there is more to this book than war. It is a passionate story of a man who wanted to protect his country. It is also about his meeting his wife, having children, and her fears every time Chris left to go back into the war. It is a first hand account from Chris himself of what it was like from the rooftops, working to save his team… it is about love and it is about loss.
My husband and I went to see the movie when it came out. Again, not something I would normally do, but I had heard amazing things from people whose opinions I trust – and many of these opinions were female friends of mine who also would not get into a war movie. We went… and it was powerful.
This is what led me to the audio version of this book. I wanted to know more of the story, and the book definitely does that. American Sniper is told mainly first hand by Chris with occasional thoughts and dialogue by his wife Taya. The book I found to be harsher than the movie. While interesting, Chris is very proud of his killings, even to the point of discussing using different ways to kill (rifles, etc…) to see what works best.
It is hard for me, for someone who has never experienced war and is a life long member of the “why can’t we all just get along” club, to understand taking pride and talking in detail of killings. I am not judging, just explaining a feeling.
The audio book is still an impressive take of what it would be like to be in the center of the war. Nearly killed many times during battle, it is a sad ending to know that Chris was killed while back in the states not far from his home, trying to help others. *Note – this is not covered in the book.
Narrated by Jim Defalice who was an excellent voice for Chris. I struggled when he narrated the chapters written by Taya as his voice did not change at all and sometimes it was hard to tell in the audio format when the narration had changed to her. The book would be talking about falling in love with him, and I would have to think, “Chris fell in love with a man? Oh no – this is Taya talking.”
Overall, I recommend this book or audio for anyone who would like to know more as I did. It is a piece of our American history that I like knowing a little more about. I recommend the movie as well.
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishing
Length: 10 hours and 21 minutes
17 thoughts on “American Sniper by Chris Kyle”
I’m very interested in both the movie and the book. Thanks for posting what you thought. His life has certainly caused a great deal of controversy lately.
I haven’t followed the stories but have heard that the trail is going on right now for the man who killed him.
Thanks for a thoughtful review. I’m like you and have been hesitant to read this or see the film. I appreciated your thoughts, given that you have a different viewpoint than he did.
I am surprised that I liked the movie. It is a powerful story.
I’ve heard they put out a new, edited version since the movie came out. I still don’t think I want to read it.
I wanted to know more, it wasn’t the easiest of listens, but informative.
I have the book in audio, will listen on our next road trip.
It is interesting, I hope you enjoy the listen!
I read the book and besides a few chapters where he goes in depth into guns, I liked his story. I have the movie tie in version (normally I avoid these) but I picked this one because it had passages in the back from his wife, the writer of the film and I think one other and it describes the making of the movie after his death and how it affected everyone. It was really a great addition.
That’s about where I am – some of it was too much for me but I liked to hear about his job, his family, his struggles. I would have liked the book format for the things you mentioned in the back.
Great view! Like you, I avoid war books and war movies. But I saw the movie and loved it. Still torn about whether I want to read the book though.
I really want to read this one. I’ve been interested in PTSD in returning soldiers ever since reading David Frankel’s Thank You For Your Service.
I am glad I read it so I understand it more. 🙂
Thank you for reviewing this. I’d heard the book was much harsher than the movie, as it goes into much more detail about Chris dehumanizing the enemy and relishing killing. In a way that intrigues me, because I am drawn to moral ambiguity, but I also know that would be very, very hard for me to read and even harder for me to understand.
The only thing I can say, being a civilian who has never faced this, is that I see this as both a “normal” defense mechanism and part of a soldier’s training.
Yes the book is harsher. It is hard to hear in Chris’s own words about the killings. I know it is something he needed to do, I know he was saving lives, it is just hard to hear the details.
I do enjoy the occasional war story and this one has had my interest. I know my husband will “wait for the movie” to be available on TV. I might get the audiobook – we’ll see.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Yeah, the movie, while giving a fresh Iraq war perspective. didn’t wow me in the way it did others and I think what you have said about the book are the feelings that I got from the movie. Excellent review!