I had heard about the story of Chris Kyle through various sources over the past couple years, but I had never got around to reading this book. The fact that the movie version is coming out in a couple weeks spurred me to finally read American Sniper. It was a very good book, not necessarily what I would call a great piece of literature, but it was well written, it had a general overarching theme that tied together nicely, and most importantly, it was clearly an authentic portrait of his life.
I have considered joining the military at various points in my life, but for one reason or another I never did. This is the first thing that has pushed enough of the right buttons in my mind to seriously consider it again. I have my own reasons, but hearing his process leading up to becoming a SEAL, his personal motivations, as well as the stories of fighting in Iraq, it was all actually pretty motivational. I am pondering the possibility of how that might fit in with the rest of the shit that I am doing, but to be honest, it seems like a great thing to do right now.
One aspect of this book that really struck me was how much he talked about enjoying his profession of warfare. Maybe it is just because I haven't read too many military books that were written by the actual guys on the ground, but this attitude towards military action has always been how I thought I would feel, but I've just never heard it echoed before. Clearly there were moments of tragedy which are part of the reality of war, but this book was the first that felt balanced to me. This even perspective between both the potentially positive and negative aspects of fighting our nation's enemies was refreshing.
I am not sure how the movie is going to turn out compared to the book. Sadly, he died before the movie was made, which meant they reworked some of it to include parts of his life after the book. Also, I have heard mixed things about the movie depending on whether you know anything about realistic military training and combat situations or not. As I do not, I feel the movie will not strike me as too inaccurate, but as long as it is close to the book, I have a feeling it will be pretty good. I will try to revisit this after seeing the movie to see how they compare.