Kyle, Chris, Scott McEwen, and Jim DeFelice. American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most
Lethal Sniper in the U.S. Military History. New York: William Morrow, 2012. Print.
image from: www.barnesandnoble.com
I'm actually glad I read this book. Originally, I got this book by mistake, so I donated it to the school library--thinking I would never read it--not "my thing"--it was immediately checked out all of the time. Since there is now a movie out that I want to see, I decided I should read the book first. It just so happened that I was at the counter when the book returned, and no one was waiting for it. I scooped it up. Later that same day, a student came looking for it. I told him I would have it finished over the weekend. I was pretty close. It only took a few days to read this book.
I felt like I was having a conversation with Chris Kyle as I read this book. He wrote about episodes in his life and career. The timeline is mostly chronological, but he does flip back and forth sometimes--as natural as a conversation would. However, I was reading the book knowing that he's dead, so I was reading with that in my mind--parts of the book seemed prophetic. I thought about Taya, Chris' wife, and wondered if she is so happy that they wrote this book.
There are many "f-bombs" dropped in the narrative.
I learned that "confirmed kills were only kills that someone else witnessed, and cases where the enemy could be confirmed dead. So if I shot someone in the stomach and he managed to crawl around where we couldn't see him before he bled out, he didn't count" (Kyle 265). I saw Chris' sense of humor and his frustration.
Taya interjects throughout the book. One part I marked showed the tension between the two. "Show me now. Make it real. Don't just say some sappy shit when you're gone. Otherwise, it's a load of crap" (Kyle 275). I'm sure it is very stressful to have your husband in such a dangerous place. My own heart raced at times reading this book.
I thought it was funny when Chris gets the nickname "al-Shaitan Ramadi--the 'Devil of Ramadi'" (Kyle 277).
When Chris' friend Ryan is injured and blinded in both eyes, he gets a prosthetic eye. "One was a 'regular' eye; the other had a golden SEAL trident where the iris ordinarily would be" (Kyle 363). I thought that was pretty cool.
Again, prophetic--he mentions at the end of the book that he and some friends started Craft International. Their corporate offices are in Texas and training sites in Texas and Arizona. His partner Mark Spicer is discussed. I think I've driven by his firing range and wondered if one of these Texas training sites Chris mentions is there. Or, when Chris writes, "I've gotten together with some people I know around Texas who have ranches and asked if they could donate their places for a few days at a time...We've had small groups of servicemen disabled in the war come in and spend time there hunting, shooting guns on a range, or just hanging out. The idea is to have a good time" (Kyle 372). Again, I wonder how strange that Chris died on a ranch helping a serviceman.
The trial of his killer starts this month.