Monday, 3 August 2015

American Sniper, Chris Kyle

Publishers: HarperCollins

Pages: 528

Main Characters:

Chris Kyle


American Sniper is the autobiography of America’s deadliest sniper Chris Kyle. As I’m sure everyone who’s seen the movie knows, the book is based around Kyle’s time as a US Navy Seal and his deployment to Iraq in 2003. During his time in Iraq, Kyle managed to gain over 160 confirmed kills and earn a number of different achievements including two Silver and five Bronze Star Medals.

Now I’m not going to waffle on about what happens in the book because most people will know Kyle’s story from Bradley Cooper’s performance in the movie American Sniper. Having seen the movie, it made me want to read Kyle’s own words on the Iraq War and see if he really did as many deeds and as much killing as Copper does in the movie.
American Sniper Movie Trailer

To be honest, the movie did exaggerate some of the stuff Kyle did in the war and managed to slot some other events into the plot to make Kyle seem more of a hero. Nevertheless as Kyle would say, he was a ‘bad-ass’ and some of his stories about the Iraq War are amazing and it made me realise how little I knew about a war that only ended a few years ago. I had no idea how ferocious the fighting was and how many people were killed in the battles raging on the streets of Baghdad. It gives me an even greater respect for the soldiers who put their lives on the line there every day and really makes me want to learn more about the conflict.

Nevertheless, there was one thing that really annoyed me about the book and Chris Kyle and that is his view of ‘patriotism’. In the book Kyle states that in order of loyalty God comes first, then your country and then your family. I have no problem with people being religious or patriotic (I think I’m quite patriotic myself) but Kyle’s very ‘American’ view to patriotism did really annoy me. For example he explains that when the national anthem is played, he wants to beat up the people who don’t take off their hats for it. Fair enough, he did fight for his country but taking that ‘merica Fuck Yeah approach just highlights the fact why America (and Britain) was so unpopular during the war.

In conclusion, this book is definitely worth a read because it gives you a soldier’s perspective of the Iraq War which I’d never really known about. Plus the book is a lot less Hollywood than the movie and paints Kyle as much more of a human being than I think the movie does. I can’t wait to check out The Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and see how it compares to the movie!

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