Saturday, January 9, 2010

Book Review: Where Men Win Glory

Last night, I finished reading, Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer. I highly recommend reading it. Where Men Win Glory is the story of Pat Tillman who left the NFL after his fourth season to join the Army Rangers, and who was later killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. Pat, as it turns out, what an extremely interesting man. He was thoughtful, intelligent, curious and extremely loving. The book describes his life growing up in California, his struggles to make it to the NFL and then his decision to join the Army when, as he puts it, 9/11 makes his job as a football player seem kind of pointless. After he is killed in Afghanistan, his story is used by the Army and the government in a pretty disingenuous manner. From the numerous journal entries he wrote, we see that this clearly goes against his will, and it eventually takes a lot of prodding from his mother and family to uncover the true story.

Overall I liked this book for two reasons. First, it was a great recap for me of a number of details about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that I had either forgotten or never knew in the first place. While other readers seemed to get bogged down in this earlier part of the book, I did not. I found the writing style to be engaging and the topic to be very interesting. Second, Tillman was clearly an amazing man. He had a very well-developed moral code. He was not rushing into a war to kill, or even in the assumption that the wars were justified. The excerpts from his journal were far and away the most interesting part for me. By the time we get to his death and the quasi cover-up, I really felt disappointed, like we had lost a unique man.

It's not a short book, but it's a pretty quick read, and I finished it over the course of about three days.

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