American Sniper by Chris Kyle reviewed by Samuel Justice

American Sniper by Chris Kyle

Summary from garfieldlibraries.org

He is the deadliest American sniper ever, called “the devil” by the enemies he hunted and “the legend” by his Navy SEAL brothers.

From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. The Pentagon has officially confirmed more than 150 of Kyle’s kills (the previous American record was 109), but it has declined to verify the astonishing total number for this book. Iraqi insurgents feared Kyle so much they named him al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle earned legendary status among his fellow SEALs, Marines, and U.S. Army soldiers, whom he protected with deadly accuracy from rooftops and stealth positions. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle’s masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.

Imagine being such a great warrior your allies call you “The Legend” and enemies call you ”The Devil”. This is the case for United States Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. history. In the autobiography American Sniper Chris Kyle tells of his childhood, and of the time of service he gave in the Navy. After the battles he fought in in Ramadi, Fallujah, and Sadr City he had the most confirmed kills, numbering more then 150. The exact number is not verified. Along the way he saved countless lives, and in the end his only wish was I wish I could of only saved more. He was awarded with two silver stars and five bronze stars for bravery, and received the Grateful nation Award. Chris Kyle has truly captured his amazing story through Setting that make you feel as though readers are there, themes that inspire , and vocabulary that describes every moment as though the reader can see it.

 

 

One of my favorite parts of this book was how well the setting were described. While reading I could imagine the views and the scenarios the author was in as if it were me. This is especially true for moment that really stuck with the author such as his first kill and when one of his brother-in-arms had fallen beside him. Here are some examples of his words.

“I looked through the scope of the Sniper Rifle, Scanning down the road of the tiny Iraqi town. Fifty yards away, woman opened the door of a small house and stepped outside with her child.

It was my job to protect them. My platoon had taken over the building earlier in the day, sneaking into position to provide “overwatch”- prevent the enemy from ambushing the Marines as they came through. It didn’t seem like too difficult a task- if anything, I was glad

It was clear that not only did she want to kill them, but she didn’t care about anybody else nearby who would have been blown up by the grenade or kissed in the firefight. Children on the street, people in the houses, maybe her child…

She was too blinded by evil to consider them. She just wanted Americans dead, no matter what.

My shots saved several Americans, whose lives were clearly worth more than that woman’s twisted soul. I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job. But I truly, deeply hated the evil that woman possessed. I hate it to this day.

The rifle I was holding was a .300 WinMag, a bolt-action, precision sniper weapon that belonged to my platoon chief. He’d been covering the street for a while and needed a break. He showed a great deal of confidence in me by choosing me to spot him and take the gun. I was still a new guy, a newbie or rookie in the Teams. By SEAL standards, I had yet to be fully tested.

We were on the roof of an old rundown building at the edge of a town the Marines were going to pass through. The wind kicked dirt and papers across the battered road below us. The place smelled like a sewer- the stench of Iraq was one thing I’d never get used to.

I looked through the scope. The only people who were moving were the woman and maybe a child or two nearby. I watched our troops pull up. Ten young, proud Marines in uniform got out of their vehicles and gathered for a foot patrol. As the Americans organized, the woman took something from beneath her clothes, and yanked at it.

She’s set a grenade. I didn’t realize it at first.

“Looks yellow,” I told the chief, describing what I saw as he watched himself. “It’s yellow, the body-”

“She’s got a grenade,” said the chief. “That’s a Chinese grenade.”

“Take a shot.”

“But-”

“Shoot. Get the Grenade. The Marines-”

I hesitated. Someone was trying to get the Marines on the radio, but we couldn’t reach them They were coming down the street, heading toward the woman.

I pushed my finger against the trigger. The bullet leapt out. I shot. The grenade dropped. I fired again as the grenade blew up. It was the first time I’d killed anyone while I was on the sniper rifle. And the first time in Iraq- and the only time- I killed anyone other than a male combatant.”

This is just one example. I had to cut a lot out so it wouldn’t take up so much room, but I can see the scenario in my head still yet. This book gave some of the best setting I have read.

 

Besides the setting I really enjoyed the themes as well. The theme is one of my favorites. It says to never give up. If more people went by this phrase the world might be a little bit of a better place. In today’s time it seems like if it is to hard society just tells you to give up.  Another theme I think the book portrayed was do your very best, give everything you got. It goes along with first, and if people did this a lot more could be accomplished instead of just giving a little bit. I believe the author did a great job in delivering these themes. If you are one who agrees with them then I would definitely recommend this book to you.

 

The author did an outstanding job on the vocabulary. In each situation he chose words that showed readers exactly what he was feeling instead of general words such as happy, sad, and mad. He especially delivered this in moments of sorrow. I can remember how vividly he described his feeling when he thought his daughter had been diagnosed with leukemia, and when his fellow SEALs Marc Lee and Ryan. In these moments, even though you had no clue who these people are, the reader could feel on a lower level of what the author was feeling.

 

In the end I really enjoyed this book, and hope to read many more like it. This book is very near the top of the list for my favorite books. I recommend this to readers who enjoy military books especially. If you like a book with constant action and event taking place this the book for you. Through theme, setting, and vocabulary Chris Kyle has written a true winner with his book American Sniper.

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5 responses

  1. Samuel,

    Great job!

    I loved how you related your hook to the book summary. That was a very clever way to transition from someone else’s summary into your own essay! I also noticed you are transitioning through your paper more; however, remember to transition from every paragraph to paragraph to help your paper flow.

    I think it was an interesting idea to include a scene in your paragraph describing the setting. Even though you shortened the scene, it is still rather lengthy. Perhaps you could reference this scene to a page number and describe it yourself in a couple of sentences. You mention that it was a very vivid image to you, so perhaps you could describe what you were seeing when you read this. Try to find a way to talk about that scene without quoting such a large chunk.

    Also, I noticed that you chose to discuss the vocabulary from the book. You mention that words such as happy and sad are not used. Perhaps you could give examples here of how the author made the vocabulary more interesting and vivid to you. You’re on the right track, just try to elaborate on this idea even more.

    Overall, great job! I could tell you really enjoyed this book. Throughout your paper, I could tell you were very involved and captivated with this book. I also like that you mention in two different spots in your essay who you would recommend this book to.

    Keep up the great work!

    1. Dear Celeste, thanks for all of the helpful tips. We are going over how to properly include text from the book into our writing in class. I wasn’t sure how to before. Now that I know how I will definitely take your advice and continue to try to include quotes. Once again thanks.
      -Samuel

      1. I’m glad this tip has helped you with your writing! Keep up the good work!

        -Celeste

  2. Hello, Samuel!

    Great improvements with your writing. I can see that you are making an effort to have less comma and sentence structure issues, as well as expanding on your ideas. One thing I did notice, and just for future reference, was that in your intro you did not separate the characters words from your own. Example:

    his only wish was I wish I could of only saved more.

    Here, and for other sentences like it, I would either italicize the words of the character or put them in parentheses. Also, I loved the idea of including an excerpt! My only suggestion would be to choose a shorter passage next time. A shorter passage would make less of a gap between your ideas. Other than that, I was very impressed with your improvement, your writing, and this review. Great job, and keep working hard!

    1. Dear Chloe, thank you for all of the helpful input and advice. I wasn’t exactly sure on how to include ideas from the book with mine. We are going over how to in class. So now I know how to properly do it. Thanks once again for the advice
      -Samuel

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