Category Archives: SamuelJ

American Sniper by Chris Kyle reviewed by Samuel Justice

American Sniper by Chris Kyle

Summary from

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.”


“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.


Lone Survivor by Marcus Lattrell reviewed Samuel Justice

Lone Survivor

By Marcus Latrell


Four US Navy SEALS departed one clear night in early July 2005 for the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border for a reconnaissance mission. Their task was to document the activity of an al Qaeda leader rumored to be very close to Bin Laden with a small army in a Taliban stronghold. Five days later, only one of those Navy SEALS made it out alive.

This is the story of the only survivor of Operation Redwing, SEAL fire team leader Marcus Luttrell, and the extraordinary firefight that led to the largest loss of life in American Navy SEAL history. His squadmates fought valiantly beside him until he was the only one left alive, blasted by an RPG into a place where his pursuers could not find him. Over the next four days, terribly injured and presumed dead, Luttrell crawled for miles through the mountains and was taken in by sympathetic villagers who risked their lives to keep him safe from surrounding Taliban warriors.

A born and raised Texan, Marcus Luttrell takes us from the rigors of SEAL training, where he and his fellow SEALs discovered what it took to join the most elite of the American special forces, to a fight in the desolate hills of Afghanistan for which they never could have been prepared. His account of his squadmates’ heroism and mutual support renders an experience that is both heartrending and life-affirming. In this rich chronicle of courage and sacrifice, honor and patriotism, Marcus Luttrell delivers a powerful narrative of modern war.

What is a hero? What is sacrifice? I thought I knew what these things were, but really I didn’t.  A real soldiers story is much different than what kids see playing a Call of Duty video game.  In Marcus Latrell’s book Lone Survivor, I came to see what a true warrior goes through during battle.  Set in Afghanistan a few years after the 9-11 attacks, the author retells his epic story of surviving the unthinkable odds, while his brothers-in arms gave the ultimate sacrifice.  I believe Marcus Latrell captured his story through its themes, setting, and vocabulary.

The themes in this book really stood out to me, the most important being, never give in.  Even after falling off cliffs, being shot, blown up, and almost dying of thirst, Marcus Latrell never gave up hope. After being hit by a rocket propelled grenade or RPG, Marcus was knocked unconscious and blown into a deep ravine. Several hours went by before he awoke. Bleeding and unable to move his legs he gathered enough strength to crawl to a safe position.  He realized he was the last in his team of four Navy SEALS alive.  While lying in a crevice in a cliff many thoughts crossed his mind. One of the things that kept him going was he kept repeating Psalms 23:4:  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. The other was that he was determined to tell the story of how brave his SEAL team had fought and the sacrifice they made.  The author was able to express this powerfully through his themes.

The setting played a vital role in this book.  America had just gone through its worst terrorist attack and the first attack on its own soil since Pearl Harbor.  The country was gearing up for war and Marcus Latrell had already begun his SEAL training.  The setting varied from his childhood in Texas to the icy waters of Coronado to the unforgiving mountain peaks of the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan.  Even as a child he knew what he wanted to do, deciding to be a Navy SEAL at the age of twelve. After being accepted into the program his intense training took him all across the country.  While serving in Afghanistan, along with his team of three others, he was assigned to kill a Taliban warlord.  The team was flown into the steep and rocky mountains of the Hindu Kush where they had to hike to recon the area where the warlord was believed to be.  Marcus described the scenery well and explained the Afghani culture and how they viewed the Americans.  I gained a better understanding of the war on terrorism through the setting of this book.

The author was able to express emotions and thoughts through the use of his vocabulary.  Though it used graphic language it enabled me to better understand the struggles that our military men and women face every day.  I have been wanting to read this book for a while but my father did not want me to because of the use of this language, but now agreed so I would understand that war is not glamorous as one may be lead to believe playing video games.  Marcus achieved the true nature of war through his description and vocabulary.  He was to the point in his descriptions and did not over exaggerate.  I believe he wanted to tell the story exactly how it happened.

In the end, this is one of my favorite books I have ever read.  It was full of action, patriotism, and sacrifice.  I think someone looking for these qualities would enjoy this book.  For someone my age who was just a baby at the time of the 9-11 attacks, this book gives a realistic view of the war on terror and helps  give understanding of those serving in the military during this time.



Crossed by Ally Condie by Samuel Justice

Crossed by Ally Condie

Summary from



In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky – taken by the Society to his certain death – only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander – who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart – change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.



Think of being in love? What would you do if the person you loved was taken from you? How far would you go to find them? Find out how Cassia goes in the novel Crossed by Ally Condie. This is the second book of the Matched series. Characters in this book are challenged by their dystopian home, The Society, who control every aspect of everyone’s life. What would you do? Go on with them making your calls or do something about it. This is what the characters must answer. I enjoyed this novel including its themes, setting, and vocabulary.


One thing that I enjoyed in this novel was its themes. Two however really stood out to me. The first is do not take what you have for granite. In the book some things we thing as perhaps busy work or do not even give a second glance at are really important to the characters. For example, poetry, art and thing like this have been taken from the characters, and what remains must be hidden. The other theme I think stand out is love. That is what the entire book is basically about. The characters go through war, pain, hunger and many other hardships for it. These are the themes I think are the most important.


I also enjoyed the settings of the book, and it really meant a lot to the characters as well. For example the carving, which is a canton, represents freedom as The Society does not have full control over it. Other things that have to do with setting are the locations from which the characters are from. It has made them into the people that they are. Overall I would say that the settings in this book really make it great. These are ways the settings play important roles in the book.


One of the things that make the book is its vocabulary. It too also has effect on the characters. For example the vocabulary in the poems the characters have. They show rebellion, love, hope, and freedom which is what the characters are going on. It gives them hope for something better, and that maybe they can be a part of it. Also vocabulary which is acquired from pictures is important to the characters. For example pictures of angels, dances, and beautiful images gives the characters a better vocabulary which is something else we take for granite. This is how I believe the vocabulary plays an important role in the book


In the end I thought the book was a bit slow delivering its point, but I still enjoyed it and am planning on reading the third book of the series. I recommend this book to people who like books such as The Hunger Games. So far this book has delivered a similar message in a way that I have enjoyed. If you like a dystopian novel with a good fight every now and then then this is the book for you. Make sure to read the first one though. Using theme, setting, and strong vocabulary Ally Condie has written a true winner in her book Crossed.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton by Samuel Justice

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton


Summary from


The movie details a town split between the wealthy South Zone gang called ‘The Socials’ and the poor North Zone gang called ‘The Greasers’. Dallas Winston, Ponyboy Curtis and Johnny Cade from ‘The Greasers’ befriend the rich Cherry Valance and Marcia at a drive-in. Later that night, a group of ‘The Socs’ chase and beat up Johnny and attempt to drown Ponyboy in a fountain. However, Johnny stabs one Soc and kills him, saving Ponyboy. The desperate boys seek Dallas who finds a hideout for them in a nearby town. One week later, Johnny and Ponyboy decide to return to their hometown, with Dallas, to claim the murder as self-defense. But on their way back, they see the church on fire and Ponyboy and Johnny help the children trapped in the church and become heroes. However Johnny is badly wounded and confined to the hospital. Meanwhile The Socs and The Greasers prepare to fight.


Think you got it bad, like the entire worlds after you? You don’t have a clue. Find out what it really means in The Outsiders. The Outsiders is about  fourteen year old Ponyboy who is tough and confused, yet sensitive behind his bold front. Since his parents’ death, his loyalties have been to his brothers and his gang, the greasers. The greasers are a rough, swinging, long-haired gang of boys from the wrong side of town. When his best friend, Johnny, kills a boy who jumps him and Ponyboy, a nightmare of violence begins and swiftly changes Ponyboy’s life into a downhill chain of events. Gangs have been a problem in society throughout history. However, they are becoming more influential in communities across the United States. They are starting to target teenagers at the middle school level as well as all types of communities, including suburbs and rural settings. This story, through its themes, setting, and range of vocabulary tells how being in a gang can be, and how I could possibly change your life for the worse.


The themes of this book where written very clear for me. One for instance is in the title, The Outsiders. This theme refers to being unaccepted or not fitting in. Another theme that stuck with me was family relationships. If you only look at Ponyboy’s family it would seem bad, but compared to other families in the story he actually has it pretty good. One case for instance is Johnny’s abusive family. The last important theme I saw in this book was not everything is in black and white. In the beginning of the book the characters look at everything as either good or bad, but by the end they realized this was not the case. These are the themes that most stood out to me


The setting of The Outsiders was one character I really enjoyed. The author shows us what it was like during in the city during the time period she grew up. Social Classes were very clear us upper, middle, and low. The upper and lower classes having rivalry as the greasers and socs do, and the middle class being neutral. She uses their suroundings to show how life was in the city, which was usually rough. It also tells of how some of the characters wanted something different. For examlpe Ponyboy wanting to live in the country. This is how the setting stood out for me.


The vocabulary use in the book I believe is very easy to relate to for some people. I know for me being were I am from I use a lot of words that would not be usual for people from another region. The characters have words for certain iteams which I think boosts curiosity in the book. For example thet use the word heater in place of the word gun. Another way the author cleverly used the vocabulary was in describing charactes. The author gave the charactersn personalities by giving you there appearance. Some examples are Dally’s whitish blonde hair shows him as a completey different person as johnny who has dark hair. This is how I inturpretted the authors use of vocabulary.


In the end this was one of my favorite books I have read. I recommend it to people looking to a book with action and suspense. This book is defiantly one that can deliver those characteristics. I wish every book I have read is this good. In the end I think I enjoyed this book so much because of its theme. It said to me that even if you may not fit in or do what everyone else does, but in the end it will all turn out okay. This is why I enjoyed The Outsiders.