By: Joshua Muller
American Sniper, now a Hollywood movie, is an autobiography of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s experience in his four long tours in Iraq. God, country, and family were the most important things to him and he shows this in his writing. Chris gives readers background on his life and choices he made while deployed to Iraq. Although he is considered the deadliest sniper in US military history with 160 confirmed kills, he cared more about the people he saved or couldn’t save. Trying to help others is all that mattered to him.
Growing up in Texas, Chris was taught at an early age by his father to protect others: “I started sticking up for younger kids who were getting picked on. I felt I had to look out for them… I think my father’s sense of justice and fair play influenced me more than I knew at the time.” Having this urge to protect others, Chris became a Navy SEAL. Stationed in San Diego, he met a girl named Taya who became his wife before he was deployed to Iraq a year after the tragic events on 9/11. Taya Kyle also contributed to the book by writing her thoughts and experiences while Chris was deployed.
War is violent. Chris recounts every brutal thing he’s seen while in Iraq. Going into detail and not censoring any description, readers can imagine the horrors that he had witnessed. People killing each other over different beliefs. Having killed people himself, Chris feels justified in his actions and does not regret one shot that he took. “But I witnessed evil my targets committed and wanted to commit, and by killing them, I protected the lives of many fellow soldiers.” When witnessing the deaths of two of his teammates, readers can sense his regret and guilt. “To me, it’s as deep and fresh a wound as if those bullets came into my own flesh this very moment.” I may not understand what it’s like to lose a best friend but I understand that it must be hard live with that memory.
Raising their kids by herself, Taya Kyle writes, “…both our kids needed him, especially, at that particular time, our son. If he wasn’t going to be there, then I would move closer to my father so that at least he would grow up with a strong grandfather very close to him.” Readers see both sides of what the couple went through and how war changed their relationship. While Chris was fighting in a war, his kids were growing up without a father figure. Given an ultimatum, Chris decided he would finish his fourth tour and return home to his family.
Out of the Navy and back in Texas, Chris rebuilds his relationship with his family. Although it was hard for him to adjust to civilian life, he decided to help other veterans coming home by taking them out to shoot and sharing each other’s stories of their deployments.
Taking the time to read American Sniper shows readers the evil that goes on in the world and makes them wonder, who will stop it? The men and women willing to sacrifice everything will.