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American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  69,478 Ratings  ·  6,060 Reviews
Librarian note: an alternate cover for this edition can be found here.

Gripping, eye-opening, and powerful, American Sniper is the astonishing autobiography of SEAL Chief Chris Kyle, who is the record-holding sniper in U.S. military history. Kyle has more than 150 officially confirmed kills (the previous American record was 109), though his remarkable career total has not b

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by William Morrow (first published January 2011)
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Doug If you stopped reading after 3 pages, then you have absolutely no idea what the book was about.. and the 1st 3 pages described an action event where…moreIf you stopped reading after 3 pages, then you have absolutely no idea what the book was about.. and the 1st 3 pages described an action event where he got his first kill. It was a personal account of a real event. Where's the propaganda. If anything Chris spent more time criticizing the military brass than praising it - quite the opposite of propaganda.

I found no propaganda whatsoever in the book. I did find an honest insight into one person's perspective -- one that was often intriguiging, unexpected, and sometimes I even disagreed with his views. But it was his experiences with war. The book was really about the conflict between loyalties--his loyalty to his country and--perhaps more importantly--his loyalty to his "brothers" in arms, and how that loyalty conflicted with his loyalty to his family, and the impact it had on his marriage.

Yes, he gives personal views -- he's pro-gun, anti-welfare, etc.. -- but while I'm not those things, I understand that I'm getting a look at who this man was, not a debate on those topics. He also talks about he could care less about Iraq or whoever he was killing. All he knew was that Congress sent a bunch of Americans into a war zone and bad guys were trying to kill his brothers and he was going to keep that from happening... and he LOVED it. He made no bones about that he loved killing "bad guys." I found the honesty both in his viewpoints and his criticisms of the military to be refreshing, and they made it seem real.

Forget about embedding reporters in platoons in conflict. This book gets you inside the head of a soldier while he's looking through the scope of his sniper rifle, as bullets are flying and buddies dying beside him. It's 100X better than watching news video from an embedded reporter.

If that kind of insight into a soldier's psyche doesn't interest you, then this book isn't for you. It's real, it's gritty and it's honest -- and for some people that will make it distasteful. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I was all excited when I purchased this book, expecting a Carlos Hathcock type tale of derring-do. What a letdown - I was sick of Mr Kyle by page 5.

To begin with, I'm not sure who to credit for this bit of writing; I suspect that Kyle contributed little but the anecdotal accounts and his name to the effort, as two other names are listed with his on the cover. Interestingly, his wife is not given any co-author status although she provides significant input throughout the book.

Now all feelings abo
Steve Rawls
Feb 08, 2012 Steve Rawls rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I tried, I really tried but I just couldn't make it through this book. I wanted to like it because I'm ex military and I live in Texas but about half way through I put the book away for good. The writing was dull and choppy, the sentences short and non descriptive. It read as if it had been written by my nine year old son. I found the repeated referral to bar fights and the continuous boasting of kill numbers to be a complete turnoff. I had hoped for colorful narrative like that of Black Hawk Do ...more
Petra X
Excellent read, absolutely enlightening to how thoroughly enjoyable, not to mention competitive, war can be to those that are obviously hooked on the adrenaline rush. The author is such a man, and when promoted out into an office job, a planner, turns it down because what he wants to do is be right in the middle of the action with a gun and his mates and was willing to put up with all kinds of hardship and danger, not to mention turning down a pay rise in order to do so.

If people honestly still
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Before reading this book I had heard of Chris Kyle. I have not seen the movie and honestly I didn't know much about the controversy surrounding this man.
I'm very conflicted on reviewing this book. I almost just threw up my rating and walked away but I tend to forget the books I've read and I try and review for myself so that I can remember the book later.
This one. I just don't know.
I don't know if they paint Chris Kyle in the movie as he has bared himself in the book. I'm curious enough that I
Feb 03, 2013 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm hesitant to write a review of this book. I'm not a military reader, nor do I usually delve into autobiographies. But, I saw Kyle on a tv interview, and liked how he appeared there. I have come away from the book with a better understanding of what the guys on the ground experienced vs. what the news media has shown us here at home. A long time ago when I was studying political science, I studied a mission that failed back in the '70's. I read first hand accounts from the military commander i ...more
Jason Fotinatos
Apr 26, 2013 Jason Fotinatos rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my goodness. I really wanted to like this book. I tried hard to like this book, even if it started out with Chris describing Iraqi women and children as "evil savages" who he enjoyed killing. His only regret was that he did not get a chance to kill more of them. I respect the sacrifices that the members of our military have made over the course of our relatively short history, and the trials that they face when they return back home. So, even if I was disgusted with the first few pages, I rea ...more
Nandakishore Varma
July 6, 2015

I watched the movie yesterday. While it's brilliantly shot and exceptionally well-directed, it left me cold. I just could not sympathise with gun-crazy, sociopathic protagonist.

I need to read the book now. I do not think I will like it, to judge from a popular quote:

“I am a strong Christian. Not a perfect one—not close. But I strongly believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible. When I die, God is going to hold me accountable for everything I’ve done on earth. He may hold me back until last
Alex de G
Feb 11, 2012 Alex de G rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was, without a doubt, one of the worst pieces of literature I have ever wasted my time with.

I was recommended this book by a colleague; and I wish I had the hours back that it took to read.

The author comes across as an unsympathetic, often racist, gun-ho "shoot first, think later"-type - some of the best quotes:

* "I don't shoot people with Korans - I'd like to, but I don't"
* "At times, [killing] was a game"
* "Giving them [the Iraqi people] the tools they needed to progress is not what
Camelia Skiba
Sep 03, 2012 Camelia Skiba rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The other night, watching the show ‘Stars Earn Stripes’, my son recognized Chris Kyle, the author of “The American Sniper”, a biography he read for a school assignment. Curious about it, I picked up the book and browsed through it. Needless to say, I finished it in 1 and 1/2 days.

I come from a country where patriotism used to be forced down our throat on a daily basis, a continuous lie the communists told us for generations. The result of it? We all hated it.
After moving to the US I always wond
Aug 19, 2012 Jessica rated it it was amazing
This is a book written by a Navy SEAL Sniper, not a professional author. Yes, he did get some help, but it's ultimately his tale. Could it have been written better? I don't know, maybe, but I think it would have made the book feel more like a "story", and less like an account of his experiences. Personally, I loved this book. There is no sugar coating, no PC koombyah. This is an account of war, and it seems pretty realistic and gritty. I don't feel like the author was grandstanding or bragging, ...more
Mar 28, 2016 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
I loved this book, I thought it was excellent. I never, ever planned on reading it or picking it up. The thing that changed my mind about reading it was that a best friend of mine, a man who is about as far from a Navy SEAL as you can get (LOL) told me that he had read it and thought it was amazing. That got my attention. I really know and trust this man and if he was telling me the book was great, I was going to give it a shot.

I'm so glad I did. This is a fun, wild ride - which is EXACTLY what
Brad H
May 26, 2012 Brad H rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have never really given a book please bear with me.
I have seen several posts by people that have said that the writting is not funcional...or displaced ? That might be true. I did find a couple of places where I had to reread a sentance or 2 to understand it.
However, after reading maybe close to 500 + Novels....I would have to place this on the TOP Shelf.
What I found very interesting was it was from his perspective and his inner ordeals. I heard about this book becasue he did an in
Aug 11, 2015 Manny marked it as not-to-read  ·  review of another edition
Just saw the movie.

Clint Eastwood certainly presents the case very efficiently: if only we could kill all the people who hate America, the world would be a better place. Though at times I did suspect him of reductio ad absurdum.
Aug 02, 2015 Keith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
To start with this book is poorly written which makes it a pain to read, but the real point taken from this book is just how clueless the author can be.

I've known plenty of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, they signed up for the military to DEFEND our country then they're shipped overseas to OFFEND other countries. Most soldiers I've known have had the good sense to realize they've been lied to and used by the U.S. government for war profiteering. This author however thinks Iraqis are "evil" fo
Mike (the Paladin)
Apr 12, 2012 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
This is without doubt an interesting and I believe a valuable book. I note several reviewers which note that the book isn't well written. This is somewhat true in that the writer makes use often of short declarative sentences. There are no literary flourishes no genteel turns of phrase. On the other hand the writing style is direct, clear and (again) interesting. The book is often much like reading a letter from a friend.

This story takes us into the training life, the professional life, and also
Tyson Call
May 13, 2012 Tyson Call rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I’m torn.

On one hand, this book was an interesting look into the day-to-day life of a soldier. Mr. Kyle seems to have no qualms admitting to the less glamorous sides of war, including the bureaucracy surrounding everything a soldier does. On the other, he seems to have not pondered much the implications behind the war that he helped fight. I’m not anti-war, though I know it is a complicated topic. Kyle doesn’t seem to agree. He didn’t seem to have time to think about such things when he was busy
Mar 31, 2013 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book made me sad - both for the Americans who were killed or maimed, and for the people who are killed and maimed by the Americans.

War sucks, and is almost always wrong.
This book did nothing to change my opinion on that.

It was very familiar reading Chris's experience and understandings and recognizing myself when I join the Marine Corps both to fight for my country and to prove myself right before the first gulf war. I was both a patriot and a romantic. Now I am neither, but instead I wis
It's just me Shelly B
“....the insurgents put out a bounty on my head.
They also gave me a name: al-Shaitan Ramadi—“the Devil of Ramadi.”

The American troops he worked with called him, "The Legend." So take your pick "the Devil of Ramadi" or "The Legend?" They both sound pretty bada$$ to me!!!!

Chis Kyle...
Navy SEAL...Sniper...husband...father...leader...patriot!

“The Navy credits me with more kills as a sniper than any other American service member, past or present."

What fascinated me most with this book was being able
Jun 01, 2015 Hanna marked it as no-thanks  ·  review of another edition
A book. hmmm
Eric Franklin
Mar 31, 2016 Eric Franklin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody who tears up for "God, Country, and Family" - in that order.
Recommended to Eric by: I'll never say
Shelves: 2015
This book showcases a pathological lack of introspection on behalf of its author. It takes a complex world at a chaotic time and reduces it to black and white so that he doesn't have to feel remorse or contemplate the root causes of violence and how it might have been avoided in the first place. I respect Chris Kyle's service and hoped to find a thoughtful reflection on his experience in Iraq but this cowboy turned Navy Seal's lack of self-reflection was really hard to read.
Dec 28, 2014 TL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to TL by: gift from my aunt for christmas
On my own, I probly wouldn't have picked this up... nothing against these types of books, just not my normal read. I got this as a christmas gift from my Aunt Eileen so I figured why not step out of my book zone and try it?:)

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this... I may not agree with everything Chris says but I admire and respect him... he's a got a strong sense of faith and patriotism. He made things that would normally have my eyes gloss over sound interesting and compelling.

I loved wh
This is hard for me to review. I do not have a military background, and I fear that my comments here might upset those who do. I chose to read the book after Chris Kyle was killed while on a gun range. I have not seen him on any TV interviews nor have I read any other articles about him. I saw the brief news report about his murder, and I remembered reading a review of his book. Some of Kyle's descriptions fascinated me with his direct honesty while others repulsed me with his cavalier attitude/ ...more
Tom Mathews
There have been so many wildly differing opinions about Chris Kyle, his memoir, and movie Clint Eastwood made from it that I long ago decided that the only opinion I could trust is my own, so here goes.

After just a few pages it became apparent that to fairly review Kyle’s book one must first, and separately, express one’s views on Kyle himself. Then, and only then, will I be able to review the book itself.

In my younger days I served as a Navy corpsman assigned to a Marine Corps unit. I found th
Jan 13, 2015 Neil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the movie that was based on this book. That was until I read the book unfortunately poetic licence from the film makers has taken over again. Why take a great book then mess around with the truth of it had Chris kyle still been around I think the movie would of been totally different. That being said I loved the book.....honest and captivating and written with a bit of wit in harrowing and horrific circumstances its a very good read. Recommended.
4 Stars. Straightforward, not politically correct, raw, honest story of a SEAL at war. Very good at his main job of killing his enemy, honest in his description of his evolution from young, idealistic warrior to hardened combat veteran. I appreciated his wife's contributions to the story. She provides an alternate view of his combat deployments and how his service impacted their relationship. Non-military readers will gain an appreciation of how the family has to deal with someone deployed to th ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Don rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe Chris Kyle is gone, he has left a void in this world that can't be replaced. I really enjoyed the writing in his own words. I felt like I got to know him, feel what he was feeling, experiencing. The man was a American Hero, he did what his country ask of him, he did more than ask of him, there needs to be more Americans with the same values and beliefs as Chris.
Mike Anastasia
Jan 13, 2016 Mike Anastasia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This book is amazing.

First, as this is a book about a soldier who killed people in a highly controversial war, I'm going to say that my review will be as devoid of politics as possible. I saw the movie prior to reading the book and most of the reviews of the movie are worthless; half are "he was a murderer of poor, innocent, oppressed minorities" and the other half were "we messed up when we didn't nuke the entire Middle East after 9/11." That's neither here nor there. I come from a long li
Jun 12, 2013 TK421 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays-auto-bio
I am not going to bore you with an overview of this book. Suffice to say, it may not win any literary awards but it will make you rethink how you have previously viewed the elite warriors of SEAL teams.

The writing is awkward and clunky, push through this. The story is not about the words Chris wrote; it is about the emotions his words conveyed. At times, this story had me choking back tears. At times, I was appalled at Chris and his buddies' views on death and war. At times, it seemed as if cha
Brent Hudson
Feb 04, 2013 Brent Hudson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I felt I was reading a book written by 12 year old who could "shoot stuff real good." This was an incredibly shallow book without any show of moral struggle.

(Update Feb 5, 2013-- Chris Kyle shot to death at shooting range)
Jul 23, 2012 Tammy-Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I dont know where to begin....i finished this book today and cried!!!! For Marc Lee, Ryan Job, and all the others who fought to keep the war off OUR SOIL!!!!! Men and women who fought side by side, branch with branch of Armed Forces, fighting thru a hell that only previous Veterans could understand!!!! Those who gave all!!!! I was more than impressed i was in awe, and speechless for quite some time after reading this, trying to deal with the emotions i felt for these men and women and their fami ...more
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Mentor Texts: Mentor Texts 1 2 May 02, 2016 10:52AM  
  • Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior
  • The Red Circle: My Life in the Navy SEAL Sniper Corps and How I Trained America's Deadliest Marksmen
  • Service: A Navy SEAL at War
  • Fearless: The Heroic Story of One Navy SEAL's Sacrifice in the Hunt for Osama Bin Laden and the Unwavering Devotion of the Woman Who Loved Him
  • SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper
  • Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War
  • Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan
  • Seal of Honor: Operation Red Wings and the Life of LT. Michael P. Murphy, USN
  • Roberts Ridge: A Story of Courage and Sacrifice on Takur Ghar Mountain, Afghanistan
  • Lions of Kandahar: The Story of a Fight Against All Odds
  • Joker One: A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood
  • Roughneck Nine-One: The Extraordinary Story of a Special Forces A-team at War
  • Battle Ready: Memoir of a SEAL Warrior Medic
  • Thunder Run: The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad
  • The Night Stalkers
  • SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden
  • Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Kills
  • The Finishing School: Earning the Navy SEAL Trident
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Chris Kyle is a former United States Navy SEAL, who with 255 kills, 160 of them officially confirmed by the Pentagon, is the deadliest marksman in United States military history.Kyle served four tours in the second Iraq war, and was awarded the Bronze and Silver Star medals multiple times. In addition he was aw
More about Chris Kyle...

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“The joke was that President Bush only declared war when Starbucks was hit. You can mess with the U.N. all you want, but when you start interfering with the right to get caffeinated, someone has to pay.” 55 likes
“Great way to fight a war - be prepared to defend yourself for winning.” 38 likes
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