Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman
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Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  14,353 ratings  ·  2,089 reviews
The bestselling author of Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, and Under the Banner of Heaven delivers a stunning, eloquent account of a remarkable young man’s haunting journey.

Like the men whose epic stories Jon Krakauer has told in his previous bestsellers, Pat Tillman was an irrepressible individualist and iconoclast. In May 2002, Tillman walked away from his $3.6 million NFL...more
Hardcover, 383 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by Doubleday (first published February 29th 2000)
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Jason
I'm active duty military and can partly--partly--understand why Pat Tillman turned down a 3.6 million dollar contract with the Arizona Cardinals, and, instead, enlisted in the Army as a grunt for $1200 per month. I use money as the central metric of Tillman's decision because it's the one most non-active duty military readers will misunderstand. I'll try to explain his decision from our (military) perspective.

Let me start by saying I would not have made the same financial decision, despite the...more
Philip
The back cover of my book reads, “Pat Tillman walked away from a multimillion-dollar NFL contract to join the army and became an icon of post 9/11 patriotism. When he was killed in Afghanistan two years later, he became a tool for White House propaganda. Thus a legend was born…”

Throughout the book, Krakauer makes multiple references to how Pat Tillman didn’t grant interviews after enlisting, or how he didn’t want, “them to parade me through the streets” to advance a political agenda. I’m not exc...more
La Petite Américaine
I wanted a biography of Pat Tillman, not a scathing critique of the Bush administration. While the actions of George W. Bush and his staff regarding the events surrounding Tillman's death are totally relevant to the story, here Krakauer abandons his usual objectivity and jumps head-first into an attack on Bush that leaves the author sounding like nothing more than a pissed-off liberal Seattle-ite. (And I can say that because was a pissed off liberal Seattle-ite.) Ugh. Go cry into your cappuccino...more
Miranda
When I first started the book, I asked myself if I liked the character of Pat Tillman. I didn't understand why I was having such a problem with him. But my problem wasn't with him, it was with Krakauer and his kiss-assery, if I may. The hero treatment was way too much for me. Although, Tillman is a hero in many people's eyes and an overall good guy, it felt like he just couldn't be any guy. He had to be "unafraid to buck the herd", "defend honor, with fists if necessary", "Tillman...virtually in...more
Matt
As I write this, in late January, another football season is coming to an end. In another week, the Super Bowl will be played. Millions of people will tune in to watch this overblown, ceaselessly hyped pageant. Some of these people will actually care about the outcome of the game; most, however, will tune in for the commercials, even though they are, in fact, the same commercials we will strenuously attempt to avoid for the other 364 days of the year. Dozens of talking heads will attempt to expl...more
Julia
This is at once a biography of Pat Tillman, a history of Afghanistan, the Taliban (they originally formed to stop bandits from shaking down the populace at checkpoints) and the cover up of Tillman’s fratricide.

Having read and been very impressed with Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven, I was expecting – and got— a complex story. As a non-football fan, I don’t know the difference (or if there is one) between a sack and a tackle or a fullback, a free safety and a linebacker. But who Tillman was...more
Mr. Z
"My heart goes out to those who will suffer. Whatever your politics, whatever you believe is right or wrong, the fact is most of those who will feel the wrath of this ordeal want nothing more than to live peacefully."

This isn't a book you critique. This book critiques you. When's the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror and earnestly rated your patriotism? How much of the news feeds related to the Global War on Terror do you really believe? Would you leave behind a wife and a multi-mi...more
Toby
Sep 22, 2009 Toby rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
This is probably a 3.5 star book. Any other author I'd give the benefit of the doubt; given that it's Captain Swarthy himself I have to reserve a bit harsher judgment. When this book is on, it's really on. I read it in 3 sittings, swept up in a narrative I already knew the conclusion to (and hoped would turn out otherwise). The prose left me breathless, and with an overwhelming sense of righteous indignation at 6+ years of unjust war and outright lies from those perpetrating it.

But - and this b...more
Will Byrnes
Pat Tillman was a top-notch safety with the Phoenix Cardinals of the NFL. He was an incredibly intense guy, always looking to challenge himself, to push himself past his limits. But he also had a sensitive, emotional side and an intellectual curiosity, exceptional in his chosen profession. He came from a close-knit family that held the military in high regard and was touched deeply when the USA was attacked on and subsequently went to war following 9/11. Setting aside his lucrative football care...more
Adrienne
I'm a huge Krakauer fan, but this book was not his best work.

The transitions between Afghan military history and US involvement in that country's affairs, and more personal information about Pat Tillman
are rather awkward.

Also, as much as I can't shake a stick at a man who gives up a sweet NFL career to join the military - I found Tillman to be a somewhat irritating character for his lack of realism or maturity. I believe he could have done much more good staying here and using his status and mo...more
Shaun
I really enjoy Krakauer's writing, so much so that this is the fourth book written by him that I've read in the past year. I also purchased two other books (on this topic) and a documentary after reading his version of the Pat Tillman story. Thus it goes without saying that I gave this five stars.

What is the book about?

The obvious answer is Pat Tillman, the famous football player who gave up a multi-million dollar contract to enlist in the army after the September 11th attacks. Pat's story alone...more
Jennifer
The story of Pat Tillman is probably already somewhat familiar to many from news headlines - he's the Arizona Cardinals player who turned down a multi-million football contract to go fight al quaeda in Afghanistan after 9/11 only to be killed by friendly-fire. Of course, the Bush administration, wanting to use Tillman to hype the glory of war, covered up the circumstances of his death at first, making it a bigger headline later. If the government had been truthful from the start, Tillman's name...more
Brian
Jon Krakauer is the absolute best at what he does--which is delivering unbelievable biographies about some of the most extreme challenges in human kind. This book needs to be added into every military branch's recommended reading lists.

The story of Pat Tillman fascinated me in the news from day one. When he was killed I, like everyone else, thought it was tragic and wanted to believe he went down fighting off the Taliban and defending his brothers in arms. When I was stationed at Bagram AB in A...more
Colleen
The only thing that kept me from throwing this book across the room in utter disgust with how the military handles fratricide was the thought that McChystal was fired. Sure, he was fired for something totally unrelated, and probably not the most culpable in the Tillman cover-up, but it’s really the only comfort available. I also didn’t think that I could be any more disgusted by the Bush administration, but this book proved that wrong. I wasn’t interested in Pat Tillman; I read it because Krakau...more
Ashley
I’ve been finished with Jon Krakauer’s Where Men Win Glory for over a week now. But this is one of those books that stirs up emotions, ones like anger and frustration, and it took me some time to figure out what exactly I want to say.

Jon Krakauer has covered in other books a fundamentalist Mormon sect murder, the 1996 Everest disaster, and the story of an Emory University kid trying to make it in the wilds of Alaska. I read and really liked all of those books, so when I saw Where Men Win Glory o...more
Mrs. Roy
Oh. My. God. He had written another. At long last...ladies and gentlemen, guard your small children and animals on the day this one comes out (September of 2009) - the bullet flying by will be me trying to get to the book store first. Can't wait for the library on this one!
Neil
What I wanted from this book was an in-depth investigation into Pat Tillman's death and the ensuing cover-up by the military and our government. What I got instead was a quasi-biography of Tillman coupled with a parallel discussion of the Bush administration's handling of Iraq and Afghanistan. Neither bothered me terribly, I guess, since I attended ASU at the same time Tillman did and was a huge fan of his from the very start, and since I voted against Bush twice. But still, be aware of the subj...more
Ethan
Pat Tillman, it appears, is everyone's political platform. Krakauer decries the use of Tillman's life and death for political ends, then goes on to use Tillman to preach about the evils of the Bush administration. By the end of the book, I wondered if this was more about Pat Tillman's life or Krakauer's hatred of Bush.

There's even a whole chapter about the Bush-Gore election. I'm not sure why.

Outside of the political screed, I was a little irritated by the obviousness of Krakauer's man-crush on...more
Jeanette
This book is a modern exploration of the ancient hero archetype, with Pat Tillman's life journey as a well-known example. The narrative also gave me a better understanding of the male need to prove oneself in battle. I still think it's foolish, for I would never intentionally place myself in harm's way. But at least I can now see the primal drive that makes men rush to recruiting offices when war is declared.
There's also a lot of important history here regarding America's friend-enemy relations...more
Steve
I've read and enjoyed everything Krakauer has written, but I wasn't too thrilled by this subject. I knew little about Tillman other than the basics of the story, and I have sort of given up reading books about the Bush years because they usually just rile me up without bringing anything new to the table. My impression was that Tillman would be a jingoistic meat-head type who got caught up in an unfortunate but predictable propaganda spree. I'd urge anyone who has given this book a pass for simil...more
Judd
Make no mistake, Krakauer's is a liberal work. It is not likely to change the minds of neocons or staunch supporters of Bush's policy or of the wars in the Middle East. Still, it shows such tenacity and tact in wording, that I believe that it should be read by conservatives who have over-honed their instinct to attack their enemies before an appropriate reckoning of the stakes at hand; and it should also be read by liberals who build their ideas out of resentment for the power wielded by their o...more
Chris
The beginning of this book let me down in that I didn't feel it was Krakauer's best work. He always editorialises in his works but I felt like the beginning of the book was a series of statements and assertations both about Bush and Tillman that were presented with very little to support them. Tillman came off to me as a complete fuck in the beginning of the book and yet you have Krakauer repeatedly telling you how introspective and kind he was... they just didn't mesh.

Once the book gets into Pa...more
Mateo
It's no accident that Where Men Win Glory is framed by quotes from Homer and Aeschylus, because, make no mistake about it, this is a Greek tragedy, the story of a heroic, if flawed, human being who is played with by the gods like a fly by wanton boys. In this case the gods are the neoconservative hawks who brought the war in Iraq down upon our heads, and the book is an indictment--yes, okay, a searing indictment--of the foolishness, hubris, and evil at the root of this immoral war. It's also one...more
Tanveer
Every book I've read by Krakauer (and I've now read all of them) has left me feeling incredibly outraged and crushed at the same time. You see so much of yourself in the protagonists he's carefully chosen to profile that you can't help but feel every ounce of emotion through his powerful prose.

Where Men Win Glory is no different. It's perhaps most similar to my favorite, Into the Wild. In both cases Krakauer brings to life stories of two young men (Chris McCandless and Pat Tillman) he's never me...more
Ed
Sad. Tragic. These are the words touching me. We all know the story of Pat Tillman, the NFL defensive star and then selfless patriot warrior. This sympathetic, honest book details what happened in the "friendly fire" incident cutting his life short. War--even high-tech, modern warfare--is a chaotic, messy business, as portrayed here. Heavy on football and military, his life comes across as so much more: brother, husband, and son.
Nancy
Excellent example of government coverup of death of NFL player for war publicity.
Renee
When the news media broke the story last year about comments that General Stanley McChrystal made comments to Rolling Stone magazine about the leadership of the war effort in Afghanistan, I made a comment on my Facebook page about him. My brother-in-law asked me if I had had read this book about Pat Tillman, which explained how Pat’s participation in the Gulf War changed the U.S. as a nation, and given some major political figures clout with the war effort. Since I had not read the book, I saw t...more
Randy
This isn't Krakauer's most compelling book but he knows a good story when he sees it. The story of football hero Pat Tillman and the government coverup surrounding his death by friendly fire in Afganistan will make you angry and cause you to wonder, probably one more time, why we are sending our guys to police the world. You will also wonder why Tilman, who comes across as naive, would leave his new wife and football career to join the army as a grunt. Krakauer tries hard to make this understand...more
John
Man, what a powerful book. The level of detail and the amount of research that went into this is staggering. The portrait of Tillman is nuanced and complex. He wasn't the simple, one-dimensional hero that the media tried to portray. In fact, I found some aspects of him to be unpleasant. If I had known him, I probably wouldn't have liked him. However, he was a unique and talented person with lots of different, seemingly contradictory qualities. And his totally unnecessary death and the corruption...more
Paul Eckert
In a perfect world, everyone would have their biography written by Jon Krakauer after their death, and that book could be passed down through the generations, and people would truly understand who you were, and they would learn something and be inspired by your story.

Unfortunately, we live in a less than perfect world, and if Jon Krakauer writes a book about you, then your death was untimely, tragic, and undeserved.

Where Men Win Glory is the story of Pat Tillman, the NFL football player that ga...more
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Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, well-known for outdoor and mountain-climbing writing.

More about Jon Krakauer...
Into the Wild Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way

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“the sad end he met in Afghanistan was more accurately a function of his stubborn idealism--his insistence on trying to do the right thing. In which case it wasn't a tragic flaw that brought Tillman down, but a tragic virtue.” 9 likes
“Many decisions are made in our lifetime, Most relatively insignificant while others life altering” 2 likes
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