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Boots on the Ground by Dusk: My Tribute to Pat Tillman

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  793 ratings  ·  89 reviews
On April 22, 2004, Lieutenant David Uthlaut received orders from Khost, Afghanistan, that his platoon was to leave the town of Magarah and "have boots on the ground before dark" in Manah, a small village on the border of Pakistan. It was an order the young lieutenant protested vehemently, but the commanders at the Tactical Command Center disregarded his objections. Uthlaut ...more
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Modern Times (first published May 8th 2007)
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Nov 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Mary Tillman is not a writer by nature, she was a school teacher who gave birth to three glorious sons. One who became the Pac-10 Defensiver Player of the Year in 1997 as well as set the Arizona Cardinals record for tackles in a seaon with 224. This incredible athlete was aSafety in the NFL, all of 5'11' and a little over 200 pounds dripping wet. He made the ultimate sacrifice to serve our country when he had everything most of us would ever want. A beautifuly family and a job that paid him to p ...more
I read this book because I had some unanswered questions after reading Jon Krakauer's book "Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman". Most of these questions were of a personal nature, so this book, written by Pat's mother, was the perfect way to answer those questions. Yes, she did answer them for me as well as told her side of the story.

This book is not a literary piece. It is more like the journal of a grieving mother-bear who has lost her cub in an unjust way and seeks justice for hi
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very sad episode in our history both relative to the Tillman family and what it reveals about our military and political leaders (in this case Bush, Rumsfeld and crew). The material gets a bit dry and repetitive in places, but overall all the military jargon is made very tolerable.
An important book in terms of revealing the difference between honest, well-meaning patriotism versus the vacuous jingoism we see everyday. Can't help but love this family.
Dec 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An amazing book. Very emotional. An excellent example of why no organization (especially the US military) should be allowed to investigate itself. From incompetence to criminal negligence to a cover-up conspiracy, this book exposes the moral vacuum that was the Bush administration and its military leadership.

Also recommend Jon Krakauer's Where Men Win Glory on the same subject.
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very powerful and very interesting book. I read this book after reading both Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer and The Letter by Marie Tillman.

I am glad I read this after Krakauer's book, because I felt his book was more level. Of course, Mary Tillman's account is very personal and recounts many, many memories of Pat. Towards the middle of the book, her memories get muddled together with what her current topic is. It became confusing at times, but I learned to just not try to figure it out and
Wendi Lau
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hearing Pat Tillman’s story from his family’s point of view was touching and so very sad. His mom read her own book, which must have been difficult for her. I also read the book on Tillman by Krakauer. It was a good comparison. His mom did so much work to find out what really happened to her son and to bring his killers to justice.

However, Pat Tillman seemed like a tremendous person that made an impression on everyone he met. His life was thoughtful and challenging and full, well-lived. Good exa
May 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
A deeply personal tribute to Pat Tillman, by his mother Mary. I am impressed with her courage and unrelenting determination in demanding the truth about her son's death. Sadly, it is likely we will never know.

After reading Krakauer's book Where Men Win Glory and this one, I am much closer to believing Pat Tillman was murdered. The contributing circumstances were more than simply negligence--there are way too many huge inconsistencies; complete disregard for regulation, destroyed evidence, alter
Oct 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grown-up-books
Jon Krakauer used this book as a resource for Where men win glory so I wanted to read it. There is no greater loss for a mother than of her child, and the circumstances of Pat Tillman's death are so tragic. It is just heart-breaking as she shares the stories from a childhood that mold a man. This book does goes into a conspiracy theory that Pat was killed intentionally, which Krakauer doesn't entertain, and the facts don't support. The government's mishandling of the case is well documented thou ...more
wow....just wow....i cannot get over this book. i couldn't stop crying :( this book has definitely gotten me to ponder deeply about the government and military.

you can truly tell this book was written from the heart. i applaud pat's family for pursuing & not giving up on the government for answers
Sep 13, 2010 rated it liked it
I enjoyed getting to know Pat Tillman through his mom's writing. He was someone I would have loved to have a beer with - a very interesting and honorable individual. He and his family deserved better from our country. I hope his family finds solace in that many of us know the government did a great injustice to them and Pat. I for one will not forget Pat's sacrifice. ...more
West Hartford Public Library
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jeanne
Incredibly intimate account given by mother of a son killed in dubious circumstances and her quest to find the truth about his death. Integrity and dedication are manifest in every page of this beautiful and haunting biography. Hours, days, weeks, months and years of research form the basis of her presentation along with poignant memories. Its effect goes beyond words.
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pat Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinals safety who left football to become an Army Ranger, was killed in southeastern Afghanistan. Great read for ex or present military members or folks considering a military career. Left me feeling anxious....and curious about his motivation.
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I switched between the Kindle book & the Audible book but mostly listened to the Audible book. I enjoyed hearing the story as read by the author, Pat's mother. Initially, I switched between this book and "The Letter" (written & read by his wife, Marie). That was fun, since often the books would overlap & it was interesting to get the perspective of incidents from his wife and his mother. The first half of the book was enjoyable, learning about his early life. Like the time when he was about 3 an ...more
I really appreciated hearing about Pat Tillman's childhood, dedication and patriotism. Pat Tillman is an American hero. He will continue to be one of my personal heroes, especially after I read this book.
I also honor Mary's courage to write and narrate this book, as well as her courage to fight hard for truth about what really happened to Pat.
There's a lot of details that seem unnecessary, like how a dress flows in the breeze. But I will not criticize that aspect of the book since it is poetic.
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
A heart wrenching tribute to not only the integrity and character of Pat Tillman, but also his family. It also demonstrates the depths to which government will sink in order to manipulate the public. Thank you, Mary Tillman, for sharing this story.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
A beautiful tribute to her son. I read this during my tour in Afghanistan when I had down time. Inspired me to stay on point always.
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
More of a stream of consciousness memoir by not the best writer than anything else. As a fellow mom I felt for Mary but this really wasn’t worth the read. Read krakauers version instead.
Ken Rawson
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Eye Opening!
Sep 17, 2009 rated it liked it
I was intrigued by this story after hear mike talk about him. I enjoyed the family history but was very upset that I spent all the time reading it when it has such a sad ending. I was also very mad about how he was recognized and was a "hero" but the government kinda screwed him and his family. Those are not the stories about the US that make one proud or happy. I feel bad for the family and wonder why the wife was left out. I see the mom's perspective but also wonder why the wife did not say mu ...more
Sep 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I think everybody should read this book because it is very inspiring. It makes me think about the hard decisions more than once. This book also shows me how well the U.S. government really is. This book has opened my eyes to see that the people who serve in the army really need to be respected. I hope people read this book to find out the real truth of Pat Tillman and the family he left behind. Pat had a loving mom who wrote this book because she was determined to find out the truth about her de ...more
May 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sonny
Incredible story of the life and death of Pat Tillman and the ongoing cover-up by top government officials about the true cause of his death in Afghanistan.
To this day, the Tillman family of San Jose has not gotten a straight answer as to the truth of how his death occurred and the government fabricated stories about his death for the sole purpose of gloriying the war effort.
As a matter of fact, Pat Tillman was 100% AGAINST the Iraq war, where he was first deployed. Finally he was deployed to Af
Jamie Fodale
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
It was a good book. I saw the documentary on Pat Tillman and wanted to know more. I love how his family isn't afraid or intimidated to say and do what they wanted and what they think Pat would have wanted. It's a sad tragic story. His family was relentless in finding the truth. What is worse is no one was punished for this crime. There are so many names it's sometimes hard to keep them straight. It would have been helpful to see the map of the area where Pat was killed earlier in the book. Overa ...more
Nov 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really informative book on the Tillman family's trials in trying to get an answer from the government about Pat Tillman's death. It gave several flashbacks into Pat's childhood and how he developed into the man he became. This book is written with a Mother's bias; and a Mother should be biased. However, I think the author poured her heart into this book as a way to tell Pat's story, and to expose the military coverup.

It was well-written and I enjoyed it immensely. It will. Rey likely leave you f
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Listening to this book was quite powerful as it is narrated by Mary Tillman. Her and her family's tenacious efforts to uncover the truth about her son's death and the maddening actions of the U.S. government and military in the aftermath are commendable. I also appreciate her efforts to highlight the stories of other families facing similar obstacles who don't have the benefit of having a world famous son to spur better results. I highly recommend one listen to this in conjunction with reading/l ...more
Robert Parker
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since I know all the main characters, it was difficult to read. Our book club discussion on Saturday will be emotional. The first half of the book details Pat's life from childhood to his death...much of which I read through tears. The second half is more calculating...the documentation, hearings, interviews collected in the attempt to get to the bottom of the Tillman cover-up. I'm afraid the book hits on the broader theme which is that by and large you can't trust your government to tell you th ...more
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book did a nice job of celebrating Pat's life even going back to his mother's earliest memories of him as a toddler while also examining the controversial, sad and frustrating circumstances surrounding his death. I was glad to have read this book so that I learned more about Pat Tillman who really was the epitome of a good man and hero. Sadly it doesn't seem like justice was ever really served for him as it should have been, but at least the truth is out there as a result of the determinati ...more
Oct 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jonathan Lu
Jan 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Had to pick this one up after getting captivated by Jon Krakauer's "Where Men Win Glory". This tribute by Pat Tillman's mother was not nearly as well written as Krakauer's, but naturally filled with the pain of his loss, it serves a wholly different purpose. There's not much more you will pick up about Tillman's great life from reading this novel, but certainly I have to say worth it in celebration and remembrance. ...more
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really intense look at a mother's love for her son. She would stop at nothing to find out the truth about what happened to him. I kept having to put it down and go for walks between chapters because it upset me so much, and it's not like I didn't go into it already knowing how the story ends. It inspired me to sign up for and run in Pat's Run in Tempe for the past two years and I think I'll keep going every year for the rest of my life. ...more
Jan 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: sociology
I picked this book up at the library thinking that I owed it to Mary Tillman to read her book for the sacrifice that her son gave. I will overlook her complaints against Bush-Cheney-Rumsfield but her gripe with the US Army is wholly legitimate and deserving of a meaningful response. Some portion of the US Army clearly intended to deceive the American people about Pat's death and it does not appear that those individuals were held accountable for their efforts to cover-up the truth. ...more
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