Cailin Deery's Reviews > Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman

Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer
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's review
May 10, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: bookclub

This biography is as much a modern day odyssey as a story could be; it’s written in Krakauer’s hyperbolic, bombastic style and explores the life and death of an American Hero gone off to war. He leaves his wife behind, leaves a multimillion dollar contract in the NFL to enlist, and is really going to war for principles rather than patriotism. Tillman is an extremely likeable person and very unlike the icon trotted out by the Bush Administration.

Where Men Win Glory goes into the history of Afghanistan, it’s relations with the Soviet Union, Pakistan and the US to prime the story and explain the mujahideen’s evoling relations with the Taliban. Tillman signed up to fight in Afghanistan, but quickly became a huge opponent of the administration when they declared war on Iraq, which he believed was “illegal as hell.” Since he did no interviews, it’s easy to see how the story of his life and death were so distorted. In reality, this was a man who turned down attractive offers from the NFL, read existentialist literature, arranged a tete-a-tete with Noam Chomsky (that never happened since he was killed in Afghanistan), and was constantly challenging himself by trying to pull off extremely dangerous stunts that you’d only know he did if you were there to witness them yourself.

Krakaeur also explores other instances of “friendly fire” in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other falsified stories from the war (like the “rescue” of Jessica Lynch which has a lot of parallels to Tillman’s story. In reality, Lynch was in a hospital in Nasiryah recovering from wounds received when she crashed her vehicle into the back of another American vehicle just ahead of her in a convoy. There she was treated with the utmost respect and care, in compliance with the Geneva Convention), and other examples of deliberate deceit from leadership in Washington as well as within the military.
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