Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman

by Jon Krakauer

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This edition has been updated to reflect new developments and includes new material obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

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, a legend was born. But the real Pat Tillman was much more remarkable, and considerably more complicated than the public knew...

A stunning account of a remarkable young man's heroic life and death, from the bestselling author of Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, and Under the Banner of Heaven.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739327630
Publisher: Diversified Publishing
Publication date: 09/15/2009
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 592
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Jon Krakauer is the author of eight books and has received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. According to the award citation, "Krakauer combines the tenacity and courage of the finest tradition of investigative journalism with the stylish subtlety and profound insight of the born writer." 


Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONEDuring Pat Tillman's stint in the Army he intermittently kept a diary. In an entry dated July 28, 2002—three weeks after he arrived at boot camp—he wrote, "It is amazing the turns one's life can take. Major events or decisions that completely change a life. In my life there have been a number." He then cataloged several. Foremost on his mind at the time, predictably, was his decision to join the military. But the incident he put at the top of the list, which occurred when he was eleven years old, comes as a surprise. "As odd as this sounds," the journal revealed, "a diving catch I made in the 11-12 all-stars was a take-off point. I excelled the rest of the tournament and gained incredible confidence. It sounds tacky but it was big."

As a child growing up in Almaden, California (an upscale suburb of San Jose), Pat had started playing baseball at the age of seven. It quickly became apparent to the adults who watched him throw a ball and swing a bat that he possessed extraordinary talent, but Pat seems not to have been particularly cognizant of his own athletic gifts until he was selected for the aforementioned all-star team in the summer of 1988. As the tournament against teams of other standout middle-school athletes got under way, he mostly sat on the bench. When the coach eventually put Pat into a game, however, he clobbered a home run and made a spectacular catch of a long fly ball hit into the outfield. Fourteen years later, as he contemplated life from the perspective of an Army barracks, he regarded that catch as a pivotal moment—a confidence booster that contributed significantly to one of his defining traits: unwavering self-assurance.
In 1990, Pat matriculated at Almaden's Leland High School, one of the top public schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, both academically and athletically. Before entering Leland he had resolved to become the catcher on the varsity baseball team, but the head coach, Paul Ugenti, informed Pat that he wasn't ready to play varsity baseball and would have to settle for a position on the freshman-sophomore team. Irked and perhaps insulted by Ugenti's failure to recognize his potential, Pat resolved to quit baseball and focus on football instead, even though he'd taken up the latter sport barely a year earlier and had badly fractured his right tibia in his initial season when a much larger teammate fell on his leg during practice.
With a November birthday, Pat was among the youngest kids in Leland's freshman class, and when he started high school, he was only thirteen years old. He also happened to be small for his age, standing five feet five inches tall and weighing just 120 pounds. When he let it be known that he was going to abandon baseball for football, an assistant coach named Terry Hardtke explained to Pat that he wasn't "built like a football player" and strongly urged him to stick with baseball. Once Tillman set his sights on a goal, however, he wasn't easily diverted. He told the coach he intended to start lifting weights to build up his muscles. Then he assured Hardtke that not only would he make the Leland football team but he intended to play college football after graduating from high school. Hardtke replied that Pat was making a huge mistake—that his size would make it difficult for him ever to win a starting position on the Leland team, and that he stood virtually no chance of ever playing college ball.
Pat, however, trusted his own sense of his abilities over the coach's bleak predictions, and tried out for the Leland football team regardless. Six years later he would be a star linebacker playing in the Rose Bowl for a national collegiate championship. Twenty months after that he began a distinguished career in the National Football League.

Midway between San Jose and Oakland, the municipality of Fremont rises above the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, a city of 240,000 that's always existed in the shadow of its flashier neighbors. This is where Patrick Daniel Tillman was born on November 6, 1976. Not far from the hospital where Pat entered the world is a commercial district of pharmacies, chiropractic clinics, and fast-food restaurants bisected by a four-lane thoroughfare. Along three or four blocks of this otherwise unremarkable stretch of Fremont Boulevard, one finds a concentration of incongruously exotic establishments: the Salang Pass Restaurant, an Afghan carpet store, a South Asian cinema, a shop selling Afghan clothing, the De Afghanan Kabob House, the Maiwand Market. Inside the latter, the shelves are stocked with hummus, olives, pomegranate seeds, turmeric, bags of rice, and tins of grapeseed oil. A striking woman wearing a head scarf and an elaborately embroidered vest inlaid with dozens of tiny mirrors stands at a counter near the back of the store, waiting to buy slabs of freshly baked naan. Little Kabul, as this neighborhood is known, happens to be the nexus of what is purportedly the highest concentration of Afghans in the United States, a community made famous by the best-selling novel The Kite Runner.
By loose estimate, some ten thousand Afghans reside in Fremont proper, with another fifty thousand scattered across the rest of the Bay Area. They started showing up in 1978, when their homeland erupted into violence that has yet to abate three decades later. The chaos was sparked by accelerating friction between political groups within Afghanistan, but fuel for the conflagration was supplied in abundance and with great enthusiasm by the governments of the United States and the Soviet Union as each maneuvered to gain advantage in the Cold War.
The Soviets had been lavishing billions of rubles in military and economic aid on Afghanistan since the 1950s, and had cultivated close ties with the nation's leaders. Despite this injection of outside capital, by the 1970s Afghanistan remained a tribal society, essentially medieval in character. Ninety percent of its seventeen million residents were illiterate. Eighty-five percent of the population lived in the mountainous, largely roadless countryside, subsisting as farmers, herders, or nomadic traders. The overwhelming majority of these impoverished, uneducated country dwellers answered not to the central government in Kabul, with which they had little contact and from which they received almost no tangible assistance, but rather to local mullahs and tribal elders. Thanks to Moscow's creeping influence, however, a distinctly Marxist brand of modernization had begun to establish a toehold in a few of the nation's largest cities.
Afghanistan's cozy relationship with the Soviets originated under the leadership of Prime Minister Mohammed Daoud Khan, a Pashtun with fleshy jowls and a shaved head who was appointed in 1953 by his cousin and brother-in-law, King Mohammed Zahir Shah. Ten years later Daoud was forced to resign from the government after launching a brief but disastrous war against Pakistan. But in 1973 he reclaimed power by means of a nonviolent coup d'etat, deposing King Zahir and declaring himself the first president of the Republic of Afghanistan.
A fervent subculture of Marxist intellectuals, professionals, and students had by this time taken root in Kabul, intent on bringing their country into the twentieth century, kicking and screaming if need be, and President Daoud—who dressed in hand-tailored Italian suits—supported this shift toward secular modernity as long as it didn't threaten his hold on power. Under Daoud, females were given opportunities to be educated and join the professional workforce. In cities, women started appearing in public without burqas or even head scarves. Many urban men exchanged their traditional shalwar kameezes for Western business attire. These secular city dwellers swelled the ranks of a Marxist political organization known as the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, or PDPA.
The Soviets were Daoud's allies in the push to modernize Afghanistan, at least initially. Aid from Moscow continued to prop up the economy and the military, and under an agreement signed by Daoud, every officer in the Afghan Army went to the Soviet Union to receive military training. But he was walking a perilous political tight rope. While welcoming Soviet rubles, Daoud was an impassioned Afghan nationalist who had no desire to become a puppet of the Soviet president, Leonid Brezhnev. And although Daoud was committed to modernizing his nation, he wanted to move at a pace slow enough to avoid provoking the Islamist mullahs who controlled the hinterlands. In the end, alas, his policies placated few and managed to antagonize almost everyone else—most significantly the Soviets, the urban leftists, and the bearded fundamentalists in the countryside.
At the beginning of his presidency, Daoud had pledged to reform the government and promote civil liberties. Very soon after taking office, however, he started cracking down hard on anyone who resisted his edicts. Hundreds of rivals from all sides of the political divide were arrested and executed, ranging from antimodernist tribal elders in far-flung provinces to urban communists in the PDPA who had originally supported Daoud's rise to power.
For millennia in Afghanistan, political expression has all too often been synonymous with mayhem. On April 19, 1978, a funeral for a popular communist leader who was thought to have been murdered on Daoud's orders turned into a seething protest march. Organized by the PDPA, as many as thirty thousand Afghans took to the streets of Kabul to show their contempt for President Daoud. In typical fashion, Daoud reacted to the demonstration with excessive force, which only further incited the protesters. Sensing a momentous shift in the political tide, most units in the Afghan Army broke with Daoud and allied themselves with the PDPA. On April 27, 1978, MiG-21 jets from the Afghan Air Force strafed the Presidential Palace, where Daoud was ensconced with eighteen hundred members of his personal guard. That night, opposition forces overran the palace amid a rain of bullets. When the sun came up and the gunfire petered out, Daoud and his entire family were dead, and the surrounding streets were strewn with the bodies of two thousand Afghans.
The communist PDPA immediately assumed power and renamed the nation the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Backed by the Soviet Union, the new government moved ruthlessly to establish control across the country. During the PDPA's first twenty months at the helm, twenty-seven thousand political dissidents were rounded up, transported to the infamous Pul-e-Charkhi prison on the outskirts of Kabul, and summarily executed.
By this point the violence had instigated a wholesale exodus of Afghans to foreign lands. Because those targeted for elimination by the PDPA tended to be influential mullahs or members of the intellectual and professional classes, many of the refugees who sought sanctuary came from the elite ranks of Afghan society. Two years after Pat Tillman's birth in Fremont, California, Afghans began flocking to the city where he was delivered.

Back in Afghanistan, the brutality of the PDPA inspired a grassroots insurrection that rapidly escalated into full-blown civil war. At the forefront of the rebellion were Muslim holy warriors, the Afghan mujahideen, who fought the communist infidels with such ferocious intensity that in December 1979 the Soviets dispatched 100,000 troops to Afghanistan to quell the rebellion, prop up the PDPA, and protect their Cold War interests in the region.
Nations throughout the world sternly criticized the Soviets for the incursion. The strongest rebuke came from the United States. Expressing shock and outrage over the invasion, President Jimmy Carter called it "the most serious threat to peace since the Second World War," and initiated first a trade embargo and then a boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
But Carter's righteous indignation was more than slightly disingenuous. Although the U.S. government claimed otherwise in official statements, the CIA had begun purchasing weapons for the mujahideen at least six months before the Soviet invasion, and this clandestine support was intended not to deter Moscow but to provoke it. According to Carter's national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the purpose of arming the Afghans was to stimulate enough turmoil in Afghanistan "to induce a Soviet military intervention." Brzezinski, the most fervent cold warrior in the Carter administration, boasted in a 1998 interview that the intent of providing arms to the mujahideen was specifically to draw "the Soviets into the Afghan trap" and ensnare them in a debilitating Vietnam-like debacle.
If that was the plan, it worked. Almost immediately upon occupying the country, the legendary Soviet Fortieth Army found itself neck deep in an unexpectedly vicious guerrilla war that would keep its forces entangled in Afghanistan for the next nine years.
Before the Soviet invasion, Afghanistan was riven by so many intransigent political and tribal factions that the nation had been for all intents and purposes ungovernable. In reflexive opposition to the Soviet occupation, virtually the entire country spontaneously united—a degree of cohesion no modern Afghan leader had ever come close to achieving.
This newly unified opposition was characterized by extraordinary violence. The mujahideen seldom took prisoners in their skirmishes with the invaders. They made a habit of mutilating the bodies of the Soviets they killed in creatively gruesome ways in order to instill terror in those sent to recover the bodies. When the mujahideen did take prisoners, according to Soviet survivors, the infidel soldiers were often gang-raped and tortured.
The Afghans quickly figured out that fighting the Soviets by conventional means was a recipe for certain defeat. Instead of confronting Soviet forces directly with large numbers of fighters, the mujahideen adopted the classic stratagems of insurgent warfare, employing small bands of ten or fifteen men to ambush the enemy and then vanish back into the landscape before the Soviets could launch counterattacks. Soviet soldiers began to refer to the mujahideen as dukhi, Russian for "ghosts." The Afghans took brilliant advantage of the mountainous terrain to stage devastating ambushes from the high ground as Soviet convoys moved through the confines of the valley bottoms. The Soviet cause wasn't helped by a policy designated as "Limited Contingent": Moscow decided to cap the number of Fortieth Army troops in Afghanistan at 115,000, despite the fact that before the invasion Soviet generals had warned that as many as 650,000 soldiers would be needed to secure the country.*
The pitiless style of guerrilla combat waged by the Afghans had an unnerving effect on the Soviets sent to fight them. Morale plummeted, especially as the conflict dragged on year after year. Because opium and hashish were readily available everywhere, drug addiction among the Soviet conscripts was rife. Their numbers were further ravaged by malaria, dysentery, hepatitis, tetanus, and meningitis. Although there were never more than 120,000 Soviet troops in Afghanistan at any given time, a total of 642,000 soldiers served there throughout the course of the war—470,000 of whom were debilitated by disease, addicted to heroin, wounded in battle, or killed.
The tenacity and brutality of the mujahideen prompted the Soviets to adopt ruthless tactics of their own. As they came to realize that it was much easier to kill unarmed civilians than to hunt down the fearsome and elusive mujahideen, the Soviets increasingly focused their attacks on the rural tribespeople who sometimes harbored combatants but didn't shoot back, rather than assaulting the mujahideen directly. Jet aircraft bombed whole valleys with napalm, laying waste to farmland, orchards, and settlements. Helicopter gunships not only targeted villagers but massacred their herds of livestock as well. These calculated acts of genocide went virtually unnoticed outside of Afghanistan.
The shift toward scorched-earth tactics intensified after Konstantin Chernenko became the Soviet general secretary in February 1984 and initiated a campaign of high-altitude carpet bombing. Taking off from bases within the Soviet Union and flying as high as forty thousand feet, safely beyond the range of mujahideen antiaircraft weapons, squadrons of swept-wing, twin-engine Tu-16 Badgers annihilated entire towns.

Reading Group Guide

The introduction, discussion questions, and suggested further reading that follow are designed to enhance your group’s discussion of Where Men Win Glory, the new book by Jon Krakauer, bestselling author of Into Thin Air and Under the Banner of Heaven.

1. What aspects of Jon Krakauer’s narrative style make his telling of Pat Tillman’s story especially powerful?

2. After Tillman died, a copy of Jon Krakauer’s Eiger Dreams, a book about eccentric mountain climbers, was found in his backpack. He had also read and admired Into the Wild and Under the Banner of Heaven. Why would Tillman be drawn to Krakauer’s writing? Why would Krakauer be drawn to write about Pat Tillman?

3. What made Tillman such an unusual football player, both on and off the field? What stereotypes did he defy and transcend?

4. What are Pat Tillman’s most admirable qualities?

5. In what ways did Tillman’s time in jail change him?

6. What role did Tillman’s idealism and personal code of ethics play in his death? Is Krakauer right in suggesting that it was Tillman’s “stubborn idealism—his insistence on trying to do the right thing” [p. 406344] that brought him down?

7. Krakauer writes that “The juxtaposition of Pat’s vulnerability with his fearlessness and self-assurance is not an easy thing to wrap one’s mind around, but it was an absolutely central aspect of his personality” [p. 7363]. What instances in Tillman’s life reveal this unlikely combination of character traits? How is it possible to wrap one’s mind around it? Why are these traits so rarely joined in a single person in American culture?

8. Imagine the conversation that Tillman and Noam Chompsky would have had if their meeting had taken place. What might they have talked about? How might they have regarded each other?

9. What made Pat and Marie’s relationship so special? In what ways does the depth of their bond make Tillman’s death even more heartbreaking?

10. Krakauer begins Part Two of Where Men Win Glory with an epigraph by Chris Hedges: “War is always about betrayal, betrayal of the young by the old, of idealists by cynics and of troops by politicians” [p. 153133]. In what ways and by whom, specifically, was Pat Tillman betrayed?

11. Discuss the events that led to Tillman’s death by friendly fire 248-281and assess for yourselves who should have been held responsible for Tillman’s death and what the appropriate punishment should have been. What Aarmy protocols were broken in the lead- up to, and during, the firefight? What protocols and regulations were broken in the immediate aftermath of Tillman’s death?

12. As revealed in Where Men Win Glory what crucial mistakes has the United States made in its decades-long involvement in Afghanistan? What have been the consequences of these mistakes?

13. While stationed in Iraq, Tillman wrote in his journal: “My hope is that decisions are being made with the same good faith that Kevin and I aim to display.... I hope [this war is about] more than oil, money, & power.... I doubt that it is” [p. 196169]. What experiences are most responsible for changing Tillman from a patriotic and somewhat naive idealist to a sober-eyed realist?

14. When Tillman was killed, Krakauer writes, “White House perception managers saw an opportunity not unlike the one provided by the Jessica Lynch debacle thirteen months earlier” [p. 349295]. How did the “perception managers” in the Bush administration respond to Tillman’s death? How did they use it to their advantage? What are the similarities between their handling of Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman?

15. Discuss the ironies that emerge from the fact that Pat Tillman’s personal code of courage, honor, honesty, and integrity was used so cynically and deceitfully by the Bush administration to further its own agenda.

16. How did Tillman’s family react to Pat’s death and to the White House cover-up of how he died? What positive results have come from the Tillman family’s response to Pat’s death?

(For a complete list of available reading group guides, and to sign up for the Reading Group Center enewsletter, visit www.readinggroupcenter.com)

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Where Men Win Glory 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 485 reviews.
ReconSoldier More than 1 year ago
While in Afghanistan, Jon Krakauer spent abut 48 hours on a small Surveillance mission with myself and my recon team. He could walk up any mountain we did, (and faster) he was a great story teller and though i didn't know the great gift it was at the time, he told us stories about the places he'd been and the things he'd done in his past and that was a great gift. Who knows an Author? Who knows an Author who is willing to tell stories to a group of starving soldiers and not expect anything in return? Jon Krakauer did that for us, and lifted our spirits. He only briefly spoke about what he was in Afghanistan for but asked that we remain quiet about it, so for the past few years All of us have so w wouldnt compromise his work. Thanks Jon for a New Story.
Leigh30 More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book earlier this morning and I came away from it very upset, emotional. I had only heard of Pat Tillman a few times: when he left the NFL to join the Army and then when he was KIA by friendly fire. I remember thinking how admirable that was for a person to leave a really good job, the NFL, and join the Army to make a difference. I couldn't help but compare Tillman to Brad Pitt's character in the film "Legends of the Fall" because they were both men who were never at peace with themselves. It seemed as though Tillman was constantly doing something to try and "quiet the bear inside of him". I quickly became impressed and in awe of him after reading his journal entries - all I can say is, what a guy. I thought Krakauer did an amazing job laying the story out the way that he did. I didn't know much about how the Taliban or al-Quaeda was created or by whom but Krakauer's in-depth history lesson about it was excellent. I feel like I came away from the book armed with a lot of knowledge that I didn't have before. I'm still in disbelief about the way that the American government treated the death of Tillman, the cover-up. It was pathetic. I had no idea any of this took place until reading it in this book and I have to say that I'm very angry at the government. I'd love to be able to say "I can't believe our government would do such a thing" but I know better. I'm so glad that I read this book and got to know a little bit about Pat Tillman because I think he was an amazing man who tried to live his life to the fullest and always do the right thing. Thank you John Krakauer for bringing his story to all of us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Call me a sucker, I took the bait! Without any discredit to Krakauer's penmanship and regardless of the reader's political stance, this book is an obvious political attack and all-out assault on the United States military under the guise of a tribute to a fallen hero (the latter of which I thought I was really reading about). There is no doubt that Pat Tillman is an extraordinary person and should be remembered with honor and respect. But this book is rife with politics and a slap in the face to the American military. Krakauer should have simply stated that 9/11 and all war casualties are the result of mishandled situations by the United States leadership and its military. How do discussions on the Florida presidential election recount, alleged CIA intelligence mishandling, and other politically-charged narratives pay tribute to a fallen hero? Furthermore, while Krakauer alledges that the Government's war propaganda machine was fueled by embellished battle stories, he uses Pat Tillman's good character and good intentions to deliver his own anti-war, anti-political party propaganda. Hypocritical as hell, but sure, it's a great read... If you intend to pay tribute to a great man, do so, but leave your political and military assault for another book. Don't whore out a fallen soldier's good name to push your own ideas.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer is a decent book. I understand Pat's frustration on the fact that all he really wanted was to be n the fight, but was left out many times. Despite all of his opinions, he had a real appreciation for life, his family, and all the others that he allowed in his life. This book is about Pat Tillman. Pat was in the NFL, but after 9-11, Pat made probably the biggest choice of his life. He left the NFL to join the army. He was apart of an elite group known as the Rangers. He was tragically shot and killed by another comrade. If you heard about this within the following month or so of his death, you would have heard differently. This book is about the cover-up story delivered by the United States Army and the Bush Administration. I believe Jon Krakauer wrote this book to get the truth out. I understand why Krakauer wrote this book, but I think there could have been many changes. It seemed, at times, like a "Bush Bashing." I felt like he, at some points, was blaming the Bush Administration for not only the cover-up, but Pat's death also. I think this would have been better had it been about 100 pages shorter. It does into detail about too many things that don't matter, for example when Tillman gets drunk with his friends in Paris. It doesn't get to the story about his death and the cover-up till about 2/3 into the book. Other than that it is a rather good book.
OzF16 More than 1 year ago
Nearly all of the negative reviews of this book criticize the political agenda and describe it as an attack on the Bush administration and the war in Iraq in general. In the Appendix of Jon Krakauer's book, Under The Banner Of Heaven, he responds to charges from LDS leadership accusing him of assaulting their religion. He begins the defense of his work with the statement, "But illuminating unpleasant historical truths is not the same as bigotry." I think this statement also applies to Krakauer's work here in Where Men Win Glory. The ugly truths that he reports in this book inevitably lead to the judgments delivered, which some might call a "political agenda." If you simply want to know about Pat Tillman, you can probably find what you're looking for by Googling him. A much richer story involves putting his odyssey into context, which Krakauer does quite well. The context of Tillman's own thoughts and feelings is gathered from his journals and interviews with his friends, family, and fellow soldiers. Tillman's sense of duty in spite of his disillusionment with the war and his successful personal and professional life that he left behind is what truly makes him a hero. But the fact that his sacrifice takes place among the backdrop of a repeated pattern of government and military deception to the public is what really makes this story compelling. In addition to the Tillman fiasco, Krakauer describes several other examples, including the drumbeat of misinformation leading up to the war in Iraq and the Jessica Lynch half-truths. I would not call this a political agenda. They are historical facts that provide the weaving in the tapestry of Krakauer's version of Tillman's odyssey, making it a compelling read and a bitter lesson in history as well.
Skum More than 1 year ago
Starting his career as an adventure writer, Krakauer's last two books have been investigative work. His last great book, Under the Banner of Heaven, he reports on the fringes of the Mormon Church. In this book, Where Men Win Glory, we get a biography of Pat Tillman and a look into our own military. As a football fan, I found the story of Tillman and how he became a NFL player interesting. Pat's personal life was inspiring. An honest look into our military and the amount of friendly fire and cover up of such fire is eye opening. In all of Krakauer's books you are entertained and informed. These subjects may not be political correct, which makes it all that more important that they be written about.
nausetsunriseKR More than 1 year ago
When I first heard the news that Pat Tillman joined the Army, I was disgusted. "Who cares?" I thought. It seemed some publicity stunt on behalf of some gung ho football guy. When I heard the news of his death, I was equally unimpressed. All I could think about were the soldiers from my state who barely get mention on the news who died, and in some cases, suffered a fate worse than death. When I saw this book on the shelf at the local book store, I was intrigued. I knew there had to be more to the story if Krakauer took it up as a subject. Krakauer is a phenomenal writer who tells so much more than just the topic of the story at hand. The background information he provides is an education in itself. Pat Tillman is a man of amazing character, the likes of which we do not often see. Aside from a portrait of Tillman, we get treated to important information about the military operation in Afghanistan and the history of our presence ("war" time or not) in that country. We are given an idea of the cover ups put forth by the U.S. government to soldiers families when they are killed by "friendly" fire, and so much more. My husband and I have decided to give this important book to everyone on our gift list for the holidays. This is an important book and people need to read it. I promise you, you will not be disappointed by this book. In fact, you will be thankful you read it.
fightthefight More than 1 year ago
I enjoy Jon Krakauer's writing and prose I will read all that he writes regardless of his politics which as many have noted he does not try to disguise. I believe bringing in current events that are happening were necessary to set the stage so to speak. For those of you who think he is harsh on the Army-he's not. Many times the higher echelon will make ignorant bonehead decisions that end up in tradegy. It is heroic men like Tillman and the rest of his platoon to include the platoon leader that skillfully modify and apply the rules that make the Army the most professional in the world. Speaking from 24 years of experience. Every parent should have thier teenage son's read this book. The book is an excellent thought provoking read start to finish.
ImcoolLikethat More than 1 year ago
This is a well constructed story of man, virtue, history, philosophy, politics and culture. It is very thought provoking as well. Having it on audio was a great experience. I listened to it in the car and found myself looking forward to long car rides. I definitely recommend it.
loaderGA More than 1 year ago
I got this book to learn more about Pat Tillman and his noble service and tragic death by friendly fire. I really tried to ignore the political theme of blaming nearly everything on President George W Bush, but eventually it got to be too much. The author felt compelled to give a completely one-sided account of the 2000 election and Florida recount, and went downhill from there. I suppose the point is that a President Al Gore would have either prevented 9/11 or handled the aftermath in a more effective way. Sure! The first third of the book, that concentrated on Tillman's youth and football career, was quite good. If Mr. Krakauer could have only continued in a a non-political direction, it would have been a very good book indeed. As it is, only a member of what I would call the far left will get anything from it. For example, Mr. Krakauer spends a lot of time on a tragic friendly fire incident in the early Iraq invasion that resulted in 17 USMC deaths. Pat Tillman had nothing to do with this incident, except a superficial connection. Somehow, this friendly fire incident was typical of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld war of lies and deceit. I wonder if the author is aware of such far worse friendly fire incidents as the UN Navy firing on aircraft carrying American paratroopers in the invasion of Sicily in 1943. Was this typical of the Roosevelt war of lies and deceit? I doubt it. I can only recommend this book to those who join the author in "Bush Derangement Syndrome."
Sweeney More than 1 year ago
Relatively little is included about Tillman's time in Afghanistan. Instead there was a huge amount on Afghanistan history, which came off as filler. The author couldn't resist a number of snide remarks about President Bush. If that is his view and Tillman's than so be it. However, I know it is not the view of most soldiers in Afghanistan. Those remarks came off as cheap and unnecessary.
bossbaggs More than 1 year ago
Krakauer does his usual thorough research and offers his trademark lucid writing in this appreciative biography of Pat Tillman. Krakauer emphasizes that Pat was both an everyday and an extraordinary person. He goes over the incident in which Pat was killed with precision. But he lavishes the same attention on Pat's childhood and youth. Tillman is not an object of anti-government caricature for Krakauer. One is left with sorrow for all the victims of wartime fratricide, and the friendly-fire toll in all wars is tragically high. And one is inspired by Pat's superlative adherence to his own code of moral conduct, his resiliency, and his love of family. You might chose to avoid the epilogue, in which Krakauer laments the lack of testosterone driven virility in men of reason.
Bellnorth More than 1 year ago
I hadn't really paid much attention to the Pat Tillman story and was interested when I saw Mr. Krakauer had written about him. Sadly, Mr. K spends a good deal of time ripping the Bush administration; whether I agree with him or not; that isn't what I purchased the book to hear. I understand that the actions of the administration underlie the Pat Tillman story; but then rename the book so I know what I am purchasing. I still would recommend the read; albeit there is a sort of emptiness in listening to the angst of Pat Tillman, both before and after 9/11/01.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, it took the death of a true patriot for a book like this to come about. It tells a sad story, about a great individual who paid the ultimate sacrifice. You can't help but feel for his family. Not only because of the untimely death, but because of the way the truth was hidden from them for so long.
Whitepe More than 1 year ago
An ultimately depressing read: major military muck-up followed by denial and cover-up--a total disregard for who Tillman was. Krakauer's writing feels tired and desultory as he recounts Tillman's football career (while Tillman was a great man, the background stuff goes beyond mere tedium), but as Krakauer's moral outrage climbs his prose begins to come to life. This book would be much sharper (and more interesting) if the first half were condensed to 20% of its length. Finished, I pace the house, feeling somehow hollowed out with a haunting sense of loss . . . for Tillman, for truth, for honor and glory. One has to agree with Krakauer's concluding remarks and they induce a sense of despair unalleviated by any "change" in the political winds . . . .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book appears to be well researched and written.  The reader is provided by the author with in-depth insight into the exceptional individual that Patrick Tillman was..  For this we should be thankful.  However outside of the intense portrait of Tillman that the author paints the remainder of the book can be divided into two parts.  First , a story that has already been told.  That the government and the military provided a false representation of the fact that Patrick Tillman died from friendly fire is not news.  That the government used his heroism and patriotism to promote their own agenda is also not news.  Clearly Krakauer did not write a book to provide us with information that was already public knowledge.  What he proceeds to do next is to use Patrick Tillman just like the government and the military did.  In this case he uses the story of Patrick Tillman as a political tool to espouse his views on politics and to bash the Bush administration as well as the military.  The author is guilty  of using Patrick Tillman's tragic story in the same shameful manner as the government and military he is so thoroughly critical of.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waste of time and money Tillman deserves far more than this scree against the war and the military
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would take a pass on this book
EvanLee More than 1 year ago
The inspiring life of Patrick Tillman has been, and always will be, a story that portrays the values of honor, spirit, honesty, and courage. Today he is recognized for his willingness to leave a multi-million dollar contract for playing in the National Football League, to go serve our Nation and fight in the war against terrorism from the Taliban. The story behind the man is where you will find his efforts to find glory and freedom of self, and his overall joy for life itself. As a child growing up in Almaden, California, with his two brothers, Pat was rambunctious, adventurous, loved to talk, and very athletic. Pat played sports from soccer to football to extreme cliff diving. He was always trying to challenge himself physically and mentally to see who he was as a person. Although small for his age, Pat kept pursuing what he wanted to do and what he loved to do. He became one of the most wanted high school student/athletes by colleges all across the Nation by proving himself on and off the football field. The college that appealed most to Pat was that of Arizona State University home of the Sun Devils. Through Pats college years he exceled in his academics maintaining a 3.8 grade point average and also preformed outstandingly on the football field. Later on, Pat got married to his high school sweetheart Marie Ugenti. They had remained loyal to each other throughout the rest of Pat¿s life. After Pats college football career with the Sun Devils, Pat was drafted in 1999 to play professional football for the Arizona Cardinals making his life pursuit come true. Being one of the best defensive safety¿s in the National Football League, Pat was very different from the rest of the players. Pat was more ¿down to earth¿ according to his teammates. Instead of driving around in Cadillac¿s and Mercedes, Pat would come to football practice on his bike with his California look that included his long hair and flip flops, and his gear and pads in a bag on his back. In 2001, Pat woke up on September 11 surprised and angered at the terrorist attacks on the United States. Shortly after the 2001 football season ended, Pat made the decision to leave the NFL and serve in the United States Military to fight in the war against terrorism. After this decision Pat and his brother younger brother Kevin started boot camp in the Army. After intense training, Pat and his brother became Army Rangers making a commitment to fight for their country. They were sent to Afghanistan to start their next journey. This is a fantastic story all must read.
Celthiker More than 1 year ago
Having read other Krakauer books, I expected more from him. Very politically motivated. He comes across as very anti-military, and anti-Bush. Prior to reading this drivel, I had been really impressed with Pat Tillman and what he did, but unfortunately have lost a lot of respect for him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Tillman's are used, like their son/brother/husband Pat by the author to put forth the author's agenda. The author's agenda is an anti-Bush rant that is woven through the telling of the story of a man and a family that deserve so much better than what the author gives. Having said that, the Tillman's are a special family and their courageous search for the truth is a great story. Just get by the author's efforts to use them for his own self-aggrandizement.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Krakauer has never disappointed, however i did find this book particularly a one-way street regarding politics.
texasstorm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My least favorite Krakauer book. I was excited to read it, having loved Into Thin Air and Under the Banner of Heaven. Into the Wild a little less so. This is one of the most depressing stories ever; makes you despair for the country. I suppose it's important to know this story, but don't keep a loaded gun nearby; it may be hazardous to your own health.
dougcornelius on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I sat down to watch The Tillman Story after Netflix gave it high marks as a recommendation. It was a blistering story about the cover-up of Pat Tillman's death by friendly fire in Afghanistan."In war, truth is the first casualty." - AeschylusI wanted to learn some more and remembered that Jon Krakauer had written Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman. Tillman was the starting free safety for the Arizona Cardinals when he decided to enlist in the army. Although he didn't want the attention, he was transformed into an icon of 9-11 patriotism. A legend, foregoing millions to serve his country. Neither the movie nor this book squarely address why Tillman decided to enlist. It seems clear that it was very personal decision, only truly know by Mr. Tillman and his wife.What the movie failed to portray was Tillmana person. That was the focus of the book. What I didn't realize was the intellectual prowess of Tillman. He is portrayed not as a meathead jock who wants to shoot things. He comes across as thoughtful and introspective.Besides the portrayal of Tillman as a person, Krakauer spends large chunks of the book setting the background on other key players. There is great background on history of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan going back to the Soviet invasion. Many of the weapons used against US soldiers likely came from U.S. funding of the Mujahideen during their battle against the Soviets. Then there is the rise of Osama bin Laden and his desire to draw the Unites States into Afghanistan. There were plenty of missed opportunities during the Clinton administration to counter the rise of bin Laden. Perhaps he was distracted by the Lewinsky scandal?With the bloodshed in Iraq and Afghanistan, along came propaganda to support the war effort. The prelude to the Tillman incident was the Jessica Lynch incident. She was initially portrayed as a hero, firing her weapon until she ran out of ammunition, fighting to death and taking multiple gunshot wounds and stab wounds. Later, a Special Operations force swept in and rescued her from torture and abuse by her captors.Unfortunately, the truth is that she sustained her wounds when her Humvee crashed into another truck in her convoy. She never fired a single shot because her gun jammed. During her stay in Saddam Hussein General Hospital she was treated as any other patient. The doctors were the ones who told US forces that Lynch was in the hospital. When the huge Special Operations force arrived at the hospital, they met no significant resistance.Tillman played a very minor role in the Lynch "rescue." But the propaganda success of the Lynch incident played a big role in what happened after Tillman was killed by friendly fire thirteen months later.Tillman's enlistment generated good headlines for the war effort. The military leaders and the White House assumed that painting his death as the saga of a fallen hero would create a media frenzy. Tillman was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and promoted to corporal for his bravery in the combat that took his life.A commanding officer assured Tillman's brother that whoever was responsible would pay dearly. "This would turn out to be the first in a long string of broken promises and self-serving lies proffered to the Tillman family by commissioned officers of the U.S. Army."Having read Into Thin Air and Into the Wild, I expected some solid writing. Krakauer has proven he can craft a true story into a page-turner of a book, bringing depth to the participants and providing insights to their motivation. He delivers again.Where Men Win Glory is worth your reading time.
foof2you on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A powerful book about Pat Tillman and how his death was one of many lies that the Army manufactured about what was going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. This book challenges many beliefs that I held about the military, our leaders and the fog of war. I have many mixed emotions while reading this book. This is a must read for any parent who has a child about to enlist into any of the Armed Services