American Sniper: The Memorial Edition
The memorial edition of American Sniper by Chris Kyle has just been published. The original was released in January 2012 to widespread success and made an impact on many Americans' lives.
Numerous books about and by military figures have been published, but this book was in a class of its own. The hardback has been on the bestseller list for fifty consecutive weeks, the paperback for twenty-nine weeks, and it has been translated into about twenty languages.
This edition still has the moving first-person account of Chris's extraordinary battlefield experiences when he became the top American military sniper of all time. It still has the powerful statements where he questioned and probed the rules of engagement as he recalled his years in Iraq. The reader in this latest edition will enjoy or re-enjoy the book's facts, insight, and lack of political correctness. What the Memorial Edition does have that the original American Sniper did not is the more than eighty pages of remembrances by those close to Chris, including his wife, brother, mother and father, and children; fellow veterans; fellow warriors; and lifelong friends. In this portion of the book, readers will see Chris's life after retiring from military service and the person he became.
Part of American Sniper's success was its gripping description of what a warrior must endure both in and out of combat, as well as presenting the spouse's side by giving Taya, Chris's wife, a voice. Chris never cared about political correctness, previously noting to American Thinker, "I don't worry about what other people think of me. My only regret is not being able to save more American lives. When I try to take someone out, it's because they are attempting to take the life of one of our soldiers. If I take out that evil, that means one of our American troops are safer for another day."
His younger brother Jeff, a former recon Marine who now is the co-owner of a weapons training company (www.tetatx.us.com), believes that the book also resonated with those in the military, past and present. He relayed the recent story of two veterans who came up to him and told how Chris had helped them emotionally by giving a pep talk regarding his perspective on life. "I think the book was a bestseller because it shed light on what our soldiers had to go through on a daily basis. All of us in the military were grateful for what he wrote. He was not afraid to explain how the lives of his fellow soldiers were affected. Chris did not try to kill people, but tried to protect people -- a guardian angel, as he referred to himself. He pulled the trigger for the right reasons -- to bring everyone home alive."
Chris's co-author, Jim DeFelice, thinks that Chris's persona contributed to the book having such a drastic impact. The general public described Chris as charismatic, a mentor, someone who sticks up for the average guy, loyal, a bada**, a friend, and a regular good ol' country boy. In the Memorial Edition, one of his good friends pinned the nickname "the John Wayne of the 21st century" on him.
DeFelice told American Thinker that at book signings Chris would get many hundreds of people, "while most authors would consider a hundred as very good. American Sniper was insanely successful because Chris was an accessible hero and was not a phony. How he wrote the book is how he acted. I also think this was one of the first books that included a spouse's side. This biography was more than a warrior's story; it was also a relationship story. Think of it: he openly talks about how he gave up a job he truly loved, and was great at, for his family. I wonder how many of us would make that choice."
Taya agrees and describes her late husband as a cowboy, a military warrior, a good father, and a soul-mate husband. She says that Chris included her voice because he wanted to raise awareness about the military family -- and issue a warning to those who want to enlist that they must sacrifice. The book also discusses how he considered the SEALs his immediate family and his wife and children his extended family. As he told American Thinker, "I knew my guys a whole lot better than I knew my wife. I spent a whole lot more time with them, knowing their every action, move, and thoughts. I could not say that about my wife." Through Taya's story, readers were able to see the other side of Chris. Those who want to continue to learn about how the family will carry on Chris's torch can go to www.chriskylefrog.com.
American Sniper was widely successful because it impacted people. It tells the story of how a warrior-hero endured combat while at the same time showing his family's struggles. The Memorial Edition enhances the original in that readers will be able to understand the impression Chris made on those he touched personally. As his brother noted, "we all miss him each and every day, because he was one helluva guy."
The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.