Like the men whose epic stories Jon Krakauer has told in his previous bestsellers, Pat Tillman was an irrepressible individualist and iconoclast. Read more...
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 contract to enlist in the United States Army. He was deeply troubled by 9/11, and he felt a strong moral obligation to join the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Two years later, he died on a desolate hillside in southeastern Afghanistan.
Though obvious to most of the two dozen soldiers on the scene that a ranger in Tillman's own platoon had fired the fatal shots, the Army aggressively maneuvered to keep this information from Tillman's wife, other family members, and the American public for five weeks following his death. During this time, President Bush repeatedly invoked Tillman's name to promote his administration's foreign policy. Long after Tillman's nationally televised memorial service, the Army grudgingly notified his closest relatives that he had -probably- been killed by friendly fire while it continued to dissemble about the details of his death and who was responsible.
In Where Men Win Glory, Jon Krakauer draws on Tillman's journals and letters, interviews with his wife and friends, conversations with the soldiers who served alongside him, and extensive research on the ground in Afghanistan to render an intricate mosaic of this driven, complex, and uncommonly compelling figure as well as the definitive account of the events and actions that led to his death. Before he enlisted in the army, Tillman was familiar to sports aficionados as an undersized, overachieving Arizona Cardinals safety whose virtuosity in the defensive backfield was spellbinding. With his shoulder-length hair, outspoken views, and boundless intellectual curiosity, Tillman was considered a maverick. America was fascinated when he traded the bright lights and riches of the NFL for boot camp and a buzz cut. Sent first to Iraq--a war he would openly declare was -illegal as hell- --and eventually to Afghanistan, Tillman was driven by complicated, emotionally charged, sometimes contradictory notions of duty, honor, justice, patriotism, and masculine pride, and he was determined to serve his entire three-year commitment. But on April 22, 2004, his life would end in a barrage of bullets fired by his fellow soldiers.
Krakauer chronicles Tillman's riveting, tragic odyssey in engrossing detail highlighting his remarkable character and personality while closely examining the murky, heartbreaking circumstances of his death. Infused with the power and authenticity readers have come to expect from Krakauer's storytelling, Where Men Win Glory exposes shattering truths about men and war.
From the Hardcover edition.
Pat Tillman's sad story
It would be hard to find a newspaper-reading/TV-watching American who didn’t know that Pat Tillman walked away from a promising, highly paid career in the NFL to join the Army in 2002 and that, as an elite Army Ranger, he was killed in Afghanistan in April 2004. The details of his death—that he was killed by “friendly fire” and that the Army and the Bush administration went to great lengths to cover it up, using Tillman as a poster boy and keeping the truth from his family—came out only after years of his mother’s tireless crusade. Soberly narrated by Scott Brick, Jon Krakauer’s Where Men Win Glory sets the story in the complex context of our post-9/11 entry into two wars and offers a compelling portrait of Tillman, fleshed out by interviews with his family, the wife he so adored, his friends and his comrades, as well as his diaries. The young man who emerges is a strong-willed, natural leader: curious, constantly reading, a true patriot who lived by his own set of rules. In his almost minute-by-minute description of Tillman’s sad, pointless death, Krakauer makes the “fog of war” intensely real, intensely affecting. An American tragedy, eloquently told.
If doctors could prescribe laugh therapy, David Sedaris “pills” might prove more popular than Lipitor or an unmentionable beginning with V. In lieu of Sedaris-in-tablet-form and much more fun, we have the real thing, a new, audio-only, previously unreleased recording of the divine David reading his own laugh-out-loud essays. I’d heard some of Live for Your Listening Pleasure on NPR, but that only made it better, like finding a treasured possession that’s been misplaced. Sedaris can tease out the humor in almost any situation and make it more amusing with his unique timing and delivery. And here he lets his fabulous talent for mimicry shine. I recommend keeping a Sedaris CD close at hand for those all-too-common bleak moments when you need a pick-me-up guaranteed to make you smile and see the funnier side of life.
A call to action
In An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore put global warming in the global spotlight. In the next phase, Gore held a series of “Solution Summits” with cutting-edge scientists, policy makers and others to find real solutions to this staggering problem. Those potential solutions are gathered in Our Choice, his new clarion call to all of us, everywhere, to heed the warning and find the moral courage to do what needs to be done.
Audio of the month
Hilary Mantel, author of this year’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel, Wolf Hall, conjures up Henry VIII and his vast embattled court—including Anne Boleyn and, most especially, Thomas Cromwell—so brilliantly, so effectively that, had she been living then, she would probably have been accused of witchcraft. Her ability to get inside the characters in this extraordinary, wonderfully paced saga, to capture their essences, their language, their thoughts and cadences is amazing. And Simon Slater’s reading is equal to Mantel’s masterpiece, his voice shifting to match each speaker, with touches of rough British dialect, German and French accents expertly handled. Cromwell, a man who can “draft a contract, train a falcon, draw a map, stop a street fight, furnish a house and fix a jury,” stars in this pageant of the upheaval caused by Henry’s unrelenting desire to divorce Katherine of Aragon to marry Anne and his unyielding need for a male heir. In tracing Cromwell’s rise from a lowly blacksmith’s son to Henry’s most powerful and trusted aide, Mantel has set a new standard for historical fiction.