Irving, a former Army Ranger, and Brozek, who has cowritten many books, add to the sniper memoir genre a breathless, tension-filled account of the day-to-day combat experiences of a sniper in Afghanistan. A child of a military family, Irving knew he wanted to be a Navy SEAL from a young age and was on his way to reaching that goal when a routine test revealed that he is color blind. A sympathetic Army nurse helped him fudge a vision test, so he became a Ranger instead, honing a natural affinity for sharpshooting. Brozek gives Irving’s story shape, heart, and context as he helps convey Irving’s mixed emotions about his role in combat. But the real craft is in the book’s the artful depictions of battle. Readers are brought into the heat of the fight with white-knuckle anxiety, as troops edge their way toward IED-laden targets, chaotic firefights, and suicide bombers. The story culminates with the takedown of a massive arms depot while Irving was battling a wrenching gastrointestinal infection. It’s tough stuff, but Irving is a humble and humane narrator. What could have come across as a shallow exercise in chest-thumping is much more. Hawks and doves alike would do well to spend time with Irving to learn what it’s like to be a soldier in today’s military. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/2014 Release date: 01/27/2015 Genre: Nonfiction
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