This book honors Pat Tillman, the pro football player who walked away from the NFL at the peak of his career to join the U.S. Army. As did many men and women in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks, Tillman signed up to sacrifice something for his country. He and his brother Kevin graduated boot camp, went on to excel in the Army's Airborne and Ranger schools, and were sent overseas to whoop some ass. Tillman was killed by friendly fire.
But Pat Tillman is not the poster boy that U.S. government propagandists had hoped for.
Largely built from Tillman's personal journals Krakauer puts together a story that is deeply moving as well as deeply disturbing. This account of Tillman's life and totally unnecessary death is one part biography of a young man attracted to extreme mental and physical challenges (in the same way other individuals who have captured Krakauer's imagination), and one part scathing indictment of the entire Army chain of command all the way to Donald Rumsfeld.
I really enjoy Krakauer's writing. His fascination with a very special type of human shines through yet again in the book. And if you have been reading his other books over time, you might see that his ongoing mediation on those who seek life to the nth degree is tapping a wisdom that so many of us only know intuitively. Keep seeking, Krakauer, and keep reporting in with these great books!