Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Book #44: The Autobiography of ......

Before I write another word I have another confession. 

I've read book #45 and part of book #46 before settling myself down to write this chapter. Book #45 was delicious (and, for now, a secret) and book #46 is so good I find myself taking notes.   

Book #44, No Easy Day: The Autobiography of a Navy Seal, THE FIRSTHAND ACCOUNT OF THE MISSION THAT KILLED OSAMA BIN LADEN by Mark Owen (not his name) with Kevin Mauer.  

Guess what the book is about? You're right. 

It's THAT straightforward. 

When he was young, author read a book about being a Navy Seal, and it made him want to become one. 

Now that he's served and retired, he wants to write a book that will inspire the next generation to be great and to use their talents to serve their country. 

I kept trying to get my son to read this book with me, because I know when he finally sits down to read it he will love it.  

Our conversations went something like....

 ME: "He has RPGs in this book! Come read!"

 Him: "Mom, I use RPGs every day I don't need to read about them"

(He turns back to Call of Duty) 

(I go back to reading and grading)

This book gave me details I couldn't have imagined, and added layers to my understanding of how the the mission ran.  Probably what shocked me the most and stuck with me is the author recalling sitting on the corpse of "Geronimo" on the crowded helicopter that flew them out of Pakistan. 

Because the author took part in an incident that could inspire generations of retribution (or not), he had to keep his identity separate from this book, which really takes the soul out of an autobiography. 

 Anyway, what makes a "great story" is connecting deeply with a character and then watching a character change as the story presents them with situations that make them more open, kinder, meaner, something.

 That never happened in this book. 

 The soldier creates a character of the archetype warrior and speaks from behind that veil and that separation kept me from truly loving this book.

But I did enjoy it, and I will be recommending it to students (and my son!) in the future as long as they know this is an important story but it definitely isn't my favorite soldier-at- war story.

Instead, read that awesome Genghis Khan book that I used to assign in class and now can't remember the title. 

Also, read A Rumor of War and then read We Were Soldiers Once, and Young.

 After that, read Band of Brothers and we can have a chat about all these books.