It takes a special kind of writer to transport you to a world that you've never seen. A well-written book can change not only how we think, but who we choose to be. It helps people like me embrace their inner nerd, or brings out a heroic side in people they never existed.
Whether it's a work of fiction that spurs the imagination or nonfiction steeped in facts, great storytelling will always be a great adventure for the mind, and these authors are at the top of their game.
Navy SEAL Chris Kyle is the deadliest sniper in U.S. history with 160 kills. In his autobiographical book, “American Sniper,” he tells us about some of the most detailed, suspenseful stories of his career, where the only thing he could do to protect his fellow service members was by looking through his crosshairs from far away.
Kyle, a north-central Texas native, even shares the story of his longest shot — a bullet he fired from over a mile away. He's earned the moniker “The Legend” from his fellow Navy SEALs.
Then there's Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell. In Luttrell's book, Lone Survivor, he promotes military duty as the most important sacrifice a man or woman can make for our nation, while also sharing his story of Operation Red Wings. His SEAL team was dispatched from their base in northern Afghanistan to the mountainous Pakistani border, where they had orders to capture or kill a notorious al Qaeda leader. But, fewer than 24 hours later, only one of those Navy SEALs was left alive. Lone Survivor takes the reader through intense, teeth-clenching events that took place during an ill-fated mission that led to one of the most memorable firefights in history.
Service, his second book, further examines Luttrell's military service. Set in Ramadi, Service is another action-packed heroic tale of contemporary military service. This story is more aggressive than Lone Survivor, as Luttrell and his SEAL brothers encounter enemies at such a rapid pace that it makes the narrative fast-paced and chaotic, just like real combat.
Sean Parnell, a former Army officer offers up Outlaw Platoon, and his powerful command of the written word parallels his leadership abilities in Afghanistan. This story is much more than gritty combat fights and roadside bombs — it’s about leadership and how one man can be changed by many. It’s about the relationships that are forged when only the men you can count on are the ones that are standing right beside you. Outlaw Platoon is a book filled with the amazing courage, conviction and determination that Parnell and his men showed through 485 days of some of the toughest fighting Afghanistan has to offer.
Regardless of which author you choose to read, do yourself a favor and pick up a book. Reading stories like these can connect us with the military lives we once had, or keep us motivated while we still serve. Let's keep sharing the tales of our American men and women, and above all, make sure you thank our soldiers for their service and sacrifice.