Mark’s #48 – Where Men Win Glory:The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer

In 2002, when Pat Tillman left a lucrative career in the NFL at the peak of his athletic prime to enlist in the Army, many  journalists, sports fans, politicians, and ordinary people took notice.  Since Pat refused to do any media interviews regarding his decision, the public was left to merely speculate as to the motivation of such radical actions.  In my own mind, I figured Pat Tillman was merely an uber-patriot, all-American boy  who saw it as his duty to serve his country.

In this book, author Jon Krakauer uses his well developed journalist skills to uncover the depth and mystery of the background, history, philosophy of Pat Tillman.   Using journal entries from Pat’s diary, and interviews with Pat’s wife and friends, Krakauer shows that Tillman was not a shallow-minded jock, but rather a complicated man with deep emotions, thoughts, and beliefs.

As most people know, in 2004 Pat Tillman died from ‘friendly fire’ while serving in Afghanistan.  In the days, weeks, and months following his death, Army officers and officials attempted to cover-up the incident and spin the story to showcase Pat as an example of an American war hero.   In regards to both personal details of Tillman as well as the details of his death and subsequent cover-up, Krakauer showed his strength as a journalist.

However, on several occasions, it appears that Krakauer deliberately went off-script to make known his own personal political position.  Repeatedly, Krakauer attacked the Bush administration – even going into details surrounding the 2000 vote recount in Florida. On several occasions, Krakauer points out Tillman’s disdain for any attempt by the government to use his service or even his death as a propaganda point, yet it seems that Krakauer often does just this for his own political agenda.  It was at these points, where this book losses its objectivity and begins to sound more like an editorial than an unbiased work of an investigative journalist.

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3 Comments

  • Janet Bovawood
    November 26, 2011 - 5:34 am | Permalink

    Is there any other authors thar have written books from a more objective view on Pat Tillmans life?

  • November 26, 2011 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the review Mark. Sounds like Krakauer is “off” game. Maybe he should go back to writing about big mountains!

  • November 27, 2011 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Mom (Janet) and Dave, for the bulk of the book, I would say that Krakauer does a good job of bringing to light both the recent history of Afghanistan and the complicated person of Pat Tillman. While some of Krakauer’s political points are valid, he simply went too far and too long in these areas and exposed his obvious bias. – I agree, his book on Everest was great.

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