Where Men Win Glory

The Odyssey of Pat Tillman

Krakauer, Jon

Book - 2009
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Where Men Win Glory
The bestselling author of Into the Wild , Into Thin Air , and Under the Banner of Heaven delivers a stunning, eloquent account of a remarkable young man's haunting journey. Like the men whose epic stories Jon Krakauer has told in his previous bestsellers, Pat Tillman was an irrepressible individualist and iconoclast. In May 2002, Tillman walked away from his $3.6 million NFL contract to enlist in the United States Army. He was deeply troubled by 9/11, and he felt a strong moral obligation to join the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Two years later, he died on a desolate hillside in southeastern Afghanistan. Though obvious to most of the two dozen soldiers on the scene that a ranger in Tillman's own platoon had fired the fatal shots, the Army aggressively maneuvered to keep this information from Tillman's wife, other family members, and the American public for five weeks following his death. During this time, President Bush repeatedly invoked Tillman's name to promote his administration's foreign policy. Long after Tillman's nationally televised memorial service, the Army grudgingly notified his closest relatives that he had "probably" been killed by friendly fire while it continued to dissemble about the details of his death and who was responsible. In Where Men Win Glory , Jon Krakauer draws on Tillman's journals and letters, interviews with his wife and friends, conversations with the soldiers who served alongside him, and extensive research on the ground in Afghanistan to render an intricate mosaic of this driven, complex, and uncommonly compelling figure as well as the definitive account of the events and actions that led to his death. Before he enlisted in the army, Tillman was familiar to sports aficionados as an undersized, overachieving Arizona Cardinals safety whose virtuosity in the defensive backfield was spellbinding. With his shoulder-length hair, outspoken views, and boundless intellectual curiosity, Tillman was considered a maverick. America was fascinated when he traded the bright lights and riches of the NFL for boot camp and a buzz cut. Sent first to Iraq--a war he would openly declare was "illegal as hell" --and eventually to Afghanistan, Tillman was driven by complicated, emotionally charged, sometimes contradictory notions of duty, honor, justice, patriotism, and masculine pride, and he was determined to serve his entire three-year commitment. But on April 22, 2004, his life would end in a barrage of bullets fired by his fellow soldiers. Krakauer chronicles Tillman's riveting, tragic odyssey in engrossing detail highlighting his remarkable character and personality while closely examining the murky, heartbreaking circumstances of his death. Infused with the power and authenticity readers have come to expect from Krakauer's storytelling, Where Men Win Glory exposes shattering truths about men and war.

Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 2009.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780385522267
Characteristics: xxv, 383 p. :,maps ;,25 cm.


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Feb 27, 2015
  • MICHAEL TAGGART MALONEY rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

WHERE MEN WIN GLORY is not a bad book, but it is definitely not a Krakauer blockbuster like INTO THE WILD and INTO THIN AIR. Its flaw is that it is several different narratives that never get knit together. You have the back story of football star and thinking man Pat Tillman, which is compelling; then you have an in-depth treatment of the big fratricidal incident in Nasiriyah during the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 the year prior to Tillman's death; then you have the in-depth description of the Army Ranger friendly-fire incident that killed Tillman in Afghanistan; then you have an account of the Army's and the Bush administration's cover-up of the Tillman fratricide and the efforts of Tillman's mother Dannie to have the government investigate itself; and finally you have krakauer's concluding comments on the doomed nature of the U.S./NATO presence in Afghanistan. The best part of the book is reading about Pat Tillman. He was a neat guy, a real person, an honest man. Krakauer is particularly effective when he describes Tillman's rapid disillusionment with the military during basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. As Tillman wrote in his journal: "I am not a negative man, I do not want to report bad, I want to rise above and bring everyone with me. However, this fucking place blows . . . period." Krakauer hits the right note at the end. Afghanistan is not a conflict that the United States will ever win. Tillman's head was blown off in Khost Province by a brother Ranger operating a squad automatic weapon. Close by, over the Zero Line, a.k.a., Durand Line, is North Waziristan, home to Bin Laden crony and ISI asset Jalaluddin Haqqani, head of the Haqqani network. The United States is fighting a creation of its allies, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. It is all a crazy murderous game that mangles and discards the lives of young people. I doubt the ongoing Pakistani campaign in North Waziristan is anything more than a perfunctory performance of political theater.

Feb 27, 2015
  • gypsytwilight rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I feel as though Krakauer may be glorifying the life of his subject a bit, but even so Tillman was an admirable man and I'm glad to have been given a fuller picture of his life and the circumstances surrounding his death.

Aug 29, 2012
  • gemini07 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Insightful biography about NFL player Pat Tillman and the circumstances of his death in Afghanistan. I found some sections a bit repetitive.

Dec 22, 2010
  • HoseMonkey rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Inspiring and heartbreaking. An amazing true story that everyone should read.

Sep 09, 2010
  • seejaneread rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Excellent biography of Pat Tillman. I was living in Phoenix at the time Pat was killed, and he was heavily mourned by the community there. Then I moved to the Bay Area a few years later, where I learned he was quite a public figure as well. I wanted to find out more about him. Jon Kraukauer (author of Into the Wild) tells an excellent story of an iconoclast who felt driven by his ideals and values and never backed down from a challenge. He also showed what really happened behind the friendly fire incidents of both Tillman and Jessica Lynch. A sad ending to an extraordinary life; definitely worth the time, and well told.

Apr 18, 2010
  • hscpa333 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of the best books I have read. Thoroughly researched, insightful, unbiased, great story telling, well organized.

Feb 11, 2010
  • andreamcghee rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Detailed and insightful look into the Afghanistan war complications. Krakauer (as usual) shows his engrossing writing skills...although he seems to have a "bone-to-pick" with the Bush administration. Great book.

Dec 13, 2009
  • tauseef365 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Equal parts engrossing biography and illuminating expose on the US military, it is an excellent read.


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Dec 12, 2011
  • CBearjkn rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

CBearjkn thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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