Where Men Win Glory

By Jon Krakauer

Pat Tillman

In Jon Krakauer's Where Men Win Glory, Pat Tillman is described as a driven, complex and uncommonly motivated young man. Drawing from 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, Krakauer managed to paint an interestingly vivid picture of what Tillman was really like. This picture of what Pat Tillman was truly like consisted of a mysterious yet outspoken man.
Prior to enlisting in the army, Tillman was familiar to sports fanatics as an undersized, hard-working NFL safety that played for the Arizona Cardinals. His work ethic and his presence on the field was unmatched by any other player his size. Not only did he have a knack for getting into the backfield and making tackles for a loss, his expertise as a defensive back was incredible. With his shoulder-length hair, outspoken views, and boundless intellectual curiosity, Tillman was considered one-of-a-kind. He seemed to love the fame and fortune of the NFL life, so America was shocked when he hung up his cleats for combat boots and joined the Army. If his reputation as a great man wasn't already solid enough, this act of selflessness and heroism pretty much guaranteed Tillman a spot in every NFL fan's heart. From that point on, he was considered a football legend.
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Pat Tillman was a very unique figure in the world of sports that made a choice that most would not have even considered making. He is a role model for many, adults as well as children. The characterization of Tillman throughout Where Men Win Glory supports this claim. Jon Krakauer describes Tillman as a determined, enigmatic, and rare individual. He was a very hard worker and never took no for an answer. Instead of fighting for a paycheck on a football field, he fought for his country during tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, his incredibly heroic life came to an abrupt stop when he was killed by a barrage of bullets that came from American soldiers. This is referred to as "friendly fire", and the truth about his death was hid from Tillman's family and the media for an extended period of time before it eventually came out.
The setting of this biography also supports the claim that Tillman is a unique, heroic role model for people of all ages. Predictably, most of the book took place in Afghanistan and Iraq during the American and Iraqi/Afghan war. These two countries are not exactly the most desirable places to be spending your time, so it can be inferred that it takes a special man to be able to want to be there. Especially when you have a promising NFL career waiting for you back in the states. Despite all the tempting riches and fame that would've came with playing pro football, Tillman felt that it was not his thing, and that he would be better off serving his country in the military. This shows how great of a man that Pat Tillman really was.
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Where Men Win Glory is overall an extremely opinionated book that has much less facts than thoughts from the author. Krakauer is so vehement in his Bush bashing, that the Pat Tillman story becomes a sub-plot. A less biased book would have been far more believable. The author's intense loathing of Bush leaves me wondering what is accurate in this novel and what is driven by his extreme political leanings. He basically wants to blame Bush for Tillman's death. Although this book was fairly insightful about Tillman's early life, it is not worth the read if you want the entirely true story about the death of Pat Tillman and the aftermath of the tradgedy. If you hate Bush you will enjoy this book. Otherwise don't bother.
The Real Pat Tillman Story - In His Own Words