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The Reaper: Autobiography of One of the…

The Reaper: Autobiography of One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipers

by Nicholas Irving

Other authors: Gary Brozek (Author)

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Unfortunately for this author I read “American Sniper” by Chris Kyle before I read this book. Kyle’s book was amazing. This book was a poor imitation of it. While Kyle’s accounts were told in a reporter-like manner, Irving’s were told more in a manner of I am the greatest. Kyle’s use of language and structure were for an educated adult, Irving’s writing more for a grade-school crowd. There are very few insights or stories worth reading in Irving’s book. The best part of it was it was a quick read, basically due to lack of depth and quality of the writing. ( )
  Susan.Macura | Nov 26, 2015 |
What happened to my review? Good book, good narrator - you'll enjoy if you like reading about special forces and their operations. ( )
  marshapetry | Nov 18, 2015 |
Overall a very interesting and captivating book. As a quick summary, the story mostly revolves around the experiences of a sniper who had a pretty active deployment in Afghanistan.

Many books and movies I've read covers the horror of war and the hellishness of everyone involved. So it was certainly surprising how different these soldier's experiences were. They were raring to go shoot some bad guys and the author was frequently approached by people who were jealous of how often he saw action. I guess the key differences they had was a safe base to go back to every night and recuperate and they almost always had overwhelming firepower and technology. As the author said when he and his team was pinned down by an enemy sniper, it's not as fun as when YOU'RE the one being targeted.

Personally, the highlights of the book was when he went into details on his missions. I found myself fully engrossed in the adrenaline-pumping action and unable to put the book down until I knew he had made it safely back to base. ( )
  kikowatzy | Jul 9, 2015 |
This book will make some people very uncomfortable. And rightly so - it contains graphic depictions of people being killed and wounded, and several other very unpleasant and difficult situations.

It also is a description of someone who is charged with killing people, and who takes a certain amount of pride in how well he does that job.

I've read a fairly good amount of military books, war biographies and memoirs. Some of them are very very good, like the works of Robert Leckie and Eugene Sledge. Many are average, and a great deal are truly awful. The better ones tend to be, not unsurprisingly, written by professional writers who are describing their own experiences in combat, such as Leckie. (BTW, I was given this book by the publisher, in exchange for a possible review of it).

It's hard to get a sense of a person in an autobiography written with a ghostwriter, as author Nicholas Irving did with his co-author Gary Brozek. So much of a story like his comes down to who he actually is, how he tells his own story, how much of a feel for the real man we get in reading his book. That's much harder to do when what we are reading is filtered through the writing style of a ghostwriter.

The name of this book put me off. The Reaper. It felt self-aggrandizing, and made me think that I was picking up another look-at-me-and-how-great-I-am-for-killing-people kind of book, a feeling I got when I read the late Chris Kyle's service memoir. The first few chapters didn't do a lot to change that impression. It very well may be that the title was a product of the publisher - it's hard to deny that it's catchy and grabs the eye.

But I'm glad I held on and finished the book. I don't know whether it was me and my preconceived notions about the work finally being overtaken by the story itself, or if the writing got better as I went along - but as I was nearing the end, I realized that I at least felt I had some idea of the character of Irving, and why he was telling us this story. I stopped over-analyzing and judging, and just read.

Chapter six, "The Chechen Comes Calling", and the chapters immediately after that one, were very engaging, and again, this is when I felt I was beginning to recognize and understand Irving a small amount. It also became clear to me as I neared the end that all of Irving's combat experiences took place before he was 24 years old, a very young age to have to come to grips with being a quite successful professional killer.

It's the military's job to kill people and break things. It's very difficult for people who have not been in that situation to hear or read about the satisfaction and even joy that some feel when they do their job well. Despite my own military background, I sometimes share that discomfort. This is a tale well told, and for good and bad, Irving opened up very private experiences for other to read and learn from. I respect and salute his service, and his honesty. ( )
  Keith.G.Richie | Nov 20, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nicholas Irvingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brozek, GaryAuthorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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