The Warrior's Heart: Becoming a Man of Compassion and Courage [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this adaptation of his best-selling book, The Heart and the Fist, Eric speaks directly to teen readers, interweaving memoir and intimate second-person narratives that ask the reader to put themselves in the shoes of himself and others. Readers will share in Eric’s evolution from average kid to globe-traveling humanitarian to warrior, training and serving with the most elite military outfit in the world: the Navy SEALs. Along the way, they’ll be asked to consider the power of choices, of making the decision ...
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The Warrior's Heart: Becoming a Man of Compassion and Courage

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Overview

In this adaptation of his best-selling book, The Heart and the Fist, Eric speaks directly to teen readers, interweaving memoir and intimate second-person narratives that ask the reader to put themselves in the shoes of himself and others. Readers will share in Eric’s evolution from average kid to globe-traveling humanitarian to warrior, training and serving with the most elite military outfit in the world: the Navy SEALs. Along the way, they’ll be asked to consider the power of choices, of making the decision each and every day to act with courage and compassion so that they grow to be tomorrow’s heroes. Sure to inspire and motivate.
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—A former Navy SEAL describes his journey from aiding victims of violence to protecting people and, now, living a life of service. Modeling parts of his engaging memoir on the "Choose Your Own Adventure" stories he loved as a child, Greitens describes events along his path, preceding each with a short "You" segment presenting a moral dilemma taken from his own life. As a college student he began seeing the results of violence in the world with summers in China, Bosnia, and Rwanda. At home, he trained as a boxer to build his strength. After graduation he worked with Bolivian street children. At this point, halfway through the narrative, there is a series of black-and-white photographs. After a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford, realizing that "courage and compassion are two sides of the same coin," and determined to become someone who protected those in need, he joined the Navy SEALS. That difficult training takes up most of the second half of the book, which concludes with a few scenes from his service in Iraq; a description of The Mission Continues, his nonprofit organization; and an exhortation to readers to live lives of service as well. Adapted from the adult title The Heart and the Fist (Houghton, 2011), this volume has been rearranged, shortened, and streamlined in ways sure to appeal its new audience.—Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD
The New York Times Book Review
In less skilled hands this kind of moral and ethical instruction could feel condescending, but Greitens never gives in to the temptation to treat his young readers as incapable of confronting the realities of the dangerous and distressing places he's been or the challenges people face there. He writes of refugees in Rwanda and Croatia and the homeless in his native Missouri in clear, direct prose that is appropriate for his readers without minimizing people's suffering or their humanity…It's no small feat to make a difference in somebody's life, and Greitens has written a book that is a fitting honor to all the people who made a difference in his. By sharing these stories with young readers, he now has a chance to make a difference in a few more.
—Kevin Powers
From the Publisher
A Kirkus  Best Teen Book of 2012 "An uncommon (to say the least) coming of age, retraced with well-deserved pride but not self-aggrandizement, and as thought provoking as it is entertaining."—Kirkus, starred review "Adapted from the adult title The Heart and the Fist (Houghton, 2011), this volume has been rearranged, shortened, and streamlined in way sure to appeal to its new audience."—School Library Journal

“Greitens describes his adventurous life in a manner that many teen boys will find inspirational."—VOYA

"It's no small feat to make a difference in somebody's life. By sharing these stories with young readers, [Greitens] now has a chance to make a difference in a few more."—The New York Times Book Review

"[An] engaging and important book."—LA Times

VOYA - Walter Hogan
The author’s 2011 adult-market memoir, The Heart And The Fist: The Education Of A Humanitarian, The Making Of A Navy SEAL, is adapted here for teen readership. Born in 1974, Greitens describes his adventurous life in a manner that many teen boys will find inspirational. Skipping lightly over his childhood, his undergraduate years at Duke University, and his Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University, Greitens emphasizes two major themes of his life, per the “compassion” and the “courage” of his book’s subtitle. Compassion is exemplified by his voluntary service to those in great need, including tours of service aiding refugees in Croatia and Rwanda following the genocides in those countries, and also by the author’s current leadership of The Mission Continues, a nonprofit organization supporting wounded veterans. Greitens’s courage is demonstrated by extreme physical and mental toughness developed during amateur boxing, the grueling challenges of Navy Seal training, and military service on battlefields in Iraq. The book’s tone is wholesome, patriotic, and humanitarian, but not religious. The author’s young manhood is presented as exemplary in its achievement of both strength and compassion. Interspersed throughout the memoir are special short chapters, such as “You: Taking Responsibility” and “You: Leading in Danger,” that directly address the reader with an ethical or leadership challenge similar to one just described in the memoir. The final chapter, “Your Mission,” offers specific recommendations, accompanied by web links for discovering exciting and adventurous service opportunities. Sixteen pages of black-and-white photos are included. Ages 11 to 18.
Children's Literature - Kris Sauer
Looking for a first-person account of what it takes to be one of today's fighting elite? Then look no further. This adaptation of the author's best-selling book, The Heart and the Fist, is an easily accessible autobiography geared towards teen readers. Eric Greitens, propelled by the tragedy of 9-11, devotes himself to a mission of hope. Even before graduating from college, he was working with refugees in some of the most dangerous parts of the world. Recounting his experiences in camps in Kosovo and Rwanda, he explains how the plight of those people propelled him to make a most unusual decision: to pursue the goal of becoming one of the best of the best, a U.S. Navy SEAL. In telling his tale, Greitens does not sugarcoat a thing. He describes, sometimes in vivid but certainly not gratuitous detail, the arduous psychological and physical training he and his comrades went through to graduate and become a SEAL. Motivated by a continued desire to help others help themselves, upon retirement from the Navy his mission continues: to help others be the best they can be. Today he devotes himself to helping young wounded veterans find their mission in life through the nonprofit he founded, The Mission Continues. Realistic and inspirational, this story of how one young man can single-mindedly make a difference to turn his life and the lives of others around is sure to inspire the young readers for whom it has been adapted. Reviewer: Kris Sauer
Kirkus Reviews
Selecting high and low points from his experiences as a child, college student, teacher, refugee-camp worker, amateur boxer, Rhodes scholar, Navy SEAL and worker with disabled vets, Greitens both charts his philosophical evolution and challenges young readers to think about "a better way to walk in the world." Revising extracts from his memoir The Heart and the Fist (2011) and recasting them into a more chronological framework, the author tells a series of adventuresome tales. These are set in locales ranging from Duke University to Oxford, from a low-income boxing club to camps in Rwanda and Croatia, from a group home for street children in Bolivia to a barracks hit by a suicide bomber in Iraq. Prefacing each chapter with a provocative "Choose Your Own Adventure"–style scenario ("What do you do?"), he describes how similar situations ultimately led him to join the military, impelled by a belief that it's better to help and protect others from danger than to provide aid after the fact. What sets his odyssey apart from Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin's I Am a SEAL Team Six Warrior (2012) and most other soldiers' stories is an unusual ability to spin yarns infused with not only humor and memorable lines (SEAL training's notorious Hell Week was "the best time I never want to have again"), but cogent insights about character and making choices that don't come across as heavy-handed advice. An uncommon (to say the least) coming of age, retraced with well-deserved pride but not self-aggrandizement, and as thought provoking as it is entertaining. (endnotes, bibliography [not seen]) (Memoir. 14-18)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547927817
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/9/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 87,058
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Eric Greitens
Eric Greitens was born and raised in Missouri. After earning a Ph.D. as a Rhodes Scholar and serving as a humanitarian volunteer overseas, Eric joined the Navy SEALs. A boxing champion and a decorated combat veteran, he is the founder of the nonprofit The Mission Continues and the author of the New York Times bestseller The Heart and the Fist.
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Read an Excerpt

YOU

You stand in freezing water up to your chest. Every muscle in your body throbs with pain. You are exhausted beyond anything you could ever imagine, and all around you the night air carries the curses and groans of others who are gutting it out like you, who are trying to survive the night.
   Most won’t.
   You know the statistics: Maybe one in ten will make it through this week, will survive hours—days—of the punishment required to become a Navy SEAL.
   The water is dark around you, but you can make out lights on the beach. You remember your instructors’ words as the sun drifted toward the horizon, their voices booming over the bullhorns:
   "Say good night to the sun, gentlemen, say good night to the sun."
   "Tonight is going to be a very, very long night, gentlemen."
   "Tonight is going to be a very, very long night."
   You imagine another hundred hours of this. You see yourself plunging over and over into the icy water, pulling yourself out again. You imagine endless repetitions of sit-ups, flutter kicks, pushups. Surf torture, they call it, when they leave you in freezing water. Not just for a few minutes but for five more days. Five days of struggle and uncertainty. Five days of physical and emotional torment made to separate the iron-willed from the merely strong.
   In the distance, a bell sounds three times. And then another three times. As you hear the bell, you know that another student has chosen to quit.
   A voice rises and falls, taunting you, inviting you to do the same. “Quit now, and you can avoid the rush later. It just gets colder. It just gets harder.”
   One by one, sometimes in clusters, other students surrender. All around you, they slog up out of the water, bodies shivering, clothes soaked. They climb up out of the ocean, walk up the sand hill. And they ring the bell.
   For them, it is the end.
   The others in your crew struggle along with you, and it’s their companionship and their strength that buoys you. You are there for one another. You are a team, and you do not want to quit on your team.
   But you are bone-tired and shivering. You’re afraid you’ll never make it through this night, let alone an entire week.
   On shore stands a brightly lit tent. Others are gathered inside, their palms cupping mugs of warm coffee. They are wrapped in blankets, eating hamburgers. They are safe.
   You could be one of them.
   All you have to do is rise out of the icy water and walk toward the tent. It’s easy. Students have been doing it all night. Just get up. Get out. Walk toward that bell and quit.
   Then you could be warm and dry like the others. Then your stomach could be full, and you could feel your fingers and toes again.
   All you have to do is get up, get out. Ring the bell.
   What do you do?

ADVENTURE AWAITS

Goosebumps rose as my flashlight brightened the words in front of me:

Beware and Warning! This book is different from other books. You and YOU ALONE are in charge of what happens in this story. . . . You are a deep sea explorer searching for the famed lost city of Atlantis. This is your most challenging and dangerous mission. Fear and excitement are now your companions.

   At two in the morning, I was supposed to be asleep, not hidden beneath my blanket, reading until my eyes grew sore and I passed out with my face mashed against a book cover.
   But as a kid growing up in Missouri, I couldn’t get enough of these stories, the ones that put you right into the adventure, that pulled you into a vivid world and then asked you to decide which path to take. Should you investigate the mysterious underwater grotto, or stay in your submarine to analyze the odd bubbles rising from the canyon floor? Should you follow the call of the Himalayan Yeti, or return to the safety of base camp?
   Each choice scared and thrilled me. I gobbled the books whole, going back to redo any bad decisions that led to my untimely demise.
   Like many American kids, I grew up learning about a world populated by heroes. I read about Pericles, who built democracy in ancient Greece. I read about King Arthur and the medieval Knights of the Round Table, who fought sorcerers and giants and protected the weak. And I read about great American heroes: George Washington, who crossed a frozen Delaware River and led America through revolution to victory; Abraham Lincoln, whose words at Gettysburg laid the Civil War dead to rest and called a nation to its duty; Martin Luther King Jr., who announced to the world, "I have a dream," and inspired Americans to struggle for justice and dignity.
   I loved history, and I liked to imagine myself as part of it. But this rich view of the world also left me wondering where I fit in. My big fear was that God and my parents had made a terrible mistake and that I’d been born in the wrong era, that the time for adventures had passed. I sat in the St. Louis public library and read stories of people discovering ancient cities and settling wild frontiers. I read about warriors, explorers, and activists, and then I’d stare out the window at a world that seemed very small and very safe.
   I was worried that all the corners of the earth had been explored, all the great battles fought. The famous people on TV were athletes and actresses and singers. What did they stand for? I wondered: Had the time for heroes passed?
   My other fear was that I’d miss my chance at a meaningful life. My mom was an early childhood special education teacher, and my dad was an accountant. They’d told me—perhaps since kindergarten—that I should work hard so I could go to a place called college. College, they promised, was "the ticket."
   I imagined the ticket as something golden and shiny, like a ticket for a train that would hurtle me to a place filled with adventures. As I understood it, they gave out tickets after high school, but if you wanted one, you had to have good grades.
   So in third grade, when I came home with a report card that read: "Eric Greitens, Handwriting: B−," I naturally asked my mom, "Will they still let me go to college?"
   She laughed and hugged me.
   My parents wanted me to treat others with kindness. They wanted me to be respectful. They wanted me to try hard and to be a team player. But while they cared about these "character" things, they didn’t seem so concerned with whether or not I got great grades. Especially at eight years old.
   When my third grade science fair experiment—involving tulips, soda, and my dad’s beer—ended in catastrophe, I asked again, "Will they still let me go to college?"
   When at ten years old, I lit a pile of leaves on fire to keep myself warm while waiting for the school bus and managed to accidentally set a whole sewer full of dry leaves on fire, I asked: "Will they still let me go to college?"
   It was in college, everyone told me over and over, that I could pursue big dreams. College was the first step into the "real world," where every great purpose could be pursued. In college, my adventures would really begin.

GETTING IT RIGHT

My parents weren’t rich, which meant I’d have to find a way to pay for college myself. As a kid, I didn’t think about scholarships or loans; I thought about earning money. My dad had set up a savings account for me at the local credit union, and he’d show me the bank statement every month so I could see the bits of interest adding to my account.
   At any rate, I knew I’d have to start earning as much money as I could, as soon as I could, in order to get where I wanted to go.
   But how? At ten, I had limited options. I checked out some books from the library on how to run a small business, but I didn’t find much inspiration there. For a while I tried clipping coupons out of the newspaper and then selling them to adults for just a little less than the face value. But for all the clipping and walking around the neighborhood I did, I only made a few dimes each week.
   How else did kids make money? I racked my brain. Lemonade stand? I pictured myself sitting behind a cardboard box, waiting for customers to appear. It seemed too boring. And how many thirsty people could I count on to walk by each day?
   No. I needed something more active, a job where I could seek out customers and persuade them to hire me. I settled on mowing lawns and raking leaves. At the top of a notebook where I kept track of my jobs, I wrote: GREITENS LAWN CARE.
   Eventually, it would grow to be a booming enterprise, complete with subcontractors (my younger brothers). My company handled not just raking leaves but edging lawns, weeding, trimming hedges, painting, and—best of all—shoveling snow in the winter. I cut a deal with my neighbor. He said that if I cleared his driveway for free every time it snowed, I could use his snowblower on other neighbors’ driveways. So my brothers and I would walk through the neighborhood pushing the snowblower in front of us, shovels on our shoulders, asking neighbors if they wanted us to clear their driveways.
   One of my first customers was Roger Richardson, husband of my kindergarten teacher, Anne Richardson. Roger taught history at the high school and coached football. In addition to being one of my first clients, he taught me a lot of valuable skills, such as how to tie certain knots, how to be safe working with electricity, how to lay bricks and mortar, and the right way to paint.
   He also taught me a valuable lesson about doing a job right.
   Once, one of my brothers and I had spent a tough afternoon working on Roger’s yard, mowing grass and trimming trees. We were supposed to collect all the branches and sticks, tie them into bundles, and put them out for trash collection. It was a hot day, and, exhausted, we forgot that we’d left a bunch of sticks on Roger’s front porch.
   To his credit, when Roger called my house, he asked to speak to me instead of telling my mom what we’d done—or hadn’t done.
   "Eric," he said. "You need to come back and finish the job."
   The walk to Roger’s house seemed like the longest of my life. I knew I hadn’t done a good job, and as reluctant as I was to go face the music, I was also determined to show him I could get it done right. Not only did I tie up each and every stick in a neat bundle for the trash collectors, I made sure to straighten all the gardening tools in the shed, and I swept his porch and driveway.
   I worked for Roger for the next eight years, until I left for college. Every summer I mowed his lawn, and every winter I shoveled his driveway.
   Working for him and others gave me a concrete understanding of money and how it worked. For years, if I was going to buy something, I’d translate the purchase into the number of lawns I’d mowed to earn it.
   A movie and ice cream with a date in high school?
   That equaled two and a half lawns.
   College?
   That was going to require an awful lot of raking and snow blowing.
   I like to think that working for Roger prepped me for military training. He taught me that it wasn’t enough to have a job. To make a job meaningful, you had to pay attention to the details and take pride in your work. He taught me the importance of getting it right. Since then, I’ve used those lessons a thousand times.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2012

    Anonymous

    Eric Greitner is an astonishing person. I think this world need more people like him. As if he hadn't had enough adventures, he trains to become a Navy Seal, incredible. His passion for life, his belief in himself and the willingness to help make a difference in peoples lives. This man deserves some kind of recognition or a medal. One disturbing thing is that he never mentions his parents, he gives all the credit for his life to his grandfather. This was an interesting and enjoyable read. The characters were kept at a minimal so the focus was on the main character. It made you feel you were with him every step of the way.
    I highly recommend reading this non fiction book and enjoy it as much as I did.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2012

    A warrior's heart

    As a woman reading this I laughed, cried and was amazed at what it takes to be a Navy Seal.
    Thank a soldier for all they do to protect us.
    Would rate this book for tweens on.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Great book! My 7th grade son needed a book for book report, I re

    Great book! My 7th grade son needed a book for book report, I read it first to make sure it would be appropriate for this report. It is inspiring! Very excited for my son to read and learn from Eric's expriences. Easy read too, which is great because my son doesn't really like to read, and I am trying to introduce him to some topics he may be interested in. Navy Seal got his attention and way from Black Opps for a little while.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2013

    Great

    I am in sixth grade and love to read. When i saw this book i was very interested in it because being a boy you are kind of in to thos kind of stuff. I loved reading this book and would recomend this book for people that are in fith grade or higher. Some nights people would have to take the book away from me because i was up so late reading. If you think you would not like this book because you do not like violance i am happy to say that for more that half of the book is about Eric working at refuge camps and traning to become a navy seal. Overal this book was a reall page turner for me and anybody who reads this should get the book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    Amazing!

    I read this book in the school's library. I cant stop reading it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013

    Great book

    This book is freaking awesome!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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