“An amazingly detailed account of fighting in Iraqa humanizing, brave story that’s extremely readable.” — PATRICIA CORNWELL, New York Times Book Review
"Jaw-dropping...Undeniably riveting." —RICHARD ROEPER, Chicago Sun-Times
From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. His fellow American warriors, whom he protected with deadly precision from rooftops and stealth positions during the Iraq War, called him “The Legend”; meanwhile, the enemy feared him so much they named him al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle, who was tragically killed in 2013, writes honestly about the pain of war—including the deaths of two close SEAL teammates—and in moving first-person passages throughout, his wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their family, as well as on Chris.
Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle’s masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.
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About the Author
SEAL Team 3 Chief Chris Kyle (1974-2013) was awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor, and numerous other citations. Following four combat tours in Iraq, he became chief instructor for training Naval Special Warfare sniper teams. He is the author of American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms. A native Texan, Kyle is survived by his wife, Taya, and their two children.
Scott McEwen is a trial lawyer in San Diego.
Jim DeFelice is the author of Omar Bradley: General at War, the first in-depth critical biography of America's last five-star general. He also writes a number of acclaimed military thrillers, including the Rogue Warrior series with Richard Marcinko, founder of SEAL Team 6, and the novels in the Dreamland series with Dale Brown.
Read an Excerpt
Evil in the Crosshairs
Late March 2003.
In the area of Nasiriya, Iraq I looked through the scope of the sniper rifle, scanning down the road of the tiny Iraqi town. Fifty yards away, a woman opened the door of a small house and stepped outside with her child. The rest of the street was deserted. The local Iraqis had gone inside, most of them scared. A few curious souls peeked out from behind curtains, waiting. They could hear the rumble of the approaching American unit. The Marines were flooding up the road, marching north to liberate the country from Saddam Hussein. It was my job to protect them. My platoon had taken over the building earlier in the day, sneaking into position to provide “overwatch”prevent the enemy from ambushing the Marines as they came through. It didn’t seem like too difficult a taskif anything, I was glad the Marines were on my side. I’d seen the power of their weapons and I would’ve hated to have to fight them. The Iraq army didn’t stand a chance. And, in fact, they appeared to have abandoned the area already. The war had started roughly two weeks before. My platoon, “Charlie” (later “Cadillac”) of SEAL Team 3, helped kick it off during the early morning of March 20. We landed on al-Faw Peninsula and secured the oil terminal there so Saddam couldn’t set it ablaze as he had during the First Gulf War. Now we were tasked to assist the Marines as they marched north toward Baghdad.
I was a SEAL, a Navy commando trained in special operations. SEAL stands for “SEa, Air, Land,” and it pretty much describes the wide ranges of places we operate. In this case, we were far inland, much farther than SEALs traditionally operated, though as the war against terror continued, this would become common. I’d spent nearly three years training and learning how to become a warrior; I was ready for this fight, or at least as ready as anyone can be. The rifle I was holding was a .300 WinMag, a bolt-action, precision sniper weapon that belonged to my platoon chief. He’d been covering the street for a while and needed a break. He showed a great deal of confidence in me by choosing me to spot him and take the gun. I was still a new guy, a newbie or rookie in the Teams. By SEAL standards, I had yet to be fully tested. I was also not yet trained as a SEAL sniper. I wanted to be one in the worst way, but I had a long way to go. Giving me the rifle that morning was the chief’s way of testing me to see if I had the right stuff. We were on the roof of an old rundown building at the edge of a town the Marines were going to pass through. The wind kicked dirt and papers across the battered road below us. The place smelled like a sewerthe stench of Iraq was one thing I’d never get used to.
Table of Contents
Author's Note ix
Map of Iraq x
Prologue: Evil in the Crosshairs 1
1 Bustin' Broncs and Other Ways of Having Fun 9
2 Jackhammered 29
3 Takedowns 78
4 Five Minutes to Live 99
5 Sniper 123
6 Dealing Death 156
7 Down in the Shit 211
8 Family Conflicts 265
9 The Punishers 294
10 The Devil of Ramadi 338
11 Man Down 369
12 Hard Times 399
13 Mortality 437
14 Home and Out 471
What People are Saying About This
“The raw and unforgettable narrative of the making of our country’s record-holding sniper, Chris Kyle’s memoir is a powerful book, both in terms of combat action and human drama. Chief Kyle is a true American warrior down to the bone, the Carlos Hathcock of a new generation.”
“In the community of elite warriors, one man has risen above our ranks and distinguished himself as unique. Chris Kyle is that man. A master sniper, Chris has done and seen things that will be talked about for generations to come.”
“American Sniper is the inside story of what it’s like to be in war. A brave warrior and patriot, Chris Kyle writes frankly about the missions, personal challenges, and hard choices that are part of daily life of an elite SEAL Sniper. It’s a classic!”