I just finished reading "Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman". I've read several of Jon Krakauer's previous books and always found them incredibly thought provoking. This book did not disappoint.
At a high level, it's the story of Pat Tillman, a football player from the Arizona Cardinals, who decided to quit professional football, give up a multi-million dollar contract and join the war against terrorism with the Army Rangers. He did this with very little fanfare, refusing to give any press conferences. He was killed by friendly fire in 2004. This much I knew before reading the book.
I have always had a deep respect for people in the Armed Services. I try to say thank you to people in uniform whenever I see them. I had even contemplated joining the Army as a junior in high school, visiting a recruitment center and taking a placement test. Say what you will about the political decisions involved with war, the people on the ground are heroes in my mind.
I had wanted to read the book because I was fascinated that someone would quit the NFL and enlist in the army. How would you make a decision like that? Was Pat Tillman crazy, patriotic, adventure seeking?
The book is really about a lot of things. It's the story of Pat Tillman, a selfless athlete who had bigger things to conquer than football. It's the story of how incredibly inept the military can be at times. It's the story of how Afghanistan is a place you just can't ever win a war. And ultimately it's really a story of how Pat Tillman's death by friendly fire was completely manipulated into a publicity stunt by the government to turn the press in their favor. The fact that he was killed by friendly fire was kept from his brother who was in his Army unit, kept from his family, and covered up for months while it was bilked for maximum media coverage.
If you don't have time for the book, you can get a lot of the details at his wikipedia page. Definitely not a feel good book but a great read nonetheless.