American Sniper Background

American Sniper Background

Chris Kyle’s 2012 debut narrative American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History tells Kyle’s story as a Navy SEAL from 1999 – 2009, during which time he completed four tours in Iraq, as well as his childhood in Odessa, Texas, his SEAL training, and his combat experiences in Iraq. In the book, Kyle describes his role in battle for the control of the city of Ramadi, a role that led to Kyle being dubbed the “Devil of Ramadi” and having a substantial bounty placed on his head. Reflecting on his first confirmed kill, Kyle remarked, “the others come easy. I don't have to psych myself up or do something special mentally—I look through the scope, get my target in the cross hairs, and kill my enemy, before he kills one of my people." Kyle’s book is exceptionally patriotic, pro-military (and violent), and conservative - all of which some have objected to.

Upon release, the text received spectacular reviews, with critics singling out the book's substance and to a lesser extent its style. On book review aggregation site, Goodreads.com, it holds a rating of 3.98 stars out of 5 (the majority of which are either 5 or 1-star reviews); on Amazon, it holds a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. Writes a Goodreads user: “(American Sniper is an) excellent read, absolutely enlightening to how thoroughly enjoyable, not to mention competitive, war can be to those that are obviously hooked on the adrenaline rush.”

Kyle's book was later adapted into a film of the same name, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper as Kyle and Sienna Miller as his wife. Released in 2014, it received solid, albeit not spectacular reviews from critics and high marks from audiences. It made $547.4 million against a budget of $59 million and earned 6 Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture), winning 1 for Best Sound Editing.

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