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. 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 excellent, albeit not spectacular reviews from critics and high marks from audiences. It made $547.4 million against a budget of $59 million and earned six Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture), winning one for Best Sound Editing.
Critics have praised the book for its frankness in discussing difficult issues, and for its ability to bring the horrors of war to life. The book is also said to provide a unique human perspective on the Iraq War, through Kyle's experiences and those of the people he encountered in Iraq. It has been argued that the book provides a window into the lives of the soldiers who fought in this conflict and gives a better understanding of the motivations behind the war and the human cost of it. American Sniper has become an essential resource for those exploring the Iraq War and continues to be an important source of information about the experiences of those who served in it.
The book has since been labeled as a classic in war literature, as well as a fascinating look at the life of a modern-day American soldier. The book was also praised for its exploration of the psychological effects of war on a soldier, as well as its insight into the experience of a veteran returning home from combat. Kyle's story was also seen as a reminder of the sacrifices that members of the military make for their country, and for the courage, resilience, and patriotism of the men and women who serve. The film was also met with praise for its accurate portrayal of Kyle's experiences and for its ability to capture the emotion, stress, and intensity of combat. The movie has become an iconic war film for many, and for many viewers, it serves as a reminder of the heavy price of war and the sacrifice of those who serve in the military.