The Warrior's Heart Book Review by ChristineMM

Thursday




Title: The Warrior’s Heart: Becoming a Man of Courage and Compassion

Author: Eric Greitens

Genre: Young Adult, Memoir

Publication: Houghton Mifflin, 2012

My Star Rating: 5 stars out of 5 = I Love It

My Summary Statement: Inspiring Memoir of a Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL Who Has Focused His Life on Serving – Not Just Military Stories

This memoir for kids aged 12 and up was inspirational and unlike anything I have ever seen published for young adult readers. Every kid should read this, not just boys. I was not familiar with who Eric Greitens was and I had not read his adult memoir The Heart and The Fist. I loved this book.

Greitens’ writing is easy to read and his style piques your interest as each section opens with an ethical question to the reader, asking what they would do. We want to know how he got to that place so we read the story that leads to that climax.

I had no clue what this book was about and assumed it was a book only about life as a Navy SEAL. I was wrong.

The book opens with Eric as a boy whose parents told him from early on that college was his ticket to a good job and a solid future. He thought money making was important so started a lawn cutting and snow shoveling business as a child and learned life lessons there. He then attended Duke and began doing volunteer work in third world countries; this is what opened his eyes to learning the value of serving others and how it started changing who he was. He was an amateur photographer and used photos from his trips to tell stories to Americans upon his return.

About half of the book contains stories about his experiences on these volunteer work trips. They contain stories that American teens usually are not exposed to, about genocide, ethnic cleansing, refugees, oppression, and extreme poverty.

After graduating from Duke he was granted a Rhodes Scholarship and attended Oxford. He was offered a job in academia and a white collar professional job with a high salary. Instead he decided the best way to serve people was to help protect people who were being oppressed, by serving in the US military. Many countries in the world look to the United States for protection. Greitens wanted to serve and protect. Wanting a challenge, he decided to become a Navy SEAL. There are 120 pages about the Navy and SEAL training that says tested his spirit through extreme physical tests, especially in Hell Week. He finished his Navy SEAL training just days before 9/11, so he was trained in peace time and entered the military in war.

After training, there is one story about his service in Iraq. Then the book fast forwards to the day he went home, and tells a little about seeing a need in the community to help veterans who were discharged after injuries. He founded a nonprofit organization, The Mission Continues.

This is honest and heartfelt writing that touched me deeply. I am unaware of anything like this written for young adults (but we need more). This is the story of a person who saw a need in the world and who took action to make some impact. This is the story of a real leader.

This is not a religious or spiritual book however this is a book that will get kids thinking about their possible purpose in life and wishing they had something meaningful to do with their lives. The book is free of profanity or other distasteful content, yet the discussion of ethnic cleansing and oppression of people in other countries is serious. The detail is just enough to surprise and inform yet is not going to give kids nightmares.

Greitens’ storytelling method is effective and moving. He balanced telling serious troublesome information that is there for a reason, not there to shock the reader.

I rate this book 5 stars = I Love It. I want both of my sons, aged 12 and 15, to read this book.

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from Amazon.com's Vine program for the purpose of reviewing it on Amazon.com. I was not under obligation to blog this or to review it favorably. I was not paid to review this book.

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