The Heart and the Fist

by

Description: Read on Amazon

Author:Eric Greitens

Should you read this book? If you are interested in humanitarian work, military service, or both, this book is for you. If none of the above sound remotely interesting, you’ll probably won’t enjoy reading, unless you are a knowledge junkie, then you’ll find this book super cool, as it will add to your facts repertoire

This is not a story you will hear about often; only for that reason, I think it deserves a second look and your consideration. The book is a sort of memoir, and I say sort of because the author and protagonist, Eric Greitens, writes a very factual story, interspersed with some emotions, and moving back and forth on his timeline. The story is a tale of a man who, after years as a humanitarian worker, decides to join the military and become a Navy SEAL. That’s right, not the other way around.

The author takes us through his journeys to places such as Croatia and Rwanda, where he worked in refugee camps, to India and Bolivia, where he worked on initiatives tending on the neediest members of society (at the home ran by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity for the destitute and dying, and at the Mano Amiga home for children of the street). These experiences and every other country he went for humanitarian work, shaped his believe and purpose to become a “warrior” that can prevent some of the atrocities he saw in some of these places.

The second part of the book focuses on his training. It is extremely detailed and you will have a great insight into what military training looks like and what it feels to be in one of the most challenging and gruesome training programs in the world: to become a Navy SEAL. What was surprising about this section was how there is no glorifying of war or violence and the narrative focuses as much on the shaping of character and moral values that started from the times of the author’s foray into humanitarian work.

The only criticism I would have is that I wished his experience as humanitarian worker would’ve been as detailed as his Navy SEAL experience. He does provide a lot of observations and illustrations of the people he encountered and the emotions they elicitied (as well as some very good high level explanations of the background of the conflict areas he went to). I would’ve liked to kow more about his process, the work he did, etc.

Regardless of the shortcomings, I think it is a fantastic read. Men will particularly love this, especially those of you out there interested in some interesting special ops stuff. If this were a movie, this is the kind you men would prefer to watch instead of another sappy romantic comedy, for sure!

Paola’s mood after reading this book:

 

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