Synopses & Reviews
andldquo;Harrowing, heartbreaking, redemptive.andrdquo; andmdash;Sports Illustrated
andldquo;An inspiring story of a resilient warrior who knows what it means to keep a promise. andldquo; andmdash;Eric Greitens, Navy SEAL and best-selling author ofand#160;The Heart and the Fist
Daniel Rodriguez joined the army just weeks after graduating from high school. Almost immediately, he was deployed to Iraq and then to Afghanistan. While there, he made a promise to his best friend: andldquo;When I get out of this shithole, Iandrsquo;m going to play college football.andrdquo; Daniel made it out; his friend didnandrsquo;t.
After returning home, Daniel was unemployed and stuck in the clutches of PTSD, but he remembered the promise he had made and resolved to make good on it. When he posted a video online of his grueling training efforts, it went viral overnight. Through a mixture of hope, determination, and the power of the Internet, Daniel earned a spot on the Clemson University football team as a wide receiver. Inand#160;Rise,and#160;Rodriguez tells his powerful storyandmdash;a story that will inspire anyone fighting to make their dream a reality.
andldquo;A compelling story of one manandrsquo;s quest to overcome the horrors of war through fortitude and determination .and#160;.and#160;. If youandrsquo;re seeking a book to inspire you, this one deserves a look.andrdquo; andmdash;San Antonio Express News
andldquo;Life is designed to beat you down. Daniel shows you how to kick its ass.andrdquo; andmdash;Major Rusty Bradley, U.S. Army (ret.), best-selling author ofand#160;Lions of Kandahar
andquot;Daniel Rodriguezandndash;a decorated combat veteranandndash;doesnandrsquo;t sugarcoat the hard parts of his life. A warrior who fought on the battlefield, wrestled with PTSD, and now wins victories on the gridiron, his story reminds us that with grit and determination we can move through suffering to strength. Rise is an inspiring story of a resilient warrior who knows what it means to keep a promise.andquot; andndash;Eric Greitens, Navy SEAL and author of New York Times bestseller, The Heart and the Fist
andquot;RISE is a surreal look at what todayand#39;s youth should aspire to accomplish. From Virginia to Iraq, from Afghanistan to South Carolina, Daniel Rodriguez shows the grit and determination it takes to rise above the hardships life throws at you. Life is designed to beat you down. Daniel shows you how to kick its ass.andquot; andndash;Major Rusty Bradley, U.S. Army (ret.), bestselling author of Lions of Kandahar
andquot;Danieland#39;s service to his country and his ability to follow his dreams is what is truly right with America. His story, as movingly told in Rise, is a great example of where hard work, determination, and a never-quit attitude can get you.andquot; andndash;Sal Giunta, Medal of Honor recipient and author of the New York Times bestseller, Living with Honor
This edition has been updated to reflect new developments and includes new material obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
Pat Tillman walked away from a multimillion-dollar NFL contract to join the Army and became an icon of post-9/11 patriotism. When he was killed in Afghanistan two years later, a legend was born. But the real Pat Tillman was much more remarkable, and considerably more complicated than the public knew...
A stunning account of a remarkable young man's heroic life and death, from the bestselling author of Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, and Under the Banner of Heaven.
The epic story of Daniel Rodriguez, a soldier who fought in one of the bloodiest battles in Afghanistan and, against all odds, lived to pursue his dream of playing Division I college footballand#160;
The unforgettable story of a young soldier who survived one of the bloodiest battles in Afghanistan and lived to pursue his dream of playing Division I college football
At 5-foot-8, 175 pounds, Daniel Rodriguez was an unlikely recruit for the gridiron. But on the battlefield, under the daily rain of sniper fire, he made a promise to his best friend. and#8220;When I get out of this shithole, Iand#8217;m going to play college football.and#8221;
Daniel had joined the army just weeks after graduating from high school, having recently suffered a devastating loss. At age nineteen he had no idea what war really was; he just wanted to get out of town. Almost immediately, he was deployed to Iraq (and would later serve in Afghanistan).and#160;And he grew up fastand#160;and#8212; stopped sleeping, started smoking. Killing became second nature. He fought in the infamous Battle of Kamdesh and for his bravery he was awarded a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. But his best friend was not so lucky.
Against all odds, Daniel returned home and#8212; broken, but still alive. Stuck in the clutches of PTSD, Daniel remembered that fateful promise to his friend and knew he had to make good on it. He embarked on a grueling training regimen and when he postedand#160;a video of his efforts, it went viral overnight.and#160;By some mix of grit, determination, and the power of the Internet, he earned a spot on the Clemson University football team.
A powerfully delivered narrative of a young soldier, his unlikely dream, and how he found his way out of darkness, Rise is inspiring, quintessentially American, and will resonate with anyone who has ever fought for what they what they wanted.
About the Author
DANIEL RODRIGUEZ wasandnbsp;a wide reciever for Division I football,andnbsp;honors student,andnbsp;and decorated war hero.andnbsp;He has served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, rising through the ranksandnbsp;to sergeant. In 2009,andnbsp;he fought inandnbsp;the Battle of Kamdesh, one of the bloodiest battles in the Afghanistan conflict, earning a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal With Valor Device. He has been interviewed by Dan Rather,andnbsp;profiled in the New York Times, Washington Post, Esquire, USAandnbsp;Today,
and has gained internet fame for his viralandnbsp;YouTubeandnbsp;video.andnbsp;He lives in Los Angeles.
An award-winning journalist and best-selling author, JOE LAYDEN has written more than thirty books, including the New York Times bestsellers Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir, No Regrets, and Living with Honor.andnbsp;
Reading Group Guide
1. What aspects of Jon Krakauer’s narrative style make his telling of Pat Tillman’s story especially powerful?
2. After Tillman died, a copy of Jon Krakauer’s Eiger Dreams, a book about eccentric mountain climbers, was found in his backpack. He had also read and admired Into the Wild and Under the Banner of Heaven. Why would Tillman be drawn to Krakauer’s writing? Why would Krakauer be drawn to write about Pat Tillman?
3. What made Tillman such an unusual football player, both on and off the field? What stereotypes did he defy and transcend?
4. What are Pat Tillman’s most admirable qualities?
5. In what ways did Tillman’s time in jail change him?
6. What role did Tillman’s idealism and personal code of ethics play in his death? Is Krakauer right in suggesting that it was Tillman’s “stubborn idealism—his insistence on trying to do the right thing” [p. 406344] that brought him down?
7. Krakauer writes that “The juxtaposition of Pat’s vulnerability with his fearlessness and self-assurance is not an easy thing to wrap one’s mind around, but it was an absolutely central aspect of his personality” [p. 7363]. What instances in Tillman’s life reveal this unlikely combination of character traits? How is it possible to wrap one’s mind around it? Why are these traits so rarely joined in a single person in American culture?
8. Imagine the conversation that Tillman and Noam Chompsky would have had if their meeting had taken place. What might they have talked about? How might they have regarded each other?
9. What made Pat and Marie’s relationship so special? In what ways does the depth of their bond make Tillman’s death even more heartbreaking?
10. Krakauer begins Part Two of Where Men Win Glory with an epigraph by Chris Hedges: “War is always about betrayal, betrayal of the young by the old, of idealists by cynics and of troops by politicians” [p. 153133]. In what ways and by whom, specifically, was Pat Tillman betrayed?
11. Discuss the events that led to Tillman’s death by friendly fire 248-281and assess for yourselves who should have been held responsible for Tillman’s death and what the appropriate punishment should have been. What Aarmy protocols were broken in the lead- up to, and during, the firefight? What protocols and regulations were broken in the immediate aftermath of Tillman’s death?
12. As revealed in Where Men Win Glory what crucial mistakes has the United States made in its decades-long involvement in Afghanistan? What have been the consequences of these mistakes?
13. While stationed in Iraq, Tillman wrote in his journal: “My hope is that decisions are being made with the same good faith that Kevin and I aim to display.... I hope [this war is about] more than oil, money, & power.... I doubt that it is” [p. 196169]. What experiences are most responsible for changing Tillman from a patriotic and somewhat naive idealist to a sober-eyed realist?
14. When Tillman was killed, Krakauer writes, “White House perception managers saw an opportunity not unlike the one provided by the Jessica Lynch debacle thirteen months earlier” [p. 349295]. How did the “perception managers” in the Bush administration respond to Tillman’s death? How did they use it to their advantage? What are the similarities between their handling of Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman?
15. Discuss the ironies that emerge from the fact that Pat Tillman’s personal code of courage, honor, honesty, and integrity was used so cynically and deceitfully by the Bush administration to further its own agenda.
16. How did Tillman’s family react to Pat’s death and to the White House cover-up of how he died? What positive results have come from the Tillman family’s response to Pat’s death?
(For a complete list of available reading group guides, and to sign up for the Reading Group Center enewsletter, visit www.readinggroupcenter.com)
The introduction, discussion questions, and suggested further reading that follow are designed to enhance your group’s discussion of Where Men Win Glory, the new book by Jon Krakauer, bestselling author of Into Thin Air and Under the Banner of Heaven.