Monday, February 2, 2015

100 Days in the Life of a Sniper

The Reaper – Autobiography of One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipers – Nicholas Irving with Gary Brozek - Narrator – Jeff Gurner (St. Martin’s Press - Macmillan Audiobooks)

As originally envisioned, it was supposed to be, relatively speaking, a quite 100 day deployment to Afghanistan, for the sniper team leader of the 3rd Ranger Battalion. The very personal story that Nicholas Irving details in The Reaper – Autobiography of One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipers, turns out to be anything but quiet.

Irving and the 3rd were sent to what had been a quiet corner of the War on Terror, but their turn in the theater seems to coincide with a heating up in the action; at the start of the story, their boots barely on the ground and they were dropped into an assignment that would earn Irving his first two confirmed kills.

While many of the books in this genre center on a particular battle or the process of becoming a sniper/SEAL/Ranger, Irving places his focus on telling his war stories. The conversational style really lends itself to the audiobook form which makes it all the more compelling. Irving delivers a very real insiders point of view; chock full of realistic emotions, the bravado of war; even to the point of the ridiculous with rumors of hundreds of kills to his credit.

The reality was still a record breaking 33 confirmed kills. His motivation wasn’t what some bloodthirsty psychosis that some anti-war liberals might have you believe, but the very personal desire to protect “my guys” by taking out the bad guys who wanted to do them harm. The very real role of the over watch snipers is a protective one; every bad guy taken out, saves lives.

Irving’s story about finding himself squarely in the crosshairs of a prolific enemy sniper dubbed the Chechen, makes for thrilling listening and really puts things into a different perspective. Irving certainly comes off a normal guy, not the larger than life image often projected in stories about these spec ops warriors, which makes these stories even more realistic.


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