Selecting high and low points from his experiences as a child, college student, teacher, refugee-camp worker, amateur boxer, Rhodes scholar, Navy SEAL and worker with disabled vets, Greitens both charts his philosophical evolution and challenges young readers to think about “a better way to walk in the world.”
Revising extracts from his memoir The Heart and the Fist (2011) and recasting them into a more chronological framework, the author tells a series of adventuresome tales. These are set in locales ranging from Duke University to Oxford, from a low-income boxing club to camps in Rwanda and Croatia, from a group home for street children in Bolivia to a barracks hit by a suicide bomber in Iraq. Prefacing each chapter with a provocative “Choose Your Own Adventure”–style scenario (“What do you do?”), he describes how similar situations ultimately led him to join the military, impelled by a belief that it’s better to help and protect others from danger than to provide aid after the fact. What sets his odyssey apart from Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin’s I Am a SEAL Team Six Warrior (2012) and most other soldiers' stories is an unusual ability to spin yarns infused with not only humor and memorable lines (SEAL training’s notorious Hell Week was “the best time I never want to have again”), but cogent insights about character and making choices that don’t come across as heavy-handed advice.
An uncommon (to say the least) coming-of-age, retraced with well-deserved pride but not self-aggrandizement, and as thought-provoking as it is entertaining. (endnotes, bibliography [not seen]) (Memoir. 14-18)