The Heart and the Fist

5 stars

By Eric Greitens

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Date: April 11, 2011
Edition: Illustrated
ISBN13: 9780547424859
ISBN: 054742485X

A very worthwhile read. This is not a gungho description of military action but is the story of a man’s personal experience as a humanitarian and a US Navy SEAL. The gist of his story was not so much an autobiography but a story of a journey to understanding. The author as a young man travels the world doing humanitarian work and begins to understand that helping after the fact is not the answer but that the horrible acts of man that lead to the necessity of humanitarian aid need to be stopped before they happen. That is the reason that he becomes a SEAL. The author explains his philosophy of ways that humanitarians and the military alike could make changes and do a better job at both ends of the dilemma. During the course of the book, he also illustrates what it means to be a man whether he intends that message or not.

This is a book that anyone who is searching for some way to serve, to have an impact on the world, to achieve something important with their life would benefit from reading. I believe that a person searching for such meaning could come away from this book with a reinforced commitment to finding their personal mission and following after it.

As to the book itself, it was well written and easy to read. Each episode was interesting and full of details that made the episodes easy to visualize. It did not bog down anywhere and the reader got a very broad view of the different types of humanitarian efforts that go on in the world as well as a very good overview of what the SEALs and other special operations soldiers do.

This book was provided for me free for review from the publisher.