This book is a modern exploration of the ancient hero archetype, with Pat Tillman's life journey as a well-known example. The narrative also gave me a better understanding of the male need to prove oneself in battle. I still think it's foolish, for I would never intentionally place myself in harm's way. But at least I can now see the primal drive that makes men rush to recruiting offices when war is declared. There's also a lot of important history here regarding America's friend-enemy relationship with Afghanistan, and how the CIA and U.S. military long ago created the cesspool we are now drowning in. Krakauer is an outstanding researcher and reporter of facts. Woe to those with something to hide when he sets out to expose the truth. All is laid bare here, and it's tragic. The bungled operations, deliberate concealment, and outright lies surrounding Pat Tillman's death by friendly fire show the self-serving insensitivity and total lack of integrity of the Bush administration/military---from the top right on down to the lowest guys who wouldn't even tell Kevin Tillman that his brother was dead. Minus one star only because there's quite a lot of Pat's early history that wasn't strictly necessary. I found myself scanning through large portions involving play-by-play of football games, etc.