I’ve been finished with Jon Krakauer’s Where Men Win Glory for over a week now. But this is one of those books that stirs up emotions, ones like anger and frustration, and it took me some time to figure out what exactly I want to say.

Jon Krakauer has covered in other books a fundamentalist Mormon sect murder, the 1996 Everest disaster, and the story of an Emory University kid trying to make it in the wilds of Alaska.  I read and really liked all of those books, so when I saw Where Men Win Glory on a recent bookstore trip, I picked it up without hesitation.

You probably remember the story of Pat Tillman.  He was the Arizona Cardinals football player, who left behind  a fairly lucrative NFL career to enlist, with his brother Kevin, in the Army after 9/11.  After a tour first in Iraq, Tillman was killed by friendly fire during his last tour in Afghanistan.

In true form, Krakauer provides a thorough history of Pat Tillman, from his early sports days to the time he spent in Juvenile Hall for fighting, to his relationship with friends and family, and of course his decision to enlist and all its repercussions.

Also in true form, Krakauer lays out the very facts that incited the anger and frustration I felt when I was reading this book.  I remember bits and pieces of the story but when it broke, I was working some crazy hours and not paying too much attention to the news. I missed the full ramifications of the story. Reading this, I finally understood.

So what brought on the anger and frustration?  Two things: Krakauer explains how the Army completely failed to follow protocol, thereby failing Tillman’s company, and of course, Tillman himself. Then, the whole cover up that ensued after his death, a cover up that reached all the way to White House Staffers. Had Tillman’s family not been who they are, we might never have known about the fratricide.

This is what Krakauer does best. He weaves the history and backstory into the crux of the real story. He presents his facts and interviews and stirs the emotions in his readers.  In Into Thin Air, you feel the desperation of those stranded on Everest, and in Where Men Win Glory, you feel the anger, frustration, and determination of the Tillman family in the aftermath of his death.

Krakauer writes non-fiction, but his books read like novels.  He takes an unusual circumstance and weaves facts together in a way that keeps the reader turning the page, wanting to know what happens next, even if we already know the outcome of the story.