Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman
This edition has been updated to reflect new developments and includes new material obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Pat Tillman walked away from a multimillion-dollar NFL contract to join the Army and became an icon of post-9/11 patriotism. When he was killed in Afghanistan two years later, a legend was born. But the real Pat Tillman was much more remarkable, and considerably more complicated than the public knew... A stunning account of a remarkable young man's heroic life and death, from the bestselling author of Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, and Under the Banner of Heaven. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The curriculet is being added to your library
This Latin phrase means "persons of the drama." It is commonly used at the beginning of a theatrical work to list all the important characters that you will encounter in this story. This story, though, is non-fiction. Consider for a moment why Jon Krakauer would use this literary term in a non-fiction work.
Preface to the Anchor Edition
When reading non-fiction work, it's important to consider the author's overarching purpose. Based on what you've read in this preface, what do you think Krakauer's main purpose is? Does his purpose seem controversial?
Below is a map of Afghanistan. The Khost Province is highlighted in red. (This annotation contains an image)
As you encounter unfamiliar words, be sure to utilize the "Define" tool in this Curriculet. To use this tool, simply click on any word, and select "Define." A list of definitions will appear for most words. Try this tool out with the word "hamlet" in the text to the left.
Which of the following statements BEST describes the relationship between Uthlaut's convoy and the commanders in their military headquarters?
Taking the high-ground is a common military tactic. Being at a higher elevation than one's enemy gives you an advantage. Your defense position is easy to maintain because you can remain where you are, but your enemy has to go against gravity to get uphill. Many famous battles have been fought on hills, including the Battle of Bunker Hill, which was fought in Boston at the beginning of the American Revolution. The fact that Uthlaut's men will be going uphill creates an even more ominous situation.
A side-by-side image of Patrick Tillman is shown below. (This annotation contains an image)
This highlighted description of Patrick Tillman highlights his _______ as a soldier in the military.
Take a moment and think about the accusations that Krakauer is leveling against Tillman's unit and the military as a whole. The whole premise of this book is based on this idea--Pat was a hero who died in an unfortunate way that revealed the ugly side of military bureaucracy and government secrets. As you read, we will look at the evidence that Krakauer provides and evaluate it to see if it is enough to prove his point.
What is Krakauer's opinion about the general coverage that Tillman received following his death?
This quoted passage from Susan Neiman's Moral Clarity is an example of an epigraph--a quote or longer passage at the beginning of a book, chapter, or even a poem that connects to a theme or central idea in the work. Take a moment and think about why Krakauer suggests about Tillman in this passage. You can be sure that in this next section Krakauer will attempt to justify this position.
Which of the following lines from the text BEST supports the idea that Pat exemplified perseverance?
Marxism is a political theory that suggests that a society with a divided social, like the rich and the poor, the poor will eventually rise up and show the wealthy that they have power. This will create a society where everyone has equal access to property and opportunities. This is called communism.
What does Krakauer imply about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan?
Pay attention to how Krakauer is starting to connect the dots here. We are told during the beginning of the book where Tillman dies. We also are beginning to see how the foundation was set for a war that eventually we would fight. Why do you think Krakauer is taking the time to provide this background information about Afghanistan instead of just focusing on Tillman's life?
An anti-aircraft Stinger is shown below. Why do you think America provided so much assistance to Afghanistan during this war? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does America become so heavily involved in making sure Afghanistan defeats the Soviets?
As this first chapter comes to an end, take a moment and think about the tone that Krakauer uses towards the United States government and their actions in Afghanistan during the Cold War. What three things does he imply about the United States' based on their decisions to withdraw?
How does Krakauer establish a more refined concept about Tillman's fortitude?
Sometimes the cultural differences of foreign and obscure places don't translate well into our American view of what's right and wrong. Krakauer explains here how we should not judge shocking cultural practices that we learn about because if we look at the essence of those practices, they are similar to practices of our own. Do you think the analogies he offers here clearly support his point of view? As you read on, we will examine how Krakauer builds his arguments and whether or not they are clear, convincing, and engaging.
Based on the context that surrounds the word "pere," it MOST likely means?
Although this story about Pat Tillman's life is considered non-fiction, Krakauer still uses a structure that one might find in a literary work--a parallel plot. As you read on, we will also examine how Krakauer takes two different ideas--Pat's development and the political development of Afghanistan--and shows how they interact and develop. In what ways has he already shown the connection between Pat and Afghanistan ?
Which of the following is NOT an effect of the end the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan?
Here is a video clip from a news channel's coverage of the 1993 bombing. Although Krakauer does not explicitly say so, what does he imply about America's reaction to this event. (This annotation contains a video)
Although Krakauer focuses on Tillman's physical prowess and athletic achievements, what other attribute does he MOST highlight that contrasts with his ruthless athletic drive?
Krakauer's portrait of Tillman depends on more than just facts--it depends on rhetoric. Krakauer has to carefully select the right details and use them in an effective way to make points. Watch the following video on rhetoric. As you read on, we will look at Krakauer's use of rhetoric to make points about Tillman and other main concepts. In what way does this anecdote about Pat's fight affect your view of Pat's courage? (This annotation contains a video)
The purpose of this story about Pat's fight is MOST likely meant to show which of the following?
As Krakauer portrays the impact that Tillman had upon others, he uses this story about Erin's response to Tillman's death. Which type of rhetorical technique do you think Krakauer uses here to convince about Tillman's impact? Does he use facts and reasoning? Does he appeal to your emotions? Does he establish his authority to talk about Tillman?
Why does Krakauer's brief explanation of the formation of the Taliban MOST likely have a surprising effect on the reader?
An image of Mullah Omar is shown below. (This annotation contains an image)
Many historians, such as Krakauer, point out times in history when poor decisions are made. A central idea in this text is that America (and other Western countries) make several errors in judgment about the possible consequences of certain political attitudes and decisions. What poor political stance does America make here?
Which central idea is BEST supported by the details provided in this passage?
This incident propelled the Gulf War, which sent American troops to fight a war that, according to Krakauer's research, could have been fought by Osama bin Laden. Part of Krakauer's purpose in writing this story about Tillman's life is to not just document Tillman's story, but show his perspective on the events that have highlighted American foreign affairs for the last twenty years.
Krakauer's portrayal of Tillman's mistakes and America's parallel each other. How are their mistakes similar to each other? How are they different? Also, what role does hindsight play in the interpretation of these events?
What inference can be drawn about Pat based on his conversation with his coach about redshirting for the Arizona State football team?
As you learn more about Tillman, Krakauer continues to provide stories and quotes from other people in Tillman's life that point to the "dichotomy" that Marie explains. How convincing is Krakauer's portrayal of this dichotomy? Do you think he provides enough evidence to believe that this is really who Tillman was?
What central idea do the details in this passage MOST strongly develop?
Take a moment and look at the structure of Krakauer's story. At times, he tells events very horizontally, moving quickly through time covering events with only necessary details and main points. At other times, he goes deeper with some events, and freezes almost at moments in time, like this football game, to give more details. What effects does the more vertical approach have on you as a reader? How does it better help you understand Tillman?
Which of the following reoccurring events seems to MOST inspire Pat to success?
Take a moment and think about how Tillman earned his spot at starting safety for the Arizona cardinals. What does he do that helps him achieve such unexpected success?
How does this metaphor apply to the history of Afghanistan that Krakauer delineates in the first part of this story?
Unlike most battles that are fought in the sea or on land, the Afghanistan terrain is full of mountains, caves, and geographical features that American soldiers did not know. A picture of a tunnel in Zawar Kili is shown below. (This annotation contains an image)
Which central idea is BEST supported by the details that Krakauer reveals about Pat's actions in the first year after his NFL career?
What do these risky acts make you think of Pat? The author's opinion is not clear. He simply states what Pat did and how others respond. What is your opinion of Pat's actions? Does he sound foolish and reckless? Or do you think this is proof of an unbelievable kind of courage and fearlessness?
How does Krakauer's use of Garwood's story about Pat MOST convey a sense of beauty about Pat's life?
How well do you think Krakauer presents a robust portrait of Tillman? Do you think he paints a one sided-portrait of him? Or do you think it is balanced and includes the good, the bad, and the ugly? Think about the details you've learned about Pat so far and what kind of spin Krakauer has put on them.
What is the underlying conflict that Pat faces at the beginning of the 2000 NFL season?
Can you sense the escalating tension in this story between Osama bin Laden's rise to power and Pat Tillman's rise to fame? Take a moment and think about how Krakauer creates a growing sense of tension between these two parallel plots.
What is the MAIN purpose of retelling the controversy and apparent injustice that surrounded the Gore and Bush presidential election?
Reread the highlighted passage. Krakauer provides a poignant summary of Pat's life. In what ways does Pat already find it "nearly impossible to resist appeals to his sense of decency and justice?"
What central idea do the details in this passage meant to MOST emphasize?
The interview with Tillman is an example of how Krakauer uses _______ to persuade you about how serious Tillman was about "making changes in his life."
Do you remember seeing this speech? What events do you remember from 9/11? Put yourself in the shoes of Americans and think for a moment about how people felt and what young courageous men from this time in history might want to do after President Bush's speech.
What advantage, as Krakauer has mentioned several times before, do the Taliban have in fighting this war?
Part I Quiz
Pat writes this journal entry to explain his reasons for leaving football and joining the military. He cites several reasons, in fact, but which points does he emphasize most strongly about why he made this decision?
Why do Kevin and Pat's parents and loved ones disagree so strongly with the brothers' decision?
Krakauer includes journal entries throughout this work. Why do you think he uses the primary source documents? What impact do they have on how you come to understand Pat?
Which of the following is NOT something that surprises Pat upon entering the military?
Pat Tillman and his wife, Marie, are shown here at their wedding. (This annotation contains an image)
Pat's journal entry MOST clearly shows
Take a moment and identify the tone that Pat uses in his journal entry. How would you define his tone? Why do you think he feels this way? What particular details lead you to believe this?
What is the MAIN reason Pat is so disgusted with his time spent in the army?
As you read this description of Pat and Marie's reunion, take note of how Krakauer slightly shifts the style of his writing. Most of what he says about Pat is matter-of-fact. The language and tone used in the highlighted passages, though, are different. Why do you think Krakauer shifts his style in this passage? What effects do you think he wants to have on you?
What political opinion does Krakauer make through the story about the Bush administration and Pat's response to the war in Iraq?
The passages from Ralph Waldo Emerson that are quoted here touch upon the themes that surround Tillman's life. What central ideas does this passage bring up in regards to Pat's life? Does this passage help you see Pat more clearly or does it confuse your view of who he is?
Which of the following central ideas is NOT further developed in this chapter?
We know that eventually Lynch's story ties into the narrative about Tillman. What other purpose, though, do you think Tillman has in elaborating so much about her convoy's failed mission and her capture?
Krakauer's story about the "bogus" details surrounding Jessica Lynch's rescue is MOST likely meant to develop which central idea?
As you read a historian's work, you must evaluate claims, too. Krakauer is obviously critical of the Bush administration and has, on multiple occasions, accused his cabinet and closest personnel of lying and propagandizing to justify an unjust war. How well does Krakauer provide evidence to justify his own perspective on the war? Do you think his claims have ulterior motives or his providing an objective view of history?
What is the central reason the convoy finds itself in so much trouble in Ambush Alley?
One central idea--the consequences of undermining one's enemy--consistently appears throughout this story. In thinking about the entire story up to this point, in what other ways have the Americans suffered because of preventable miscalculations? How do you think this central idea will play into the death of Tillman?
Why does this story provide credence to the tragedy surrounding Tillman's death?
As Krakauer recounts the fiasco that led to the friendly fire on Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie company, it becomes clear where communication and leadership both break down--a theme that is consistently seen throughout this story. What details from this story provide the most evidence of how leadership and communication erode very quickly in this battle?
The image below shows this cannon that is attached to a Warthog. Notice the size of these bullets, and imagine these being shot out at 65 per second around you. (This annotation contains an image)
The video below shows an A10 Warthog dropping a missile in an air show to demonstrate the power of these bombs. Imagine this in the context of these helpless soldiers. (This annotation contains a video)
The gory details, though difficult to read, are part of Krakauer's rhetorical strategy in this story. The use of these disturbing images is an example of
Take note of this comment. It is a central idea that is at the heart of Krakauer's main message about the death of Tillman.
What kind of structure does Krakauer use to prove his central idea about the deceit surrounding the Bush administration's portrayal of the war? He makes statements and then supports them with primary source documents, like quotes from military leaders. He also uses secondary sources, such as the article from Rolling Stone magazine. Consider how effective these two types of documents are in advancing his points.
Why do Tillman's remarks about the nature of the P.O.W. rescue provide a convincing argument for the deceptiveness of the military?
Duty is a central idea in this story about Tillman's life. How does this war, though, challenge his view of duty? What evidence does Krakauer provide that convinces you that Tillman's view of himself and war has significantly changed?
What is the MAIN reason Osama bin Laden so pleased with Bush's decision to invade Iraq?
Part II Quiz
Noam Chomsky (shown below) is an American philosopher and political activist, who is known throughout the world as one of the most intellectual men of his time. He has taken many anti-war stances against American military war efforts, and has spoken out agains the propaganda of the American military. It's interesting that Tillman, a soldier, who is actively serving in a war, would have such a strong interest in this individual. (This annotation contains an image)
How has Tillman changed MOST noticeably before his departure to Afghanistan?
Tillman is a rugged soldier, but his soft side has been consistently portrayed throughout this story. To think that this is his last recorded thought creates a somber mood to the story. What other effect do the details in this passage have on your perception of Pat?
Tillman's lack of actual conflict in the war BEST relates to which of the following central ideas?
Krakauer offers more reasons to be critical of the Bush administration. Although he doesn't provide any quantitative data to prove his points, he uses other rhetorical techniques. How would explain to someone how Krakauer uses ethos and pathos to advance his opinions?
Fuller's testimony creates a sense of _____ in Krakauer's argument that the military leaders make uncalculated decisions.
Although you know the outcome of this story, and that Tillman dies on this mission, Krakauer still creates tension. Which details from the story do you think most contribute to the ominous mood in this chapter? What emotions are stirred in you as you watch this unfold?
This section of the book explores the moments surrounding Pat's death. Why does Krakauer, then, focus his story on the platoon that was NOT with Pat in the canyon?
Predator drones, like the one shown below, are unmanned, fighter jets. They are built for stealth operations, but also allow the military to go farther into enemy territory without risking soldiers' lives. (This annotation contains an image)
Which central idea does the highlighted passage MOST contribute to in this story?
How convincing are the primary source testimonies that Krakauer has woven into this narrative? Remember that his point is to prove, first, that Tillman was killed by friendly fire. How well is he doing so far?
What is the MAIN reason Alders' testimony provides a convincing account of why Tillman's death is considered, by some, to be foul-play?
First-person testimonies provide some of the strongest, most convincing pieces of evidence in a case because of the pathos that they are likely to create. In what ways do these testimonies shape the way you understand and feel about these events surrounding Tillman's death?
Part Three ends on a very somber note, but what major critical opinion crescendos at the end of this section?
Have you ever experienced grief like this? If you have, it's not fun. Everyone responds differently, though, and Krakauer makes it a point to show the variety of reactions from Tillman's family.
What does Krakauer suggest through the first "irregular turn" in the investigation of Tillman's death?
As you read this section, keep a mental list of all the ways the military broke protocol surrounding Tillman's death, autopsy, and reports to his family and others. Why do you think the military is working so hard to cover up Tillman's death?
Which of the following is NOT a method that was used to cover up Tillman's death?
The article linked in this annotation was written within a month of Tillman's death. Read the article. Does this coverage make you suspect a government cover-up? How does it differ from the story Krakauer tells us? (This annotation contains a link)
What makes Captain Scott's 15-6 investigation ironic?
Cowardice is an importance idea in this story. In what ways does this cover-up and the response to communicating the truth about Tillman's death reveal cowardice?
Which central idea is BEST supported by the contents of Alders' letter and Krakauer's assessment of this letter?
The language used in this passage implies
The video below provides interesting coverage about this incident. (This annotation contains a video)
Watch the video below. How is the Tillman family's response to the deceit surrounding Pat's death, similar to the way Pat lived his life? Think about how Krakauer uses the details from interviews and other primary source material to reveal the resolve of the Tillman family. (This annotation contains a video)
Define the highlighted word. In what does this word help define the actions of the Army? Have you ever used casuistry to escape punishment or avoid directly answering a question?
What do Krakauer's implications ultimately suggest?
How does the central idea of disillusionment play out in this story? Think about all the people who are disillusioned, and why they are this way. One of Krakauer's main goals in this story is to show how deep this disillusionment went. Does he do a good job portraying it?
Many members of Pat's team had to deal with the grief. The video below summarizes Pat's story, and also offers a short clip of an interview with one soldier who may have killed Tillman. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following BEST characterizes the legacy that Pat left behind?
The military investigators reenacted the events surrounding Tillman's death. This is what this scene looked like. Notice the distance of the humvee in the background and the size of the boulders. Is this different than what you imagined? (This annotation contains an image)
The details in this passage are meant to convey the _________ of the war in Afghanistan.
The conflict between the American military and the Pakistani and al-Qaeda alliance is taking place because Pakistan needs the Taliban and al-Qaeda for its own protection. It is a mutually beneficial relationship. Krakauer minces no words when he discusses the futility of American involvement in this area. Like Pat, more soldiers die everyday in a war that many feel America does not need to fight. After reading through this story, how convincing is Krakauer's belief that America is fighting a pointless war?
Part III Quiz