Books in Review
by Adrienne Petterson 2005

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Shooter - The Biography of the Top-Ranked Marine Sniper
by Gunnery Sgt. Jack Coughlin, USMC, and Capt. Casey Kuhlman, USMCR, with Donald A. Davis
St. Martin's Press
ISBN 0-312-33685-3
Published May 2005 - Hardcover - 304 pages - $24.95

Sniper is not a profession that readily comes to mind when naming jobs.  Now I know why - it's really not an easy thing to do.  This is the story of Gunnery Sgt. Jack Coughlin, a veteran sniper for the Marines, and Capt. Casey Kuhlman, also a marine.  Think about what a sniper does.  Apart from being an expert marksman, this job cannot be easy, for many reasons, and this book explains why.  Coughlin tells a touching story of his father's work ethic, which he in turn learned, his own passion for baseball, how he was nearly blinded by a sharp stone thrown by neighborhood kids, and how he joined the Marines at nineteen where he discovered he was a great marksman despite never having used a gun before.  There's more to being a sniper and his comment, "...there is no such thing as a stupid sniper," resonates well throughout the book.  He discovered the academics were intensive and only part of "sixteen-hour days that also included backbreaking physical exercise," that went into the making of a marine.  His account of the beginning of the Iraqi war and his not being allowed to be the sniper he was trained to be, is riveting.  War doesn't enthrall me but I found Coughlin's firsthand account of the trecherous active duty, compelling.  It's written is easy-to-understand language and the Iraq war takes on a whole new meaning.  Impersonal television shots of bombs and missiles exploding become just another flash on the screen - reading the written words of a survivor adds a new dimension to the war.  I don't mean to glamorize war - I hate war - but I found this book so very intriguing and hugely explanatory.
Conclusion - Highly recommended for both women and men.


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