According to Cynical Historian "He (Chris Kyle) was definitely a liar, exaggerated his own exploits and brash in exposition".

However, I couldn't find any article that focused on the book's inaccuracies, only the movie's. What were these lies and exaggerations, Cynical Historian was talking about?

  • I've added a link to the Cynical Historian YouTube video I think you're referring to. Feel free to replace the link if it's incorrect. – sempaiscuba Nov 26 '17 at 19:58
  • @sempaiscuba yep, I was referring to that one. – Mephistopheles Nov 26 '17 at 20:10
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    There's the obvious one about Jesse Ventura which resulted in a law suit. However, the book was ghost written by two professional writers, Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice, so some of the apparent brashness may be a result of their style. Also one should always take war stories with a pinch of salt who ever is writing them. – Steve Bird Nov 26 '17 at 20:23

As an American, this is a tough one, because I have a lot of respect for what that man did. According to Navy records, he earned a silver star and three bronze stars. I know one silver star veteran personally, and he's frankly a better man than I'll ever be. There have been books (plural) written about the action where he earned it. They don't give those stars out in cereal boxes.

That being said, its a matter of record that in his book he claimed to have earned two silver stars and five bronze stars. So either there are somehow secret classified medals, which seems unlikely, or he lied.

We also know one other incident in the book was likely not true, because Kyle lost a defamation lawsuit over it, and the gist of the suit was that the entire incident never happened. This and a couple of other unlikely incidents he reported are the subject of a very interesting Snopes article, the verdict of which was "Mostly False"*.

If he exaggerated his medal count, which is easily traceable, and we know one other account in the book was at least partially made up, and a couple more outside of the book, it seems incredibly naïve to maintain that the rest of his account in that book, which would be less traceable, was entirely truthful.

* - h/t to Steve Bird in the comments

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  • There's also the case of the looters and carjackers that he claimed to have killed (outside of the book), which pose other questions about his credibility. – Steve Bird Nov 27 '17 at 13:43
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    Interesting, part of the article you linked notes that Kyle’s DD214 actually shows more awards then listed. – justCal Nov 27 '17 at 13:44
  • @justCal - ...and its a different (now third) number of bronze stars. I saw that too. If the number wasn't different, I'd be sorely tempted to think it was an honest mistake of some kind (like his superiors in the field told him he had that number, and he believed them). – T.E.D. Nov 27 '17 at 13:58
  • @SteveBird - Came across the carjacker story while researching this. It was a very unlikely story to start with, and it was reported in such a way that the reporter seemed to be absolving themselves of culpability if it turned out to be false, which should always be a big red flag. Didn't see the Snopes bit though. IMHO the bit in there about sniping from the roof of the Superdome, as someone who has studied Katrina intensely, is particularly ridiculous (and slipping in toward racist), so I'm surprised nobody brought that up. – T.E.D. Nov 27 '17 at 14:06
  • Once you get it in your head that, whatever his good qualities, he was also likely in the habit of inventing self-promoting stories, it really does make you wonder how far down the rabbit-hole goes. For example, was there any truth to the stories about the enemy having a bounty on him, or having a special name for him, or could he have made that up too? Could a really skilled pathological liar talk himself into the actual medals he did get? What if its all a lie? – T.E.D. Nov 27 '17 at 14:19

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