The Heart and the Fist
The education of a humanitarian, the making of a Navy SEAL
By Eric Greitens
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780547424859, 320pp.)
Publication Date: April 11, 2011
THE HEART AND THE FIST shares one man’s story of extraordinary leadership and service as both a humanitarian and a warrior. In a life lived at the raw edges of the human experience, Greitens has seen what can be accomplished when compassion and courage come together in meaningful service.
As a Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL, Greitens worked alongside volunteers who taught art to street children in Bolivia and led US Marines who hunted terrorists in Iraq. He’s learned from nuns who fed the destitute in one of Mother Teresa’s homes for the dying in India, from aid workers who healed orphaned children in Rwanda, and from Navy SEALs who fought in Afghanistan. He excelled at the hardest military training in the world, and today he works with severely wounded and disabled veterans who are rebuilding their lives as community leaders at home.
Greitens offers each of us a new way of thinking about living a meaningful life. We learn that to win any war, even those we wage against ourselves; to create and obtain lasting peace; to save a life; and even, simply to live with purpose requires us—every one of us—to be both good and strong.
Eric Greitens was born and raised in Missouri. After earning a Ph.D. as a Rhodes Scholar and serving as a humanitarian volunteer overseas, Eric joined the Navy SEALs. A boxing champion and a decorated combat veteran, he is the founder of the nonprofit The Mission Continues and the author of the New York Times bestseller The Heart and the Fist.
"If you're in despair about America's future, meet my hero - Eric Greitens.
His life and this book reminds us that America remains the land of the brave and generous.
The heart and fist are just the combination we need." -Tom Brokaw
The Heart and the Fist might have been written in many countries, but its ideals seem to me to be quintessentially American, from and of the United States as she is at her best. That Eric Greitens--Rhodes Scholar, Navy SEAL, international humanitarian worker and founder of the veterans' aid organization, The Mission Continues--is an extraordinary individual goes without saying. But what resounds so powerfully in this book is his consciousness and drive, from the earliest age, not to cash in on his own abundant gifts but to find some path that was worthy of his highest self, some way to be of use, to make a contribution and to really live a life. This is very American. Mr. Greitens combines in one person the warrior ethos of toughness, courage and tenacity with the compassion of the humanitarian. This, too, is very American--not just to win wars or to impose our will or point of view, but to act in the service of others, on their own terms, to put others in touch with their own capacity to manifest this flame that burns so brightly in Mr. Greitens. If you're restless or itching for some calling you can't name, read this book. Give it to your son and daughter. The Heart and the Fist epitomizes--as does Mr. Greitens' life, present and future--all that is best in this country, and what we need desperately right now.- Steven Pressfield, author of Gates of Fire
"Eric Greitens is exactly the kind of citizen-warrior that America needs to fight our wars abroad and to win our battles at home. A man wise enough to lead, courageous enough to fight, and compassionate enough to care, he has written a glorious book about how to live with purpose that should be required reading for every American."-Bobby Muller, Founder of Vietnam Veterans for America and co-founder of the Nobel Peace Prize Winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines
"The Heart and the Fist is a vitally important, powerful book, along the lines of Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence (aka "Lawrence of Arabia"). Filled with adventure, eminently readable, and an incredibly valuable look into the heart and mind of a great man who would serve to guide us into understanding an alien culture.
This book helps to bridge the gap between humanitarian groups and the military (the "heart" and the "fist" ... who are, all too often, truly "alien" to each other!), in the same way that Three Cups of Tea helps bridge the gap between the people of Afghanistan, and those of the West who would assist that nation.
As Three Cups of Tea and Seven Pillars of Wisdom have become mandatory reading in many military organizations, The Heart and the Fist is a seminal, paradigm-shifting work that should be mandatory reading for every military and humanitarian organization who would work together (who must work together!), around the planet, to make our world a better place.
And, even more importantly, this book should be mandatory reading for every citizen who cares about helping others, with our military or with our humanitarian efforts, in a world filled with starvation, suffering, tyranny, oppression and genocide.
This book has turned me into a believer in Eric Greitens' methodology and his cause. Among the first of many to come!" -Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, Lt. Col. USA (ret), author of On Combat and On Killing
"If the United States is going to continue to be the indispensable nation in the 21st century, it is going to require an elite corps of both warriors and humanitarians that combine hard and soft power. Eric Greitens, both in his personal example, and in his book, points the way forward."- Robert D. Kaplan, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, author of "Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power."
"The Heart and The Fist is a defining profile of compassion, courage and commitment that gets to the heart of why we wear the uniform. From combat to the home front, Eric Greitens has demonstrated extraordinary leadership as a Navy SEAL, humanitarian and champion for wounded veterans. His powerful story is testament the service of this Next Greatest Generation that will continue long after the wars end."-Paul Rieckhoff, Founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and author of Chasing Ghosts.
"Few men who become Navy SEALs enter this elite warrior fraternity with a background so rich in compassion, service, and cross-cultural awareness as did Eric Greitens. And few Navy SEALs have served the growing community of wounded warriors with such skill and dedication as has Eric Greitens and The Mission Continues."-Dick Couch, Author of The Warrior Elite and Chosen Soldier"One would have to be mighty cynical to resist the power of Greitens’ experiences, and young Americans would benefit from contemplating his message...A remarkable story told with modesty and grace." - Kirkus Reviews
"A glorious tale of humanity, resolve, and strength, Greitens's book reminds us of how many things we take for granted in our well-ordered lives." -- Publishers Weekly