“Way Of The Reaper” by Nicholas Irving is presented in a similar fashion to the old TV “Combat” series. Readers can experience the dangers of the mission that snipers must face, seeing the war through a sniper’s scope. They are also being placed in the heart of the battle. The book confirms the U.S. military values of honor, courage, loyalty, and commitment.
Nicholas Irving spent six years in the Army’s Special Operations 3rd Ranger Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment, serving from demolitions assaulter to master sniper. He was the first African American to serve as a sniper in his battalion. He set a record for enemy kills on a single mission, killing 33 over a four-month period. This book is the sequel to the New York Times bestseller, “The Reaper,” where he recounts his ten greatest sniper kill missions. Readers will get an insight into the art of being a sniper: the necessity of support from the intelligence reports to his own reconnaissance, and the skills needed of determining trajectory, wind, and distance.
“We use the same skills as an athlete, observing closely and making educated guesses,” he said. “A baseball hitter must guess the pitch location and type. A chess player must be three moves ahead to anticipate their opponent’s moves. We block out the senses and focus like athletes block out the crowd.”
As with “American Sniper’s” Chris Kyle, Irving makes no apologies for taking the life of someone who is threatening his fellow soldiers, and agrees with Kyle that he sees himself as a guardian angel sent to protect his teammates.
“I actually refer to myself as ‘the mother hen.’ I was given the nickname of the Reaper because I batted 1,000 in hitting my targets,” Irving said. “My peers saw me as ‘the Angel of Death.’ The motto that snipers live by is ‘without warning; without remorse.’ We are hidden and there is no warning when we will fire and I do not feel bad about it. For me, I never worried if the bad guys are wearing a protective vest because of the high caliber rounds. If they have a vest my attitude was, ‘there is no such thing as a bulletproof facemask.’”
He also explains in the book how those fighting are disgusted with political correctness. Speaking about someone in his unit who was wounded, Irving observed “how we treated their wounded (The Taliban) and how they would most likely let us suffer and then die a horribly painful death.” It should make Americans wonder if the rules of engagement are one-sided, putting the enemy ahead of our own military personnel.
This book has interesting and gritty stories about his time as a direct action sniper. Readers get to feel they are part of the battles as if they were Irving’s spotter.