The Heart and the Fist

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About The Heart and the Fist:

The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL 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, Eric Greitens has seen what can be accomplished when compassion and courage come together in meaningful service.

The paperback edition of The Heart and the Fist features new content, including an afterword in which Eric Greitens provides updates about The Mission Continues, and discusses our country’s progress since the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

As a Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Navy SEAL, Greitens worked alongside volunteers who taught art to street children in Bolivia and led U.S. Marines who hunted terrorists in Iraq. He learned from refugees in Bosnia and Croatia, from survivors of the genocide in Rwanda, and from Navy SEALs who fought in Afghanistan. Greitens was a lieutenant in the Navy SEALs when his platoon was hit by a suicide truck bomb in Fallujah, Iraq in 2007. He took his combat pay and founded The Mission Continues, a non-profit organization that challenges veterans to serve and lead in communities across America. The principal lesson Greitens learned through his unique background in military service and humanitarian work was that in order to create meaningful change, one must be both good and strong.

The Heart and the Fist offers each of us a new way of thinking about living a meaningful life. We learn that to win any war, even one that we wage against ourselves, to create a lasting peace, to save a life, even simply to live with purpose, requires us—every one of us—to be both good and strong.


“Clear-eyed account of a youth devoted to service as a warrior and a humanitarian…A remarkable story told with modesty and grace.”
– Kirkus Reviews

“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, Former NBC News Anchor, and Author

“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.”
– Publisher’s Weekly

“If you worry that America is no longer a home of heroes, come read this book by Eric Greitens…He writes admiringly of the Greek notion of phronesis, practical wisdom – ‘the ability to figure out what to do while at the same time knowing what is worth doing.’ Mr. Greitens has plenty of phronesis.”
– David Gergen, CNN Political Analyst, and Director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School

“A remarkable story you’re not likely to forget.”
– The Washington Post


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