Smith writes in a folksy, manly voice—as if he were saying, “gather round, boys, and I’ll tell you a story about daring, heroism and doing the right thing, even when the world seems bent on doing wrong.”

It’s a captivating tale with an admiring take on Tillman and a bold approach to both his portrayal and his death by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004. We liked his use of Russ Baer as a lens on the story. The roundedness of the narrative is admirable, with its consistent themes and strong sense of arrival at the end.

We found ourselves thinking about Tillman, his complicated character, for days after reading the piece. We felt that Smith might have handled Tillman’s complexity with a bit more detachment; nevertheless it’s a powerful, masterful narrative.

Read “Remember His Name,” by Gary Smith

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