Donavan Campbell did an excellent job in describing the atmosphere of Ar Ramadi back in 2004 and what it was like to lead. He delivers on the Marine Corps' debate on mission accomplishment versus troop welfare. He shows strength and weakness, success and failure, happiness and frustration.
Having been one of the company commanders to replace 2/4 in Ramadi and the Combat Outpost, I can say Campbell's description of the environment was spot on. He helped answer put together some of the pieces that were unknown to me. I found myself laughing and on a few instances crying. Overall - nicely done. S/F
I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.
Donovan, deployed in the spring of 2004 to Ramadi, Iraq, with a platoon of 40 men, was actually excited with the concept of going to war. He had been deployed before but had never experienced vicious attacks from the Taliban. Donovan had never been responsible for the 40 Marines now under his tutelage. However, this tour of duty would make Donovan face the realities of just what war was at its worst.
Donovan and his 40 Marines faced fire fights again and again. He and his men were at the point that they did not want to leave the safety of the command center. The command center wasn't always the safe haven that it had once been. The Taliban would would attack without discretion. Fighting terrorism was quite different from previous wars.
The reality of having two casualties from his own platoon made Donovan stand up straighter and rethink what he would face as the leader of 40 Marines. The fighting was vicious and assaulted Donovan and his men each time they had to face their enemy. There would be times that the Taliban would be silent. However, every time Donovan had to face going out on patrol, he came to know what fear was.
Donovan, having lost many of his original platoon, would lay awake at night rethinking last night's fire fight or what tomorrow night might bring. He started to question his own leadership skills. However, his Marines would always be supportive of their leader.
Brotherhood, Honor and Country was a part of each and every one of Donovan's men as well as himself. However, as Donovan watched his men fight, he came to understand that protecting other Marines, at times putting their own lives in danger, was a constant. His men were always looking from side to side, in front of and behind, scanning to see when and if another "brother" needed help. Donovan and all of the other Marines who would fight, were considered as one of their own. No discrimination, a Marine was a Marine and these men fought together as one.
Reading this memoir made me understand what being a Marine means. Their brotherhood was all encompassing. One Marine may not know another but the uniform they wore was all that one of them needed to see and he was also a member of the brotherhood. On the battlefield and off, they were as one to the other as brothers could be.
The narrator, David Drummond, did a great job. This made listening easy and most enjoyable. The characters were well developed and distinguishable one from the other. One of Donovan's men received the Medal of Honor, posthumously. Donovan would come to what the true meaning of love was. Love, not only for those at home but how he came to love each and everyone of his Marine's. He was a good leader of men. Donovan not only lived and fought with his men, he knew his men. Both their good qualities and bad but somehow Donovan would always find a redeeming factor that would make each man shine.
You will not be disappointed during or after listening to this memoir. Donovan wrote this book to honor each and every man under his command, who fought together in Ramadi, Iraq.
I truly support our fighting men. I was one of them in the 1960's. That said---once you have listened to one of these non fiction Gulf War books you rarely hear anything different to remember from book to book.
I listen to Audible books to be entertained, get educated, or come away with a good feeling for some reason or another. This book did none of that for me. I've heard it all several times before.
It's all blood, guts and misery. War is terrible. The characters are brave young men and it's a shame that they are put through all this hell.
This story really makes you see the devotion and dedication that the speckle have towards their missions and towards each othe, and how when one needs help there are no lines separating Navy, Army, Marines, or Air Force. Only Americans!
I loved how real it was. There was no sugar coating anything - good or bad.
This is a book that everyone should read. It tells what war is really like, from the perspective of a soldier, husband, father, and son. It tells of the things we don't see on the news - how real our soldiers are. They're not all metal and stone, they have feelings and compassion for not only their fellow soldier, but for those they fight for as well.
He did a great job with the different accents!
This book has an excellent tone about it. It talks about politics, personal battles, bravery, idiocy, boredom, craziness, commanders strong and weak, yet without making any of them feel like they dominate the story.
It's a finely balanced story of a Marine Lt. as he attempts to guide a Marine rifle platoon in Iraq while figuring out how to deal with commanders who don't seem to always make sense in a place that makes even less sense.
I generally prefer WWII or Korean war stories, but this is a very good one about Iraq.
If you are not crying by the end of this book, you are not human. If you do not have a deeper respect for the people that volunteer for the Armed Services, you have no soul. This book was well-written and well-read. A good description of the day-to-day activities of marines serving in Iraq. The lieutenant who wrote this book did what all good officers do, he gave full credit to his men for what went well, and took full credit for what went wrong.
Being active duty during this turbulent time in Iraq, I remember the headlines and Fallujah and Ramadi were areas that NO ONE wanted to go. This book was so realistic I may now suffer from PTSD. Good job enjoyed the book.
I wouldn't recommend the book. The protagonist struggles with leadership or what he thinks is leadership. His worries seem to be politically correct concerns that have no place in a battle. I enjoyed the description of the battle and I now better understand the logistics and strategy.
It just needed to end