This book follows a platoon through the invasion of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a lead element of the Marines main thrust, this unit was heavily engaged for the duration of this short conflict.
While similar to many books on warfare in terms of describing the action, the hardships, and the horrors of war, where this story differs is in the mental state of the warriors. It is this revelation that is truly frightening and makes me wonder where the next generation of the USA is headed.
Soldiers of the 1st world war and earlier signed up for the romanticism associated war, and were quickly disillusioned. Soldiers in the 2nd world war signed up reluctantly but with a sense of duty, and soldiers of the Vietnam era went only when forced to. Todays society has Generation Kill, which is an apt name given the obvious relish with which these troops executed their mission and, more disturbingly, with the joy they took in wrecking havoc amongst the civilian population and infrastructure.
Don't get me wrong, I've been in the armed forces for almost 30 years, so I fully understand collateral damage, ROE, and the other myriad of issues that are associated with warfare in areas of civilian populations. What I couldn't understand about these troops was the uninhibited joy in causing destruction. In one example, they go into a school in a city that has been taken and destroy all the computers and infrastructure. Why would anyone do that?
What is also apparent from this story is that the Marines had some serious junior officer leadership challenges. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised, given that this story was written 12 years ago, that the US Armed Forces are now struggling with some fairly serious internal breaches of conduct and behaviour amongst senior officers, as the junior officers and their peers in this book would be the senior officers of today.
This book is a must read for every American, as it provides great insight into the conduct of warfare in our age. Read it, and reflect upon it. It should give you cause for concern.
Hated for it to end!
The memories that flooded back from my time in the Suck!
The passion, I felt as if he was the reporter.
I really enjoyed this book. A very firsthand and unique perspective. The dialogue is about as raw and profane as you can imagine, but it was not a turn off at all for me like it was for some of the other reviewers. This is how these guys talked and that's what is in the book. I never saw any of the HBO series, but I plan on checking it out now. In my opinion the narration was terrible; at least when compared to many other 4/5 star books I have purchased. Though don't let that deter you.... still an excellent listen.
I bought this book because I loved the HBO miniseries that's based on it, and I was not disappointed. Many of the same people and events are here, but because it's a book, not restrained by the pacing of a TV show, the author can spend time giving backstory and describing things in more detail than the show can, so if you like the miniseries you can get a much more fleshed out version of the same story here.
The narrator is good. He puts on different voices for all the characters, a couple of the voices might sound a bit silly (there were one of two where I felt like he was trying to make the person sound really dopey). Still, it's very helpful because there are quite a few characters and this style of narration helps to distinguish them.
Probably the biggest strength of this book is that the author seems to be more interested in getting inside the heads of the soldiers than making any kind of political statement about the war in Iraq or war in general. Depending on your point of view you may see the violence in the book as horrific and pointless, or the grim reality of a necessary and noble cause. The point is you can decide this for yourself, the author won't tell you what to think. He just shows it as it is without shoving any messages in your face. The soldiers aren't glorified or vilified, instead they're portrayed as believable human beings, and are much more relatable because of it.
I got the the audiobook as a result of the HBO miniseries and was not disappointed. The book was a good follow up to the series as it helped to explain the command structure and the relationships better.
First, let me say that I've listened to more than 130 books via Audible. All but a few have been non-fiction, and the vast majority about America's military, war, and American history. Many, many with an emphasis on special operations in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. This is the first book in which I have ever written a review. I was absolutely compelled to do so. Many of the reviews I read (prior to listening) made a conscious note to proclaim how politically neutral this book is. This should have been warning # 1. Warning #2 was that this book was made into an HBO mini-series (the same network that produced a scene in which a decapitated head of George W. Bush's head was used "by accident"??). Those things aside, I decided to listen to the book. Listening, you would think that the heros in one of America's most elite military units are nothing but a bunch of bafoons who don't know how to lead and/or execute orders, and, more importantly, who are a bunch of vigilantes who take pleasure in killing "possibly" innocent civilians. These types of scenarios outnumber the heroic acts of American forces at least 10-1 in this book...and this is in one Batallion alone...and in a very short period of time. War is brutal. Many, many innocent people die. That's the way it is. If this book is politically neutral, you can send me your Christmas list and your presents will be delivered under the tree on December 25. This book is slightly more subtle in it's liberal interpretation than Blackwater. While this author refers (directly, and in his own words) to American forces as "occupiers" and "invaders" on more than one occasion, he stops short of using the term "Imperialist Forces", unlike the aforementioned book. After listening to this book, I did a little more research on the author: He's written (and often received accolades) for his writings in the NY Times, LA Times, Time Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair magazine....You can make your own decision if it's truly politically neutral.
If I were given 10 books to read, this would be the 10th book on my "to do" list.
The narration was fine.
I was more disappointed in the "politically neutral" reviews than anything else. Either people giving these types of reviews have political blinders on or they're completely ignorant...and I don't know now you can be ignorant about a book after reading/listening to it. In either case, they're not being intellectually honest. I'm not sure which is worse.
I was a little skeptical about this book as I had a feeling it was far to the left , Journalism always has me thinking in those lines. I was very much surprised considering the condition of being embedded in an front line Recon unit, I felt it was written in a neutral as could be format about the initial invasion of Iraq, A must read for all those who who live in a fantasy world and reality.The real characters were a interesting bunch as we are so lucky to have these folks to defend our pampered lives. Yes there where bad US recon people too. I felt this was not sugar coated in the least. Interesting how the politics of all our Government resources including this invasion was bureaucratic full of craziness and messed up in the field just like at home. If it wasn't for the people that make up the armed forces we might not of made it as easy to Baghdad.. Foul language is thick in this book but allot of people don't want reality to begin with, Good Luck to us all in the coming years. CC
I listened 3 times. This book is one of my "cult classics" already.
narration is excellent. Well written. I need more of this style.
I loved to read but, I received one too many concussions in the service. Thankfully there's Audible. I'm a huge Sci Fi/Fantasy fan.
This is my all-time favorite audiobook, I'm not sure how many times I've listened to it but if I had to guess it would be around 15. The funny thing is I've re-listened to this book more in the short time I've had it than I have Dune, which I listen to every 4-5 years.
The story is bare bones and as gritty as the desert the war was fought in. I've caught interviews with the men this book is written about and they all agree that it's a clear and truthful re-telling of the events that happened during the initial invasion of Iraq. I often tell young service members to have their spouse read/listen to this book to give them an idea of what may be going to happen.
This is a fairly heavy topic and yet he was able to bring out those moments of humor that pop up and keep us sane.
Being former military and Special Operations I loved the way it showed how singing is used as a stress reliever when you're board but, need to stay alert.
I believe that, in time, this book will take its place along with "Catch 22" and "For Whom The Bell Tolls".
I have read the book, watched the HBO mini-series, and listened to the audio book. I love this story. The characters, real Marines, come to life in this book. Evan Wright did an outstanding job explaining each person he spent time with. I think that some of the video game references might have out shined the meaning of the book in mainstream media, but these guys felt very real to me.
That is a difficult question to answer because the other books in this genre that I have read were written by the soldiers themselves and did not have the same broad spectrum insight that Wright gave in his book. I totally love the war themed genre though.
Probably, Person's Rip Fuel rants. All of them were funny.
It would have to be the familial bond that happened to theses guys after going through hell together.
If you are going to listen to this at work, please use headphones. I ticked off my boss unknowingly by listening to it in my work room. I did not know that his office was directly under my work space. A lot of F-bombs.