This is the real deal. What was endured and what is told here reveals an important and overlooked aspect of what it was really like on the ground in Iraq. Learn something of the sacrifices, the bonds, and the stress of facing the unknown-- the chaos. It is gripping, poignant, and at times, funny. But it is not for the faint of heart. If you're familiar with or interested in this type of genre / military memoirs, this will not disappoint. It definitely provided a deeper insight into the Army than other flashier titles from those of the Special Operations communities; I enjoy all of them though.
This book was incredible. It captured the real military "hurry up and wait" in the beginning, and then once the action started, you can't turn it off. It's a combat narrative that is written by SSGT David Bellavia... a true hands-on account of the battle of Fallujah and how this Army Infantry Platoon was performing an 11 day house to house search to drive Enemy Forces out of the city. There are times where you feel that the author isn't going to make it out of the situation, then you remember, Wait, he wrote the book! It's gripping!!! This guy killed FIVE insurgents in what came down to hand to hand combat, along with countless others throughout the city during the push that left them surrounded and far ahead of all other forces entering the area.
From entire houses rigged to explode when entered, to straight up ambushes and assaults by the enemy. SSGT Bellavia earned The Bronze Star, The Silver Star and the Conspicuous Service Cross (New York State's highest military honor).
This book will keep you glued to it until the last page is turned. Truly a great book and I will read it again!
SSGT David Bellavia... a true American Hero who never gave up no matter what the enemy threw at him.
I wish I had the time to listen to the entire book all in one sitting. I found myself looking for opportunities and time to listen to more each day!
Absolutely! It is a phenomenal story of battle and brotherhood, read by (in my humble opinion) the finest audio book narrator EVER.
The sense of the author as a human shines through. I love the camaraderie the men share, and the lengths they are willing to go to for one another. War is terrible, but for some men it brings out the very best of human nature. Absolutely incredible. And even with the serious subject matter, there were several times I laughed out loud!
You are probably all tired of hearing me say that Ray Porter is the God of Audio. TOUGH!! I'm gonna say it again!! With his masterful telling of the story, each character is immediately recognizable and you get a real sense of the person. Mr. Porter, if you ever read these reviews, I'd like to personally thank you for the hundreds of hours we've spent together. You are a genius!
Yes, but circumstances dictated otherwise. I will listen to this book again.
Want to know what a stand up guy Mr. Bellavia is? He was awarded the Silver Star for his actions during the second Battle of Fallujah and he never once refers to that award in the book. Instead he focuses on the bravery of his comrades while openly discussing his own perceived shortcomings and fears. He is a true Hero. Bless you, Sergeant Bellavia.
I'd recommend it to any friend who is not squeamish about profanity and blood. This is an exceptional first hand account of the war in Iraq. It was stunning in its detail and emotion.
The entire Battle of Falujah.
My extreme reaction came when I was on a long drive and, upon getting to the end of part 1, realized that I had not downloaded part 2 yet. I was so immersed that I desperately wanted to keep listening. Otherwise, the book reinforces the truism that "war is hell" and the books dispels any notion that Iraq was any less of a hell than other wars.
If you can handle the profanity and the graphic accounts of warfare and bloodshed, this is a great book. I would not recommend for any child, unless they are considering a career in the military, in which case I think it would prepare them for what might come.
Serious about gadgets
No, but only because it is such a vivid portrayal of the work of infantrymen in an urban warfare environment. I was exhausted and angry after listening to the book because we gave up Fallujah and the rest of Iraq without a whimper.
There are almost too many to mention but the one that stands out is the blackly humorous description of SSgt Bellavia trying to tell his angry commander that one casualty had shrapnel in his penis while simultaneously trying to keep this information from the wounded soldier. The other was the scene where a REMF (rear echelon MF)
Ray Porter's narration of this book was superb. Probably the best narrated book of the HUNDREDS I have listened to over the years.
Gritty tale of the the Army's often overlooked role in the battle of Fallujah. While we celebrate the glamour of special operations units in war. The line infantry is repeatedly neglected. This story provides a good perspective on the experience of a line infantry company completely ensconced in battle for 30 days. It will hold your attention.
At the end, I sense that SSG Bellavia (as many soldiers do) was longing for the intensity and comradeship of his battle mates. After all, soldiers don't fight for the generals or the commander in chief, they fight for the guy standing next yo him in the foxhole.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
Okay, this hit hard . . . our son is in the army, he's an NCO, just like Staff Sergeant Bellavia . . . he was in Iraq fighting this same nasty war during the height of the surge, watching his "brothers" die everyday . . . but he's not an infantryman, he's a mechanic . . . and he cleaned their body parts and blood from the vehicles and sent the recovered vehicles back out only to see them returned blown up again . . . he came back with survivors guilt . . . then his younger brother deployed to Iraq, his baby brother, the sensitive one in the family, he left his newborn son to go to a war he didn't understand . . . what he DID understand was the brotherhood, and they fought for each other, to keep one another alive, just like SSG Bellavia . . . our youngest son wasn't an infantryman either, he was a small arms repairman, but in the heat of war, soldiers do what needs to be done . . . like going out on the Tigris River to repair a water pump out in the open and being shot at . . .something that we didn't learn about until years later . . . These soldiers keep a trunk full of memories, like slow-motion movies, stuffed down inside them, that seldom surface. The fact that SSG Bellavia has chosen to share this very personal account of his time in Iraq, is a sacrifice. It is appreciated and valued by this army mom and wife of a retired Sergeant Major. There's no political correctness here, just raw truth. You can't go wrong listening to it. You didn't see or hear this on the news. This is the real deal. Thank you, SSG Bellavia.
I would recommend this book for anyone looking for something that will keep your attention
This is a first hand account of the horrors and sometimes incredible stupidity of war. Don't look for the reasons why we go to war but experience through the authors and narrator what it means to be in combat, sometimes hand to hand combat. My services in the Army taught me that you can become numb to almost anything and this book reminded me of those times. It also reminded me of the so often stupidity of superior officers who dress like field combat soldiers but sit comfortably behind desks in safe offices and never, ever even come close to combat. And of those politicians in Washington who send young troops to war, young men and women to fight battles for reasons unknown while the politicians pompously wait for their drivers to take them to the nearest pub for a free meal and drinks. Cynical am I, you bet but that comes from experience. This is a really worthy book. Not always easy to read and sometimes a little gritty. The language is that of a soldier, not a Harvard educated author but that is reality. You may be angry at the end but you should be proud of those who serve and you will be better off with a clearer understanding of war for having read this book. .
Author of The Madison Picker and the Serapis Fraktur
This novel is perfection in every respect, both the hard cover and the audiobook. A super-maximum 10-stars best of all Middle East wars books. THE best hand-to-hand combat scene EVER. It makes the scene in Saving Private Ryan look like girls scouts dry-humping each other.
You're kidding, right? SSG Bellavia, of course.
The hand-to-hand scene.
The hand-to-hand scene.
Bellavia has tried unsuccessfully to run for a Congressional seat in New York State. WTF do they want, a Wiener? For Christ's Sakes!