In one of the most compelling combat narratives ever written, Staff Sergeant David Bellavia, an Army infantry platoon leader in Iraq, gives a teeth-rattling, first-hand account of 11 straight days of heavy house-to-house fighting during the climactic second battle of Fallujah. His actions in the firefight, which included killing five insurgents in hand-to-hand combat, earned Bellavia the Bronze Star, the Silver Star, and New York State's highest military honor, the Conspicuous Service Cross. He has been nominated for the Medal of Honor and for the Army's second-highest combat medal, the Distinguished Service Cross.
©2007 David Bellavia; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"[W]ill satisfy readers who like their testosterone undiluted...a precise, hour-by-hour account of the fighting, featuring repeated heroic feats and brave sacrifice from Americans." (Publishers Weekly)
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!
I've listened to many books based upon the experiences of warriors. Uniquely, House to House was almost 100% action. The other books I read "fluffed" their chapters with flashbacks to boot camp, drinking tales, bar fist-fight, macho guy stories, training... Not this time! In House to House you quickly hit the ground in Fallujah and it is one hell of a no nonsense, nonstop fight all the way to the final chapter.
I felt like I was there again. Clear Concise about the horrors of way and clearing houses and the unknown. Every Politician needs to read this before sending soldiers into harms way.
Down to earth and honest not bias one way or another.
not so much enjoyable but eye-opening. If you had read the papers or watched the television news only the marines were in that battle.
the way SSgt Bellavia talk about his men.
There are no favorite scene's only horror upon horror
Being a VietNam vet it was very emotional at times.
I have read a number of non-fiction books about soldiers' experiences of war. My main interest is the second world war, and I was hoping that House To House would give me an undiluted and realistic look at the experiences of soldiers fighting in a modern conflict. To some degree the authors deliver - there is discussion of the tactics used and the conditions that prevailed in the Second Battle Of Fallujah. These parts are interesting and feel authentic, and give a no-holds-barred vision of the perils, hardships, and boredom endured by people fighting in the middle east.
The problem arises any time the authors make an attempt self-reflection.
The author and the other members of the author's squad are drawn with the depth of cartoon characters, always ready with exactly the right comeback or quip for the situation. When the author describes himself shouting "I am become Death, destroyer of worlds, motherf--ker!" in the middle of a firefight, my eyes almost rolled right out of my head. Each of the soldiers is portrayed as a selfless courageous patriotic hero ready to fight and die for the freedom of apple pie and their postcard families back home. The overall impression is that the author views all of his experiences through a Hollywood action-movie filter, and this taints the parts of the book I did enjoy: if I feel like the author's description of himself and the other soldiers is inflated to the point of silliness, how can I trust the rest of the narrative?
The last large section of the book describes, in comic-book detail, a hand-to-hand battle between the author and an Iraqi soldier in a half-destroyed house. The description of the action is interspersed with the author's "interior dialogue." This is by far the weakest part of the book and the section that put the nail in the coffin of my interest in the story. The author's thoughts read like something from a Michael Bay movie, a painfully-long collection of hyper-macho muscle-flexing cigar-chewing banalities.
This section may have been intended as a summary of the author's experiences in combat, a way of gathering together all of his memories of the uglier parts of fighting in Iraq and boiling them down into a single scene, where he could put all of his thoughts into one place. Like the rest of the book, though, it feels clumsy and shallow.
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