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)
Unquestionably brave men doing heroic things - unfortunately devalued by the author's immediate jump into the age-old trap of solipsism. Within five minutes of the opening, the narrator claims his group and those like him were the only real soldiers wearing uniforms in this conflict. Others were to be "despised". I make no personal claim one way or the other, but I can say I was directly involved with a number of these "non-warrior" soldiers who acted every bit as bravely, who bled to death just as their more "warrior-like" brothers did, and who were to be missed by their families every bit as much.
The top 5 of my hundreds of military audibles I've downloaded. I think I'm in the few hundred titles to be exact. Great books but sometimes the narrator can ruin a good listen. Patrick Lawlor to be specific. Great diction, a great reader, but not war stories please. His idea of say a gristled gunnery is painful
Riveting story. Excellent narration. A great testament to the incredible courage and ability to endure of the modern combat infantryman. Also shone a light on the ferocity of the battle of Fallujah. If I had been there, I probably would have been huddled in a corner crying for mommy. Makes me appreciate how much soldiers sacrifice. Highly recommend.
Top 3. I've read almost 10 specifically relating to military accounts (non-fiction) that occurred after 9/11.
First time, he's one of the best I've listed to.
95% of the book was very intense.
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.
Say something about yourself!
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.
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