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)
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.
Hi, I'm an alumi of NYU and I'm also huge into MMA. I love books I read a lot and review the stand outs. I'll give you guys the goods.
Look this novel has got it all and from my experience is the gold standard of a war fighters tale. The author doesn't pull any punches and tells his story openly and with an emotional rawness that you don't see in these novels. I think this book is a BUY.
It made me think, deeply, about the true reason of the bond between soldiers. True understanding on what creates it.
This book must be the most emotionally inspiring book Ive ever read. I have never served, but I felt as if I was in SSGT Bellavia's boots as he was fighting hand to hand. The story is amazing, this man is amazing, there is no reason you should not buy this book. It is plain factual first hand observations of the terrifying fighting in Fallujah.
One of the best war books that I have listened. Very exciting book full of modern battlefield experiences in its grim reality. War is hell.
Ok, firstly I want to address the folks who have complained about the foul language: this is how our service members talk to one-another. I have worked with soldiers and marines alike, and can promise you that this language does not result from a lack of vocabulary nor does it stem from a simple mind. This is just how these guys talk to each other, and I believe that the author was trying to allow the reader/listener to feel like they are standing next to these guys, as real as possible. And as for the gore, this is a war story, what would you expect?! Now ranting aside, this was an amazing story and I found myself listening for hours at a time, not wanting to leave the car. An emotional story that brought tears to my eyes a few times. I appreciate the way this man opened himself within the story and told it just how he saw it, with no sugar on top. Well worth the credit, GET IT!
Once I got started, I couldn't stop; but if I had known how profane the language was going to be, I would have never started. Gripping story. The language was probably real, not just put in for the story, but still very, very rough.
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