Sean Flynn, himself a member of the 69th, memorably chronicles the transformation of this motley band of amateur soldiers into a battle-hardened troop at work in one of the most lethal quarters of Baghdad: the notorious Airport Road, a blood-soaked strand that grabbed headlines and became a bellwether for progress in post-invasion Iraq.
At home on the concrete and asphalt like no other unit in the U.S. Army, Gotham's Fighting 69th brought justice to this lawless precinct by ignoring Army discipline and turning to the street-fighting tactics they grew up with. The Fighting 69th is the story of how regular citizens come to grips with challenges far starker than what they have been prepared for - a candid look at who our soldiers are, and what they do when faced with their toughest challenges.
©2007 Sean Michael Flynn; (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks America
War is a complicated affair. Politics and politicians, war-mongers and protestors, soldiers and civilians... each believes in their viewpoints, and we are seldom blessed with an objective author. This book may very well be written by one.
Although the book was long, I couldn't bear to stop listening. There was no over-dramatization, pretentious heroism, or self-righteous preaching. This was a guided tour by an articulate journalist that shared with the audience the transformational journey of the fighting 69th.
If you want to believe that all soldiers are honorable, unselfish, and perfect men, this book will not appease you. If you want to know about the solider as a fallible, yet able to grow then this will be a delight. This book will leave you impressed by the men and the author, and it will inspire you to embrace the U.S. soldiers as the embodiement of what makes America great: spirit.
This book starts slow with guys backgrounds and overdevelops the setting and characters in the first half. I guess the author wanted to be sure we understood the 69th was great but was in a shambles now. Post 9/11 it all changes and that's when the second half starts an the book gets really good. It gives the listener a real sense for the politics, and situation in Iraq. This is all real, not fiction which makes it a great story. The players are real people and all heroes (in the end). I strongly rcommend this book with 5-stars.
For an interesting and inspirational listen, this one is great! The transformation of the Fighting 69th from a rag-tag National Guard unit to a crack fighting unit in Iraq is amazing. In the current climate of military-bashing, this book provides plenty of reasons to be grateful that there are those willing to do the job to keep our country safe, while bringing stability and a fresh chance for freedom in Iraq. A good related listen is "Between Two Worlds" by Zaineb Salbi. Her story presents a picture of what Iraq was like under Saddam. If you wonder why we are in Iraq or if we have done anything worthwhile there, these two books will be helpful.
In the Fighting 69th, there is a temptation to get lost in names, etc., but hang on. It all works out as the story unfolds. The true story here is the unit rather than individuals. Narration is well done. Great listen!
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