John Crawford joined the Florida National Guard to pay for his college tuition; it had seemed a small sacrifice to give up one weekend a month and two weeks a year in exchange for a free education. But one semester short of graduating, and newly married, he was called to active duty, to serve in Kuwait, then on the front lines of the invasion of Iraq, and ultimately in Baghdad. While serving in Iraq, Crawford began writing short nonfiction stories, his account of what he and his fellow soldiers experienced in the war. At the urging of a journalist embedded with his unit, he began sending his pieces out of the country via an anonymous Internet e-mail account.
In a voice at once raw and immediate, Crawford's work vividly chronicles the daily life of a young soldier in Iraq: the excitement, the horror, the anger, the tedium, the fear, the camaraderie. Altogether, the stories slowly uncover something more: the transformation of a group of young college students, innocents, into something entirely different.
©2005 John Crawford; (P)2005 Tantor Media, Inc.
"Crawford's writing pulses with urgency, and, gloriously, his story of being an American soldier in Iraq is shattering and relentless." (David Amsden, author of Important Things That Don't Matter)
I hope more people read this book. Being a service man myself I respect this man. My heart goes out to all serving. When will someone figure out that you can not keep a soldier in action for this length or TIME!! OMG have we not learned anything from our prior wars? Anyway, I love this book. I felt like I was there standing next to this man. He could have been in my unit. I wish I could describe the feelings I felt reading this book. It brings you right back to the time in uniform. Tears in my eyes and sadness in my heart, and pride in the job. I feel so sad and angry, not just for our soldiers, but for the people they are they are protecting. READ this book with caution. If you haven't held a weapon in battle you might not "get it". If you have, I promise you it will bring back memories. For me, I want to remember. I loved that feeling of that close group of people who "got my back". There is nothing like it. This book will only touch the tip of the iceberg of war and the grunt level.
This book is a must read by everyone. It does not matter what your position on the Iraq war might be. This Citizen Soldier gives a very honest description of his tour in Iraq. The good and the bad. More than anything, I think it reveals the price that our soldiers pay for their service. My thanks to John Crawford for his service, his sacrifice and his candor.
This book is a must for anyone who wants to see beyond the political and media circus of Iraq. A soldiers view full of truth and interest.
This is probably the most honest account of the Iraqi war I've read or listened to. When it was over I felt like someone had punched me in the gut, but I now know more about the average G.I. in Iraq than I've learned in countless hours of watching CNN and Fox News. There's no bandwagon, no flag waving - just young men who perform their duty to God and country at great cost to themselves and their loved ones. And yes, they use very bad language and borderline racism against the Iraqis, but these boys are in a war zone and the language fits the environment.
Being married to the military for 17 years, I've heard lots of "war stories." So many parts of this book didn't ring true. I didn't know if it was because this soldier was National Guard with a different outlook on service, or if something else was coming into play. Well, come to find out, the only true story in the book is the last one. Most of the book is a collection of fiction stories he wrote while in Iraq, taking much literary license to make things "more" than they were. I was hoping for a true accounting of a soldier's life in Iraq. Instead we heard about a soldier's imaginings of drugs and booze and sexist remarks and foul language and dangerous games. If the book had been written as the last and only true story had been, it would have been an awesome book. But as it stands, it's merely a poorly written piece of fiction that doesn't deserve the time it took to listen.
After reading a bunch of books by Navy SEALS, this is my first book by an Army Infantry guy. Just a normal guy, in ROTC/National Guard for the college tuition, who got called up after 9/11 and had a really sh*ty war. After all the alpha male, noble warrior books, I think this was closer to what the average guy experienced in Iraq. The last chapter, "the last true story I'll ever tell" is devastating.
I thought this book was great. I have not been there and cant vouch for the facts but I did read a lot of reviews from guys that had been there that agreed with him. Not a feel good book but then WAR isn't a feel good subject. It would be interesting for a non partisan Iraqi version of the War. Kind of get the other guy version, not the insurgents but just regular Iraqis feelings of our troops at the level this author describes his feelings towards them.
A gut wrenching story of the conditions which the U.S. soldiers and the Iraqi civilians endured in the initial U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003-2004.
john Crawford is a poor writer and the only reason this got published is becuse of the Iraq war. He repeated him self more than a few times. And why would he ride around in a humve with no doors and complain about not haveing up to date bullet proof vest. As a vet I hope people don't buy into this story. Also it could have been better if it had a better narrator.
Crawford's attempt to enlighten and entertain with , no doubt, what could have been an interesting story falls short. One of the most mundane books I have ever suffered thru.
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