They were a new breed of American warriors unrecognizable to their forebears - soldiers raised on hip-hop, Internet porn, Marilyn Manson, video games, and The Real World, a band of born-again Christians, dopers, Buddhists, and New Agers who gleaned their precepts from kung fu movies and Oprah Winfrey.
Cocky, brave, headstrong, wary, and mostly unprepared for the physical, emotional, and moral horrors ahead, the "First Suicide Battalion" would spearhead the blitzkrieg on Iraq and fight against the hardest resistance Saddam had to offer.
Generation Kill is the funny, frightening, and profane firsthand account of these remarkable men, of the personal toll of victory, and of the randomness, brutality, and camaraderie of a new American war.
©2008 Evan Wright; (P)2008 Tantor
This is the first account I've read that was written by a reporter and I have to say it's a strikingly different experience than those written by troops. Most of it is devoted to the life and death decisions guys have to make out there and he's very good about laying out the facts and letting you consider it rather than injecting his own opinions into peoples' actions. There are a lot of characters and he does a good job of making sure that they are all fleshed out. The point of this book seemed to be as much about getting you acquainted with the Marines' tasks and hardships in overthrowing Saddam as it was getting you acquainted with exactly who we sent over there to do it. Once you get past the narration it's really a good book.
My only complaint was the narration which ranged from poor to absurd. The first half of it is SO over-articulated that it can be tortuous at times. For whatever reason he feels the need to make sure you don't miss a transition from one syllable to the next by punctuating the move from one to the next with drastic tone shifts and at times it's like he's just crisply sounding out every word. It's hard to describe but it's very unnatural and it ruins the flow of the book almost as much his complete lack of ability to decipher sarcasm and dry humor. Fortunately as the book progresses it becomes a bit more tolerable as he tones it down a little. The narrator also does a lot of accents but they all come out decidedly Mexican sounding, especially the two Filipinos. I'll be watching out for this narrator in the future.
This book follows a platoon through the invasion of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a lead element of the Marines main thrust, this unit was heavily engaged for the duration of this short conflict.
While similar to many books on warfare in terms of describing the action, the hardships, and the horrors of war, where this story differs is in the mental state of the warriors. It is this revelation that is truly frightening and makes me wonder where the next generation of the USA is headed.
Soldiers of the 1st world war and earlier signed up for the romanticism associated war, and were quickly disillusioned. Soldiers in the 2nd world war signed up reluctantly but with a sense of duty, and soldiers of the Vietnam era went only when forced to. Todays society has Generation Kill, which is an apt name given the obvious relish with which these troops executed their mission and, more disturbingly, with the joy they took in wrecking havoc amongst the civilian population and infrastructure.
Don't get me wrong, I've been in the armed forces for almost 30 years, so I fully understand collateral damage, ROE, and the other myriad of issues that are associated with warfare in areas of civilian populations. What I couldn't understand about these troops was the uninhibited joy in causing destruction. In one example, they go into a school in a city that has been taken and destroy all the computers and infrastructure. Why would anyone do that?
What is also apparent from this story is that the Marines had some serious junior officer leadership challenges. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised, given that this story was written 12 years ago, that the US Armed Forces are now struggling with some fairly serious internal breaches of conduct and behaviour amongst senior officers, as the junior officers and their peers in this book would be the senior officers of today.
This book is a must read for every American, as it provides great insight into the conduct of warfare in our age. Read it, and reflect upon it. It should give you cause for concern.
I really enjoyed this audiobook. A very interesting perspective on the invasion, the Marines, and war in general. Must read for Infantrymen.
Yes. The way it is written makes it easy for the narrator to be seen as a reporter just speaking to you about the events that took place during that period of time.
All the characters were great. They are described perfectly, each wit their own specific traits and attitudes of what's going on that they all are interesting. It makes you wonder about what was really going through some of their minds during specific times throughout the book.
Any scene that involved the characters during combat. To hear the narrator describe their actions and thoughts during high stress situations really showcases the many different types of personalities that make up the military.
I could've easily listened to this in one sitting. The subject matter has always been interesting to me and the author does a great job of documenting what he saw and experienced during his time with the Marines.
If you like the genre, this is a great book, and tailer made for Patrick Lawler's style. There is a fair amount of sardonic humor in the book that can be expressed, or ruined, by the narrator, and Patrick is a master of vocal expression. He's a real storyteller, not just a reader.
Furthermore, the book portrays a captivating view of the second Iraq War from the standpoint of the Marines who participated in the day to day combat, together with some insight into the root cause of some of the problems we are struggling with today as a result of the way the war was conducted. All in all, a very worthwhile liste.
This is one of the best books about operation Iraqi Freedom I have read so far. As a Vietnam Marine Grunt, C/Co, 1/3, 0331, Marines haven't changed much at all since 1968. You have to have sick humor in combat to get through it, you don't have time to analyze everything. First and foremost on an individual Marine level, you fight for your Brothers to keep them alive, Apple pie and mom waving the American flag doesn't enter your mind. Fighting for freedom for the people of the country you are in doesn't enter the picture either. All your experiences in combat are put on the back burner, keeping yourself and your buddies alive and completing the mission are the first priorities. You don't want to let your your comrades down, you don't want to let the Corp down. The expression, fuck it, it don't mean nuthin gets you through tough times. As my uncle who fought on Saipan as,a Marine told me after I returned home medically evacuated from Vietnam. " You will never forget what you did, you will have to learn to live with it and carry on, live for your fallen friends, that's what they would tell you if they could speak. Welcome home Marines, I highly recommend this book. Semper Fi.
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