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.
First, let me say that I've listened to more than 130 books via Audible. All but a few have been non-fiction, and the vast majority about America's military, war, and American history. Many, many with an emphasis on special operations in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. This is the first book in which I have ever written a review. I was absolutely compelled to do so. Many of the reviews I read (prior to listening) made a conscious note to proclaim how politically neutral this book is. This should have been warning # 1. Warning #2 was that this book was made into an HBO mini-series (the same network that produced a scene in which a decapitated head of George W. Bush's head was used "by accident"??). Those things aside, I decided to listen to the book. Listening, you would think that the heros in one of America's most elite military units are nothing but a bunch of bafoons who don't know how to lead and/or execute orders, and, more importantly, who are a bunch of vigilantes who take pleasure in killing "possibly" innocent civilians. These types of scenarios outnumber the heroic acts of American forces at least 10-1 in this book...and this is in one Batallion alone...and in a very short period of time. War is brutal. Many, many innocent people die. That's the way it is. If this book is politically neutral, you can send me your Christmas list and your presents will be delivered under the tree on December 25. This book is slightly more subtle in it's liberal interpretation than Blackwater. While this author refers (directly, and in his own words) to American forces as "occupiers" and "invaders" on more than one occasion, he stops short of using the term "Imperialist Forces", unlike the aforementioned book. After listening to this book, I did a little more research on the author: He's written (and often received accolades) for his writings in the NY Times, LA Times, Time Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair magazine....You can make your own decision if it's truly politically neutral.
If I were given 10 books to read, this would be the 10th book on my "to do" list.
The narration was fine.
I was more disappointed in the "politically neutral" reviews than anything else. Either people giving these types of reviews have political blinders on or they're completely ignorant...and I don't know now you can be ignorant about a book after reading/listening to it. In either case, they're not being intellectually honest. I'm not sure which is worse.
Here is the truth America my name is joey Willhoyt. This is the truth of war. I know this because I was there I served with 1 battalion Marines in Fallujah as well as 2nd battalion in Al qauim. I live with a story very similar to this in my mind every day. America wants to pat us on the back and say good job and then turn there back on all of it and forget. I wish that I could forget I know I volunteered for the Corps but not for what we did to those people. Why do you think the suicide rate is so high in the Corps now. I put a bullet in my chest I don't now why I'm still here I used a 30-06 missed my heart by a mm I wish I had missed some inoccent people over there too! If you didn't like it read ciderella there are no happy endings in war.
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.
Hated for it to end!
The memories that flooded back from my time in the Suck!
The passion, I felt as if he was the reporter.
I really enjoyed this book. A very firsthand and unique perspective. The dialogue is about as raw and profane as you can imagine, but it was not a turn off at all for me like it was for some of the other reviewers. This is how these guys talked and that's what is in the book. I never saw any of the HBO series, but I plan on checking it out now. In my opinion the narration was terrible; at least when compared to many other 4/5 star books I have purchased. Though don't let that deter you.... still an excellent listen.
I bought this book because I loved the HBO miniseries that's based on it, and I was not disappointed. Many of the same people and events are here, but because it's a book, not restrained by the pacing of a TV show, the author can spend time giving backstory and describing things in more detail than the show can, so if you like the miniseries you can get a much more fleshed out version of the same story here.
The narrator is good. He puts on different voices for all the characters, a couple of the voices might sound a bit silly (there were one of two where I felt like he was trying to make the person sound really dopey). Still, it's very helpful because there are quite a few characters and this style of narration helps to distinguish them.
Probably the biggest strength of this book is that the author seems to be more interested in getting inside the heads of the soldiers than making any kind of political statement about the war in Iraq or war in general. Depending on your point of view you may see the violence in the book as horrific and pointless, or the grim reality of a necessary and noble cause. The point is you can decide this for yourself, the author won't tell you what to think. He just shows it as it is without shoving any messages in your face. The soldiers aren't glorified or vilified, instead they're portrayed as believable human beings, and are much more relatable because of it.
I got the the audiobook as a result of the HBO miniseries and was not disappointed. The book was a good follow up to the series as it helped to explain the command structure and the relationships better.
I was a little skeptical about this book as I had a feeling it was far to the left , Journalism always has me thinking in those lines. I was very much surprised considering the condition of being embedded in an front line Recon unit, I felt it was written in a neutral as could be format about the initial invasion of Iraq, A must read for all those who who live in a fantasy world and reality.The real characters were a interesting bunch as we are so lucky to have these folks to defend our pampered lives. Yes there where bad US recon people too. I felt this was not sugar coated in the least. Interesting how the politics of all our Government resources including this invasion was bureaucratic full of craziness and messed up in the field just like at home. If it wasn't for the people that make up the armed forces we might not of made it as easy to Baghdad.. Foul language is thick in this book but allot of people don't want reality to begin with, Good Luck to us all in the coming years. CC
I listened 3 times. This book is one of my "cult classics" already.
narration is excellent. Well written. I need more of this style.
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