For nearly the entire day, Joker-One---the 40-man infantry platoon that Campbell was charged with leading---fought house-to-house to rescue other units, sometimes trading grenades with their enemies from just a few feet away. In the days and months that followed, hundreds of hard-core insurgents launched simultaneous attacks on the Marine forces in Ramadi, their ranks swelled by thousands of local volunteers drawn from the citizens of a city whose primary export was officers in Saddam Hussein's army. By the fall of 2004, nearly half the men in Campbell's platoon had been wounded in some of the fiercest urban fighting since Vietnam; less than a month after they withdrew, the forces in Ramadi were doubled, then tripled.
Although Joker One is set in Iraq, the book's themes---brotherhood, honor, and sacrifice---are universal. Campbell shows us how his Marines' patience, discipline, and love for one another created a whole that is much greater than the sum of its parts, and how the essential goodness of these men remains unchanged by all of the pain and the terror surrounding them. His sharp-eyed, evocative, and unflinching account of his deployment is just as impressive as the man himself---a man who chose to enter the military because of his patriotism, sense of privilege, and deep religious faith when most of his Princeton classmates were cashing in their ivy league educations for lucrative careers among the financial elite.
©2008 Donovan Campbell; (P)2009 Tantor
I think it's good for regular Americans (like me) to learn about the Iraq War away from T.V or the news. This book is written by a sensible marine who can be sentimental at times, but finish the book and you'll understand. The book zooms in until you, the reader, gets ambushed by the real insurgency that occurred in the region.
The middle to the end of the book blooms into a stunning panoramic of the war in Iraq and details entire battles as though you occupied the conscious mind of the author. It's NOT a minute-by-minute account....somehow this story manages to capture the layers of minutes as they unfold in real time. Entire battlespace is perceivable. You'll actually sense how a battle has many 'situations' developing simultaneously, and how they all change as fast as you can react to them. And real people die. You'll also see that some Americans risk their lives, not just for you and me, but for the Iraqis too.
I am a loyal readers and listeners. My genre is Mystery novels, and true crime.
This is a great book to listen to. Love the storyline. I was sad to hear about some of the men, You got to know them
all the suffering our men and women go through. in this need less war.
they all were, you got to know them as your bother, son, or father
laugh and cryed for these men
loved this book
I have to agree with Chris from Vermont that the narrator of this book is completely mis-matched to the material. I'm not usually one to be unkind, but Mr. Drummond really throws a wet blanket on what is otherwise a great story. Drummond sounds exactly like the guy who narrates the fork lift safety videos I have to show my employees once a year and he has succeeded in making Joker One about as exciting. This is one of the few books I couldn't finish and it was due to the narration. Where is Scott Brick when you need him?
While I'm not sure Joker One offers any new insight into the lives of the men in the ground in Iraq, it is a story worth hearing...well let me correct myself by saying that it would be a good story to READ but I strongly advise against LISTENING to the painful narration by David Drummond. What struck me first was the poor "casting". While I have no idea what Donovan Campbell actually sounds like, I would bet that it is nothing like this. David Drummond's voice would be far more appropriate for a book on genetics or the history of the horse drawn carriage, but he should never again be asked to provide a reading for a combat marine. But I cold have gotten past the unfortunate mismatch if his voice wasn't so incredibly irritating. I have never heard someone read with an inflection that rises at the end of almost every sentence. In fact there are numerous passages where there is a rising inflection MULTIPLE times in one sentence. I am sorry to say that I gave up listening about halfway through the first half and don't plan to return...buy with caution.
If you liked Outlaw Platoon or American Sniper you will like this book. It is not as fast paced as the afforementioned titles but is still worth listening to. I have listened to as much as I can on Iraq and Afghanistan written by the people who were there because we never got the correct story from the media. I am proud to live in a country that produces people like these.
Overall I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Some overuse of certain terms, and some military terms misread by a narrator who presumably doesn't have a lot of first hand knowledge of them was my only real gripe. Good book, for sure.
Among the very best accounts of military life and combat I have ever read. Campbell is down-to- earth and tells it like it is from a perspective that most Americans in "fly-over-country" share. Not a book for liberal ideologues occupying ivory towers and with axes to grind.
Donovan Campbell puts us at his side during his tour of duty in Ramahdi, a hotbed of factional terrorism, murder, hatred and exploding ordinance. Hot, dusty, overextended, under provisioned with transport and communications, this young Marine lieutenant and his men slog through the daily grind of keeping the peace in a city thats circling the drain into madness. You will appreciate the courage and fortitude of these men who have been ordered to do the impossible and yet suit up on a daily basis and do just that. David Drummand does a great job of narration.
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