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5.0 out of 5 starsFive Stars
Reviewed in the United States on December 18, 2014
What the 3/7 Cav accomplished was powerful. A firsthand account of their heroic assualt on Iraq.
Walter Rodgers was consistently the best of the reporters embedded with American military forces during the Iraq invasion in 2003. One reason, we learn from Sleeping With Custer, was the remarkable rapport he had with the soldiers of the 7th Cavalry, including the top commanders. Anyone interested in the "embed" process--from whatever perspective--should read this book. Rodgers gives us a detailed, day-by-day account of the 7th Cavalry's drive from Kuwait to Baghdad. His unit was the "tip of the tip of the spear." It led the way. Rodgers and his CNN crew--four men total, including security--hunkered down in a used, unarmored Humvee vulnerable to even the smallest of small-arms fire. The reader understands why he feels fortunate to have survived. Rodgers pulls no punches. He felt lucky to be where he was, and he had great respect and admiration for the men he served with. At the time, he apparently believed fully in their mission. But even then, he recognized that a military force well prepared for combat was not ready for its role as occupiers. When he returned to Iraq a year after the fall of Baghdad, he found a land of danger and discontent, where Americans were seen not as liberators but hated infidel invaders. Thus his epilogue becomes almost a disclaimer, raising serious doubts about the ultimate success of U.S. goals in Iraq. This book is slightly marred by a lack of good copy editing. Unimportant but annoying text errors abound. These aren't factual errors, though, and they aren't Walt Rodgers' fault. They must not be allowed to detract from the importance of this vital and otherwise excellent book.
4.0 out of 5 starsNo politics; a good inside view from the Cavalry perspective
Reviewed in the United States on January 16, 2006
During March of 2003, Walt Rodgers, an embedded CNN correspondent was a miraculous connection to the 3/7 Cavalry, my son's unit as they forged ahead to Baghdad with great speed through sandstorms, under fire from the Republican Guard without devastating casualties. His book tells us things that soldiers don't always choose to remember or discuss. Admiration for the soldier and lack of political bias make this a good read for those who want to understand more about our military.
Reviewed in the United States on December 14, 2005
I learned of Rodgers' experience with the 7th Cavalry from an interview he gave on NPR -which I guess should have been a tip off- in which he was most engaging and thoughtful. However, after reading his book, I was amazed at his egocentricity and imagined superiority, as well as his condescending attitutde toward our troops, which he takes such great pains to deny. I had expected an insightful decription of his experiences as an embedded reporter, instead what I learned was his stolid anti-Bush opinions. I am not interested in his feelings about George Bush or the rationale behind the Iraq incursion, I had hoped to learn about our troops and their operations. Unhappily, Rodgers appears to be cut from the same cloth as Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich- although they have some good thoughts, they can't be taken as serious because their biases are so blatantly exposed that they cast doubt on even their legitimate observations.
If anyone wonders why the military in Iraq hates CNN,you only need read this book. The first page starts out by letting us know that Rodgers came to "cover George W. Bush's war." The second page refers to the "hype over Saddam's chemical and biological weapons." Naturally, the book concludes with an epilogue on how the war is lost. One would think that the folks who brought you Bagdad Peter Arnett and his phoney Tailwind chemical weapons story (talk about hypocrisy) might want to try hiring an objective reporter before Fox beats them 3 to 1 instead of only 2 to 1.