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Publisher's Summary

Cdr. Richard Jadick's story is one of the most extraordinary to come out of the war in Iraq. At 38, the last place the Navy doctor was expected to be was on the front lines. He was too old to be called up, but not too old to volunteer.

In November 2004, with the military reeling from an acute doctor shortage, Jadick chose to accompany the First Battalion, Eighth Marine Regiment (the "1/8") to Iraq. During the Battle of Fallujah, Jadick and his team worked tirelessly and courageously around the clock to save their troops amidst the worst street fighting Americans had faced since Vietnam.

It is estimated that without Jadick at the front, the Marines would have lost an additional 30 men. Of the hundreds of men he treated, only one died after reaching a hospital. This is the inspiring story of his decision to enter into the fray, a fascinating glimpse into wartime triage, and a compelling account of courage under fire.

©2007 Richard Jadick and Thomas Hayden; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

Critic Reviews

"This remarkable man's story is well worth telling...a memorable experience." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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What a story!

This was a painful book to read, but it made me appreciate what goes on during war. It is about a young doctor who leaves his wife and 4-day-old daughter to go to Iraq to do what he could to take care of injured marines. I think I can safely say I will never have to fight in a war, and I pray daily that I will never have to see a war first hand. This book made me honor those who are willing to fight for my freedom even more than I already did. I found myself with tears rolling down my face from time to time, and even a bit sick to my stomach on occasion, but I always had a sense of awe that there are people in the world who are willing to do the things that have to be done in a war. It is overwhelming to me. I want to tell them that I am so very grateful!

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Neither a comedy nor a war story

While a story of one doctor's time in war it is neither a comedy nor a war story. The author uses his own time in Iraq to draw attention to battlefield medical technology describing at the same time why the number battlefield fatalities has declined and a growing need for medical doctors who are willing to practice their trade just behind the front lines of the conflict. At times I listened with rapt interest as the author described his views on battlefield medicine and how he put them into practice. Another time, I laughed out loud with him as he described his 'diplomatic impasse' (we have all been there before). I smiled with him as he explained in detail how minor comforts would mean so much to men there. Often as he described the courage, valor and dedication of the men he worked to save yet could not, I found tears stinging my eyes in the cold winter wind over two years after their passing. While the author describes the carnage and brutality of his situation in this war, he neither glorifies nor dwells upon the violence its own right. While explaining the motivation of himself and others he cleverly avoids the polarizing political issues or the war. In my opinion it is a well-told story easily understandable to everyone and well worth listening to. As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed the book from beginning to end.

A note to the author: When at a stadium, standing at attention, silently singing the star spangled banner as the music plays, I close my eyes to keep the water off my cheeks.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 06-22-12

Autobiography culminating in Iraq experience

As an ex-Marine whose brother was also a combat Corpsman in Vietnam, I appreciate Jadick's exemplary service and devotion to finding every way possible to keep Leathernecks alive on the battlefield. He was clearly an outstanding officer and doctor and a lot of people owe him their lives.

You should know before you get the book, however, that over half of it is devoted to his life story before Faluja. That part of the book, which includes details about his schooling and earlier military training and service, is moderately interesting and sheds light on how he came to be superbly prepared and motivated to run a combat battalion aid station under the most trying of circumstances, but it does take a long time to get to the real meat of the story. And once you get there, the gripping, moment by moment narrative set in the streets of the embattled city is short lived and soon devolves into the "And then there was the time when...." style of story telling. Not unpleasant but unfocused and sometimes even a little tedious.

Jadick is refreshingly frank in describing his fellows but also generous in his praise of these men and women with whom he shared his time in hell. One has to appreciate his care in personalizing each of those who did not make it home with their unit or who returned with grievous wounds. The book is a powerful reminder of their sacrifice and of the extraordinary courage and professionalism with which our fighting men and women respond when we call on them.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Not much action for being in "Hell."

Mostly about the author and his journey to becoming a doctor, then becoming a military doctor. A few interesting sections where he described some of the injuries he treated, but not very informative or exciting. Still glad I listened to it, but would not recommend it to my friends.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

On Call in Hell

WOW, the writer was truly generous to relive the things saw and lived through. I am thankfull that men and women like the author whom put themselves into the line of fire. This all aside the novel is gut wrenching and informitive. It give thoes of us who will never see combat, a first hand look at the situations that are meet and delt with as best as one can expect. Five stars doesn't give this novel the true repesct it deserves. If I had one problem with the book, it was that the author wasn't the narrator.... It isn't that the chosen narrator did a poor job, I just feel the author would have given that little extra. You can't get everything you want.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Deeply Regret This Purchase

The author does himself no favors by admitting, early on, that the Hippocratic oath's "do no harm" mandate doesn't apply to him. That he volunteered for service just as his wife was having a child, while making it sound to his wife like he had no choice, also was kind of reprehensible. I guess we should appreciate his honesty -- the author definitely doesn't try to make himself likable. It comes off as if he just doesn't understand that this is how he seems to readers.

There is very little of substance here. There is plenty of discussion of the quality of latrines, and mundane military bureaucracies. Maybe 20% has to do with the actual war experiences; the rest is full of every sleep-inducing detail of the author's educational and military career history. Anyone picking up this book would rightfully expect it to contain more of the "Iraq war story" promised on the cover. Most of the book is not about Iraq, not about war, and doesn't make up anything like a coherent story.

I appreciate the author's service to his country. It would be an injustice for me to give this book a positive review just for that reason. This book is an unbelievably huge disappointment.

(Credit where it's due: the narrator did very well with such shoddy material.)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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On Call In Hell: A Doctor's Iraq War Story

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

yes, it is an interesting point of view. Having served in Iraq in 2003 with a Fleet Hospital within the combat zone, his story is very real and acurate and yet he was more involved in the urban warfare than my personal experience.

What did you like best about this story?

The physician's point of view. I have read other similar books but from a nurse's perspective.

Have you listened to any of Lloyd James’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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any junior military physician needs to read !

if you're a boot doctor, you should be reading this story. end of story. if you're a greenside doc, you should give this to your boot doctor to read.

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Great insight for a hopeful future Navy Doc

Well written recount with vivid details giving you a true sense of the events that happened in Iraq. Well done

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  • Janet
  • Northbrook, IL, United States
  • 02-10-15

Illuminating, Inspiring, Heartbreaking

This excellent memoir illuminates Dr. Jadick's path to medical school and to serving in Iraq, recalls inspiring camaraderie and heroism in heated battle, and honors the many who fell or were injured in he early phase of the Iraq War. It honors as well the medical teams who put themselves in extreme danger to aid the troops they accompany. We civilians all owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.

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  • Mel M
  • 12-16-16

An amazing man

One looks around to find a good read, then you come across this book about an amazing self built man who looks at life and how to assist others. War is without doubt a terrible thing and I do not support glorifying it. So read this account of one amazing man. It's worth it.