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Publisher's Summary

In his New York Times best-selling chronicle of military life, Anthony Swofford weaves his experiences in war with vivid accounts of boot camp, reflections on the mythos of the marines, and remembrances of battles with lovers and family.

When the U.S. Marines, or "jarheads", were sent to Saudi Arabia in 1990 for the first Gulf War, Anthony Swofford was there. He lived in sand for six months; he was punished by boredom and fear; he considered suicide, pulled a gun on a fellow marine, and was targeted by both enemy and friendly fire. As engagement with the Iraqis drew near, he was forced to consider what it means to be an American, a soldier, a son of a soldier, and a man.

©2003 Anthony Swofford (P)2003 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division.

Critic Reviews

"A searing contribution to the literature of combat." (The New York Times)
"This book offers...the casual reader, an unflinching portrayal of the loneliness and brutality of modern warfare and sophisticated analyses of, and visceral reactions to, its politics." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Jarhead

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Candid view of a marine and modern war

I read the print version of this book and enjoyed it. It was refreshing to get a broad view, with good and bad, beyond the soundbites or agenda of other media. I was especially surprised at how open the author was about many personal aspects of marine life and life in the middle of a war. Also, I found it more thoughful and articulate that I initally suspected. I recommended it to a friend who has a son in the Marines to give him some flavor that he may not hear otherwise.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

good, but rambling

hard to listen to, he starts rambling and you tune out, then you hear something interesting and need to rewind. interesting though that almost everything in the movie was true.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good writing

Anthony Swofford should not have read his own book. That's my only problem with this book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Less than expected.

This book dragged. If you are looking for excitement keep looking. If you have been in the "Suck" you'll find a few moment where your personal reflections and experiences will make you laugh out loud. Other than that you'll listen to one man's view of his down time leading up to the war. The narrator is good for putting you to sleep that?s the best I can say.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Off to see the Wizard...

The author displays some serious mental instabilities and comes across like a poster child for deviant behavior. He compares killing to eroticism, something a serial killer might do. He fantasizes about raping and stealing.
Don't get the wrong idea about Marines from this book-the average Marine, me included, respect our Corps, country, and family. That being said: I am very disappointed in the attention this book has received; it is nauseating. Save your time and money.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Too much unnecessary profanity

Story is interesting and probably quite accurate, based on my years in the Marine Corps. The focus on sex and profanity is carried to the extreme of detracting from the Marine's experiences told in the book.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Psycho

Written as a Phych ward rehab project. I've been there and done that and this guy was over the edge before he ever walked into Basic.

His Gunny would have had him our on a "General Discharge for the Good of the Corps" before he'd been in 6 months.

It even sounds fake to me.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

awesome

as a vet of the afgahn war i found this book very good it is a true telling if not harsh of my and every other vets time in the military No holds bar honest military experience in its truest form of the struggles of the average us grunt army and marine

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Too morbid

Not sure the value of this morbid and depressing book? Usually, there is at least one kernel of value in these stories. The mixing of words within the very eloquent vocabulary required the speed be reduced to appreciate what’s being said and what’s trying to be told. Perhaps another trip through “Jarhead”, will reveal the secret- db

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The Past, The Present, and the Future...

I still have my ticket stub from when I saw the feature film in November 2005, and I still have the paperback copy that I partially read during my deployment from 2007-08, so one could say that the writing style of the author had inspired my own, and I went on to earn a degree in News Writing. So in some ways, his past had foreshadowed my future because I felt many of the same things that he felt, such as sadness, boredom, loneliness, and violent frustration, but thankfully my deployment was not as fruitless and my living conditions were way better. I was surprised that the author refered to himself once as a soldier when he would know that the title of Soldier is branch-specific; hence, The Soldier's Creed that we had to recite in Basic Training. Moreover, he really talked down on the Army not to mention Ranger School. I never became a Marine, but I tried to become a Marine Officer after college but found out that I, and at no fault of my own, might never even though my DD-214 reads "Re-entry Code: 1." Maybe it's for the better because I can't stand people, and most people in my life have been dead weight. Unlike the book, the plotline in the film was chronological and had some changes that were subjectively improvements and matters of poetic license, but it stayed remarkably true to the original, and I now appreciate Jake Gyllenhaal's performance all the more.