Like the experience of war that Anthony Swofford describes, this book is thrilling, funny, messy, both well and poorly done, capable of insight as well as surprising lapses of judgement, fascinating, and ultimately anti-climactic.
It has many faults, but never was I disappointed to have been reading, and always I wanted to continue, so I could see what would happen.
Anthony Swofford spares the reader nothing. I actually found myself cringing while reading this book.
I remember this war, this conflict, this whatever. I was glued 24/7 to CNN like the rest of the world. I really felt like I was 'supporting' the troops and the like. My dad was in Vietnam and I was absolutely militant about the troops. Any whiff that someone was less than enthused and I was like a rabid terrier. So while I was reading his account of the war, I was comparing in my head how I felt at the time with his actual experiences. In comparision, I was a real ass.
This book is a must read. Especially now. There are hundreds of thousands of Swoffords right now deployed. Read this book.
This is a grungy account of the US Marine Corps as it really is, without all the flag waving and hero BS. Heros they may well be, but salty grunts is also what they are. This shows the Corps warts and all from the inside by a man who was there and lived it and in spite of himself - loved it.
I thought this was a very realistic portrayal of what the first Gulf War was like for the average soldier. This is the book that the movie was based on, so if you liked the movie, you will like the book. (Actually to me, the book was better than the movie, but you decide!)
I enjoyed this book. Having a brother in law who served in the Gulf War I was hopefully able to see a bit of what his life was like in this time of history. Was an entertaining read, better than the movies as most books are.
A witty, profane, down-in-the-sand account of the war many only know from CNN, this former sniper's debut is a worthy addition to the battlefield memoir genre. There isn't a bit of heroic posturing as Swofford describes the sheer terror of being fired upon by Iraqi troops; the elite special forces warrior freely admits wetting himself once rockets start exploding around his unit's encampment. But the adrenaline of battle is fleeting, and Swofford shows how it's in the waiting that soldiers are really made. With blunt language and bittersweet humor, he vividly recounts the worrying, drinking, joking, lusting and just plain sitting around that his troop endured while wondering if they would ever put their deadly skills to use. As Operation Desert Shield becomes Desert Storm, one of Swofford's fellow snipers-the most macho of the bunch-solicits a hug from each man. "We are about to die in combat, so why not get one last hug, one last bit of physical contact," Swofford writes. "And through the hugs [he] helps make us human again." When they do finally fight, Swofford questions whether the men are as prepared as their commanders, the American public and the men themselves think they are. Swofford deftly uses flashbacks to chart his journey from a wide-eyed adolescent with a family military legacy to a hardened fighter who becomes consumed with doubt about his chosen role. As young soldiers might just find themselves deployed to the deserts of Iraq, this book offers them, as well as 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 REVIEW
In his NY Times bestselling chronicle of military life, Anthony Swofford weaves his experiences in war w/ vivid accounts of boot camp, reflections on the mythos of the marines, and remembrances of battles w/lovers and family.
I didn't read the book, but saw the movie and when I opened the book just now, it was describing a scene that I remember from the movie. So I suppose the movie was a fairly decent adaptation. And I LOVED the movie.
I can't believe this book is even posted - it should have been gone the moment it was listed. It's that good. Remember - never judge a book by it's movie. Strongly recommend, especially if you're ambivelent towards war books.