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Camera Boy: An Army Journalist's War in Iraq [Kindle Edition]

Fred Minnick

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Product Description

Product Description

Wall Street Journal Bestselling eBook!
Fred Minnick spent more than a year in Iraq as a U.S. Army public affairs photojournalist, covering the good, bad and ugly sides of the conflict. With a Nikon in one hand and an M-16 in the other, he accompanied combat troops on missions ranging from raids on suspected terrorist strongholds to public relations events including the opening of a school for girls. Some of the stories made it back home, most did not.Camera Boy offers an eye-witness account of the Iraq War from a soldier with a different POV--from behind a camera and typewriter. Unfortunately, being assigned to public affairs did not shield Staff Sergeant Minnick from the horrors of war--including the deaths of two close friends--or from the devastating effects of PTSD upon his return home.It is a story of courage, frustration (with both the military and the mainstream media), dedication and redemption. Includes more than 40 black and white photos taken by the author.

About the Author

Fred Minnick is a contributing author to Simon & Schuster's The Blog of War and today spends most of his time as an international freelance writer and photographer specializing in food and wine. He lives with his wife, Jaclyn, in Louisville, KY.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4386 KB
  • Print Length: 202 pages
  • Publisher: L&R Publishing; 1st edition (March 1 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004S1V6L4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  35 reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest personal and professional account of an American soldier's life in Iraq and then afterward Oct. 29 2009
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on
Given that he was an army journalist, Minnick had a duty to put the best possible slant on his reporting; he was forced to always strive to present the American military in the best possible light. Yet, he was also a soldier, carrying a weapon along with his camera and regularly being shot at. One of his responsibilities while in Iraq was to go to the sites of bombings and document the results, which included cooked body parts and pools of blood. This book is a journal of his experiences in Iraq as well as his life after returning.
Minnick is justifiably proud of his service, yet in his account you can see many of the signs of futility about the endeavor. He describes the position of many of the Iraqis, for no matter how noble the goals of a military occupation, it is still an occupation and many Iraqis hated the American presence. One of the most telling points of the book is when he witnesses an Iraqi man firing a pistol in the air as a celebration of a victory by the Iraqi national soccer team. At this point, Minnick was beginning to consider all Iraqis a threat and he had to suppress a powerful urge to shoot the man. Fortunately, he did not commit the act, his reason won out over the relentless battlefield conditioning he was exposed to.
Minnick has many memories of Iraq, some fond ones of his comrades, both American and Iraqi. One of the best aspects of this book that aids in understanding the problems being faced there is when he describes the strong role that tribal rivalries play in Iraqi society. That is one of the greatest problems that must be overcome if there is to ever be any form of Iraqi unity and although he does not spend a great deal of time on it, that fact is a critical one.
Like a large percentage of soldiers returning from Iraq, Minnick had a difficult time integrating back into society, eventually being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In many ways his story is typical, great anger, terrifying nightmares, heavy drinking and a feeling of listlessness towards life. Fortunately, Minnick was able to find sufficient support mechanisms so that he is gradually overcoming the residue of his service.
The American military excursion into Iraq is a horrendously complex condition; unfortunately both sides of the good idea/bad idea debate significantly oversimplify the situation. This is an account written by someone that has been there and witnessed combatants on both sides bleed their last. As an army journalist, Minnick was required to both learn about the issues and live in the danger zone, which makes his account an honest and accurate one, both personally and professionally. Regular news reporters may witness the action, but they are not part of it in the sense that Minnick could shoot back. This is a great book.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Honesty Nov. 2 2009
By Radio Writer - Published on
I've known Fred since his student days in Ag Communications, when he interned for a daily television program we produced.

I re-connected with him, via the internet about a year ago, so when he returned to campus for a book signing in October `09, I got in line to get a copy.

I read it in two sittings and what struck me most was his complete honesty in describing his experiences in a war zone ... from being under fire by insurgents to the inane measures he and his comrades resorted to in an attempt to relieve the stress and strain of being under constant danger in a combat zone.

Even more remarkable was his candor in describing the effects of post-traumatic stress syndrome once he returned from the war: how it affected him, his family and his friendships. I cannot applaud enough his courage in describing the horrible consequences of PTSD, as well as his courage in getting help. I believe Veterans as well as their friends and families would benefit greatly just by reading this section of the book! As a mental health consumer, activist and advocate for many years I know the anguish and sheer guts it took for Fred to write so candidly about these experiences.

I am proud to call Fred Minnick a friend and colleague, but I am prouder still of his service for our country and his ability to share the good, bad and ugly of his experiences during that service.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Camera Boy June 8 2011
By Joe Epley - Published on
Fred Minnick's "Camera Boy" provides a realistic glimpse of life of a soldier during a one-year tour in Iraq and details in a masterful way a gamut of emotions running from self doubt to the inane antics of young men coping with boredom. The latter were so funny I laughed aloud as I read, disturbing the hospital waiting room while waiting on my wife's eye surgery to be complete. But there were also sadness and poignancy brought about by the closeness of losing friends and the ineptitude of some fellow soldiers.
Fresh out of university, Minnick went to Iraq as a young sergeant working as a photographer with a National Guard public affairs unit. With clarity and feeling, he describes his maturing into a greater leadership position, working in a unit with a majority of females, coping with despair over the murder of an Iraqi friend, quelling his own desires to kill, rushing into firefights with a camera rather than his rifle pointed at the enemy, and confronting posttraumatic stress disorder after returning home. Yet "Camera Boy" does not mire into self-pity or the macabre as some war memoirs do.
Minnick doesn't paint himself a hero, yet reports on the heroic actions of others. With a reporter's prose, he describes working with civilian journalists assigned to cover the war, the attacks on insurgents shooting from mosques, the impact on insurgent death threats on Iraqi civilians who worked for the Americans, the suicide bomber at Marez who infiltrated a U.S. military mess hall, killing 22 and wounded more than 70 others.
He works at being leader, but admits to his failings. His examples provide good lessons in leadership for young NCOs and officers.
Anyone wanting a good understanding of what our soldiers' experiences in Iraq, particularly in the earlier years of the war, should read "Camera Boy." A strong sense of patriotism comes through in the book without flag waving and self-aggrandizing.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Honest Memoir that I Couldn't Put Down May 1 2011
By Ms. Gentry - Published on
I met Fred earlier this year in our capacities as wine writers. He did not ask me to review his book, in fact, when I told him I was going to download it, he stated, "you're going to think of me differently." My response was, I have no expectations of who you should be, you're you.

After reading it, I admit I would not have liked Fred if I had known him then. He writes honestly about his unflattering behavior. It's rare that writers will leap out there with such honesty. But there is also a soft side and an incredibly vulnerable Fred in the book. It's a portrait of a real person, not an idealized soldier.

Here's an irony that I don't know if Fred sees. He's a PR guy who's job is to be a storyteller. He could have easily exploited this in his memoir by telling a sugar-coated story or criticizing the Army. He doesn't though. Instead, he writes a painfully real story, his story, just the way it is for him.

Especially recommended for folks who are interested in or studying the memoir genre.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Warm, Honest, Humorous Read Dec 14 2009
By Ronald K. Gibson - Published on
Full disclosure: I am a personal friend of Fred Minnick. But that doesn't make my endorsement of this book any less honest. I'm a writer myself and a fairly avid reader, and the truth about Camera Boy is that it reveals a sensitivity that isn't easy to find in any media these days, let alone a book about war.

Within the pages of Camera Boy, one gets to know Fred in a very real way -- he is a gentleman who is not afraid to look at himself through a very focused emotional lens. This makes his related experiences mean that much more as they are consumed by the reader. And his ability to tell a story and to set a scene ensures that the vehicle is always running smoothly. That's what makes this book a quick read; it's quite difficult to put down, as the cliche goes.

Fred doesn't need me to sell books for him. He'll sell enough on his own. But his honesty in the pages of Camera Boy inspired me to share my honest opinion.

By the way, just so you know -- Fred loves tacos.

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