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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Raw Unedited Rage
I have a friend serving in Afghanistan as part of the Canadian contingent of NATO. He was describing to me the thrill he felt to be on the front-lines fighting. As an admitted pacifist and having never served in the military, it is hard for me to understand how someone can feel "glee" in an all out firefight. My friend referred me to "Generation Kill", as a way to explain...
Published on Aug. 9 2008 by Coach C

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Elias and Barnes in Iraq
Despite the books claim to define a generation, it is actually a loosly chronological retelling of the situations and tactics of a few platoons 'on the tip of the spear' in the recent Iraq war.The only well defined characters in the book are the leaders of the units, nicknamed Iceman and Captain America, who play off each other like a 21st century Elias and Barnes from...
Published on July 10 2004 by Paul A. Mcdowell


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Raw Unedited Rage, Aug. 9 2008
By 
Coach C (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Generation Kill (Paperback)
I have a friend serving in Afghanistan as part of the Canadian contingent of NATO. He was describing to me the thrill he felt to be on the front-lines fighting. As an admitted pacifist and having never served in the military, it is hard for me to understand how someone can feel "glee" in an all out firefight. My friend referred me to "Generation Kill", as a way to explain how he feels.

First the mechanics, Evan Wright is an excellent journalist and writer and the lucidity of his prose reflects his talents. The book is literally a page-turner and Wright does a great job developing each of the characters as an embedded journalist in a Recon unit leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The parallel with Lt. Fick and my friend are uncanny.

It's still difficult for me to comprehend why soldiers do what they do, but Evan Wright's book has helped me bridge that gap. Soldiers are ultimately human, conflicted and flawed. Compared to Mark Bowden's "Black Hawk Down", I felt Wright did a better job showing more raw human emotion, to explain what it means to be a soldier.

I'm writing this review as I'm watching the HBO series that bears the same name as the book. I read the book last year and watching the series brings me back to this great book, a worthwhile read for anybody wanting to know more about what it means to be a soldier.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Boyscouts Here, June 24 2004
This review is from: Generation Kill (Hardcover)
I'm glad to read a story about the Marines that is uncensored - with the high expectations of the American people set by the greatest generation that ever lived I found it impossible to live up to Steven Spielberg's version of "Band of Brothers". Being a Marine in 1st Recon Bn, Evan Wright's interpretation of our daily lives and experiences are extremely accurate. While reading the book almost a year later I had forgotten some of the details of my own experiences that Wright brought back to life. It was almost like I was living through the war again. Simply put, if you want to know what it is like to be a Marine during this campaign there is no better book at this time. It seems to me that Evan Wright was influenced by nothing but the experiences and the personalities that he absorbed during the war. No one is over exaggerated.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accurate and instructive, July 13 2004
By 
This review is from: Generation Kill (Hardcover)
I was a Recon Marine (Bravo Co. 3rd. Plt.) in the first Gulf War and Somalia. I look at this book from the distance of time, for my own experience, and with a history degree to reflect upon. The Marines have not changed much, nor has the command structure. There were good officers and enlisted men, and bad ones. The bad ones being deadly by the nature of the work. Yet, when you go to war you are stuck with what you have. First and foremost Wright illustrates that maxim of war.
Secondly, Wright, if he follows up on the consequences, shows the dillema of a journalist being too close to the war. He is embedded with his subjects and the story himself. For me, he did an outstanding job of staying objective about the chaos and slaughter of war. As well, he shows the American Fighting Man for all the things that he is. Some do not want to hear it but many Marines do look forward to war and that does not change after the first round goes off. But Wright does, in a way, become one of the boys. However, he could not have gotten this story if he had not, Recon Marines tend to not like reporters because they usually get portrayed as ninja like Rambos, which is unreal.
Of course, Wright made a few errors on military details, which an editor should have caught. Reporters of military actions should know more about the military: the structure, rank, equipment and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. There are at least a few remarks in the book for which some Marines may unfortunately regret. I don't think journalists should edit themselves but greater care is given to other confidential sources.
Wright got his boots dirty and saw a piece of the military that America has chosen not to look at. This book is true to the American Marine who has to go to war with less than perfect conditions and make decisions that few other humans have to consider.
Semper Fi! (The God Father always had a rhaspy voice.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True but sad, July 10 2004
This review is from: Generation Kill (Hardcover)
I was with Third Recon in Vietnam. This book is the only real description I have read about the full Recon experience. This is war. Some valor Some horror Today I will buy ten copies of this book and pass them out to people. If you want to know me, read this book that is what I will tell people. I was in Vietnam for a year doing this. How were any of us supposed to have survived? For once our story gets out almost forty years after my time in Vietnam. I will be a Recon ranger till the day I die. Somebody wrote the truth in this book. God help the next generation. We might have to hunt and fight the some of these middle easteran religious fanatics on our own land.
moe
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get some!, Sept. 23 2008
By 
Brian Maitland (Vancouver, BC, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Generation Kill (Paperback)
Comparisons are made with this book and Michael Herr's "Dispatches" for the Iraq War generation. I think you need to look at these books as bookends of a long arc of excellent journalism on the "American soldier on the ground" experience.

Look, forget the analysis as all I know is any military unit that bans any country music and calls it "the Special Olympics of music" is one I want to get to know. This book takes you inside that unit and is right up there with Anthony Swofford's "Jarhead" at the top of the heap in books on the modern military.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars finelook from a visitor to the Corps, July 6 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Generation Kill (Hardcover)
Evan wrote in firm prose...dancing his pen in and out of the cobwebs that sometimes clutter a tired sentries vision. He gave a Recon look at War as Chadz gave a infantry Marine's view at peacetime(Stand By to Fall Out). These two books together will allow a reader to travel to hell heaven and back with the Marines...maybe more drastically with Chadz as he was a Marine and wrote first person. Salutes to Evan...and there is still time to join!!!
Semper Fi
KT
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best account of either Iraq war, July 13 2004
By 
David Zincavage (San Carlos, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Generation Kill (Hardcover)
This is certainly the best account of either Iraq war I've read. Those who've previously served will be gratified to find that, even today, the Marine Corps remains the elite service branch. Marines are still warriors. Marines still prize competence. And marines still train at every opportunity.
Evan Wright, a Rolling Stone reporter, embedded with a Marine Recon battalion operating at the spearhead of the Marine Corps advance to Baghdad and beyond, gets thoroughly assimilated into the platoon he's living among. He hero-worships the squad leaders, non-coms, the cold-eyed snipers, and the martial artist warriors. Some readers may think he is quite a bit taken in by the self images, the urban legends and the daily folklore of a macho world he finds impressive and intimidating, and with which he clearly yearns to identify, but he does convincingly portray a bunch of disparate young men from diverse backgrounds, some from the barrio and the jailhouse, some from affluent suburbs, who pretty much all do subscribe to the myth of the Marine Corps served up in the famous TV recruiting ad in which a knight in shining armor fights and slays a dragon, then morphs into a US Marine in dress blues saluting with the USMC mameluke sword. A surprising percentage of that Recon platoon enlisted because they saw that very ad (!).
The young marines talk the tough Marine Corps talk: "Question: What do you first feel when you accidentally shoot a civilian? Answer: Your rifle's recoil." But they nearly all do their best, and they are willing time and again to risk their own lives, to avoid inflicting civilian casualties. They manifestly feel a lot more than recoil when the accidents and mistakes inevitable in warfare occur. One of the main gripes of the rankers is US command's failure to make provision for adequate facilities and care for Iraqi prisoners of war and civilian casualties. Wright shows us US military forces behaving completely unlike the stereotypes found in the daily press.
Wright seemed sometimes more than a bit naive, but he does share, and can vividly describe, soldier's lives, discomforts, and the hazards of combat. He does a good job of explaining just how miserable it is to try to function in desert heat in one of the contemporary anti-gas outfits. Wright naturally recounts plenty of incidents illustrating war's horrors and brutality, but he can also explain some of its fascination, the way being shot at makes young men feel more alive, the way it makes the food taste better.
The author though does fail to recognize that enlisted men gossip incessantly, and that scuttlebutt about the incompetence, criminality, and dementia of individual officers and the reckless folly of all command decisions is ubiquitous in every service, and those kinds of stories and gripes need to be taken with a considerable grain of salt.
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4.0 out of 5 stars So much to think about, June 30 2004
By 
Sherri L. Bergman "slb" (Shanghai) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Generation Kill (Hardcover)
I flew through this book feeling like I was reading letters home from people I knew. I was fascinated by the characters, especially Espera, Reyes and Fick. I protested the war (and continue to) and have a hard time with the "support our troops" messages - the best way I can think of to support our troops is not to send them into unnecessary harm. This book gave me a lot to think about: the military as one of the only truly diverse (socially, economically, racially) institutions in America, the military as safety valve for angry young men, the question of how these guys will ever find civilian life stimulating enough, whether it's possible to train the world's best military and not have it be inevitable that they "get their chance to prove themselves" and, overwhelmingly, the relief at knowing how hard they try not to kill civilians and how bad they feel when they do. I heard an interview with Fick and Wright on NPR and while I'm glad Fick is no longer in harm's way (and hoping he's not one of the non-reservists being recalled to Iraq) I am glad that someone like him enlisted.
I understand the other reviewer's concern that the book wasn't fact checked enough but I disagree that it ruins the book. As it says in the book, most of the time the Marines only knew what was happening in their immediate vicinity - the style of the book replicated the powerlessness and anxiety of that feeling -- of not knowing what the bigger picture is and not being able to do anything to control it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Face of Marine Recon in OIF, June 26 2004
This review is from: Generation Kill (Hardcover)
Evan Wright has written an American classic in war time journalism. If you never serve in the military and want just a taste of action, this is the closest you can get without raising your right hand.
The 1st Recon Bn in OIF is used to make feints all along a string of towns leading to Baghdad to keep the enemy forces off balance and allow the main force components to make rapid progress. Evan Wright is there as a reporter, riding sometimes in the point vehicle even as it willfully goes into ambush situations time and time again. He notes the mannerisms of the Recon Marines around him, meticulously quoting some of the most hilarious statements and incongruous actions ever made by humans at the most innocous moments in combat. The level of competence, concern and attempts to do the "right thing" is reassuring. Alternatively, the tragedies, and mistakes due to incompetence and irresponsibility within one unit is at times excessively shocking. The overall humanizing factor was the portrayal that the Marine's themselves are so shocked by the acts they witness and at times engage in to survive in this combat zone.
For an authentic look at a USMC Recon Bn in battle and to gain some insight of day to day concerns of a small unit in a combat zone, "Generation Kill" delivers a gritty yet enthralling ride. One I could not put down. The five stars is definitely well earned.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not necessarily "accurate", but so what?, June 22 2004
By 
John Snell (Fairview, UT United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Generation Kill (Hardcover)
After reading "Jarhead" I expected another couple of hours of angst and wierdness that doesn't necessarily relate to the experience of the 'Corps. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Mr. Wright captures the experience of the modern infantry marine very well. I beleive he does this simply by observing and writing from 'outside' the experience. Instead of a tale of false bravado, he relates the true experience of combat. In essence, confusion, error and chaos.
Had Wright done his homework later, and reinterviewed his subjects after the fact, he would have lost the effectiveness of this book. Research would've killed it in a flood of useless details that have nothing to do with what he's writing about. In these situations, you do not have the play-by-play. You do not have the big picture. It is true that Wright misses on some smaller points of weaponry and nomenclature. But what little this book suffers in accuracy, it gains in relating the true experience of these Marines.
This book will be compared to a bunch of other modern war stories. It will inevitably be compared to 'Jarhead'. Jarhead was good, because it captured some of the duality and angst of many of the younger Marines in the first Gulf War. But Jarhead was a cathartic exercise, focused inside the brain of a single individual. It's appeal is more to the people who actually lived through some of the events Swafford relates. Generation Kill is a better book about Marines in general, because it captures a cross-section of an elite Marine unit, from an outside perspective. One of the things both books try to tackle is the strange marriage of dysfunction and competence of the Corps. You will never see a stranger (or stronger) patchwork of personality and experience anywhere in the world.
I liked both books, but for very different reasons. If you are a veteran of the first Gulf War, you should certainly read both of them. If you are not, then don't waste your time with Jarhead, but read Generation Kill instead.
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Generation Kill
Generation Kill by Evan Wright (Paperback - Feb. 8 2005)
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