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Showing 1-7 of 7 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on August 9, 2008
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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on July 6, 2004
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
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on June 30, 2004
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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on June 22, 2004
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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on June 30, 2004
Support the war or not, you'll still enjoy this book. The author chronicles his time spent embedded with a Marine Corps Recon unit in the early days of the war.
The book reads like a diary, end-to-end small unit action, and captures all the rough edges of the grunts as well as their occasional gestures of humanity.
No punches are pulled, except that the more incompetent characters are only identified by their nicknames. This isn't great literature, but it's not meant to be. It IS great frontline reporting.
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on February 21, 2010
This book is great!! Wright's writing style has a great flow and it made me want to search down the Rolling Stones articles to find out more info on these interesting people. The only down fall is that after the killer HBO mini series came out he did a afterword for the re release of the book. So I would look for the copy with the movie cover.
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on January 30, 2011
Shipping took a little longer than I would've liked but, the prices are good and the condition of the book was good. I am satisfied.
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