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Blood Makes the Grass Grow Green: A Year in the Desert with Team America Paperback – April 24, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press; Reprint edition (April 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891418970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891418979
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.4 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #623,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. When someone is shooting at you, and you are shooting back at someone," Rico warns the reader up-front, "objective perception goes out the door." With that caveat, Rico—a self-professed "tall, skinny dork" who joined the army as one of several reactionary choices in his life (another was changing his name to Johnny Rico at age 21)—takes a shot at recounting his experiences as a stop-loss veteran of the war in Afghanistan. The result is a biting tale of frustrated ambitions and the curse of self-awareness that appropriately cites The Catcher in the Rye and Catch-22 in the book's epigraph; readers will need to remind themselves that this is memoir and not absurdist satire. Whether detailing the horrors of a roadside bomb, or the masturbation schedules of his comrades-in-arms, he shifts between the indignant adolescence that still rages inside of him and the austere sapience of his fiercely learned adulthood. His precise, evocative prose balances pathos and humor with an almost destructive compulsion for honesty and so much frustrated wit that, even at his most naked and sensitive, he holds nothing sacred. A timeless story of confounded youth and its eternal struggle for meaning, this book may well signal the birth of a titanic new voice. (Apr. 24)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"'Breathtakingly, brutally and hilariously honest. This is the finest book about youth and war I've ever read.' - Clinton McKinzie, bestselling author of Crossing the Line"

More About the Author

Ex-pat living in England.
Visit me on Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/121865447

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
28
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See all 45 customer reviews
Unfortunately, I found it annoying.
Mark Lacy
This book, with it's humor, and it's grief, and it's frustration, gives all that back.
T. Ward
If anything it help me remember a lot of the good and bad things.
Leroy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By W. P. Elliott on August 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
I was trapped in a DC airport this week for 12 hours. While I was wondering aimlessly through airport shops, I saw this book. The Author's name gave me a quick chuckle so I picked it up.

First, I am a college educated, U.S. Marine, who enlisted at 26 much like Rico with a desire to do something great for my country after 911. Whether it is Marines or Army, the experience is the same.

But, with 4 months to go on my contract before I return to my old life I can attest to the accuracy and humor in this book. I laughed out loud at the description of his time overseas. Anyone who says this dishonors our men in uniform has never served or is completely delusional. This is dead on...

If he's lying then it is the most truthful lie I have ever read.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By C. C. Beckham on April 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
"God must have hated 2nd Platoon. And we would all be wise to keep our distance from the 2nd Platoon soldiers, who might taint us with their bad luck." With nothing kept sacred, Johnny explores his own thoughts on God, spirituality, and superstitions as his "cursed" comrades are being blown up, contemplating whether or not he believed in this non-sense, admitting "I kept my Virgin Mary bubble-gum trading cards."

Johnny tells of America's insatiable appetite of making each dead soldier into a war hero, no matter what the truth. This is the type of dishonest propaganda put out by the Army that Johnny detests.

His defiance through his interpretation of characters is refreshingly honest and quite accurate. From subtle nuances to thought-provoking discussions of stepping on land mines to ensure unborn children their right to a good education at the state's expense, each character brings to life the reality of being deployed to Afghanistan in the Army as an infantry soldier.

It's hard not to agree with Johnny's frustrations and elations echoing through pages that flow effortlessly, rich with descriptions such as that of the night sky in the desert, where "the stars are so bright you can taste them."

I challenge you to find a character in this book that you haven't met somewhere in the recesses of your own life or mind.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Rico captured it all... as one of the National Guard soldiers that relieved Johnny and his collection of working class mis-fits from Ghazni, I can testify to the insane-ness written so well.

I can't wait for the movie
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By T. A. Yasko on July 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
anything I say which could be derogatory is actually, I think, a necessary part of the book and experience which the author is trying to relate.

I have- and would- recommend it. Especially to other folks in the military- especially infantry.

enough said, I think....

(except, perhaps... former bobcat and still in 25th...)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By T. Leyvas on August 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
My boyfriend who is a Sgt in th USMC bought the book about a month ago and after reading it begged me to read it so I could have a better understanding of what his tour in Iraq had been like. I have to say I'm not a fan of military themed books, but this book was amazing. As a civilian it gave been better perspective of war, the action and the duldrums.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kyle L. Johnson on July 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
Yeah, about the pictures...although this guy basically sat around guarding a radio for a year, it doesn't diminish the valid critiques he has of how inefficient the US Army is (I'm also a veteran...anyone who has served and who is honest can relate to how recruiters are the biggest bold-faced liers...including Satan). It's a worthy read, regardless of your political background, because it is an indictment of military inefficiency.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By T. Traster on November 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
Well Mr. Hanner....it might have helped if you had actually "read" the book, instead of just looking at the shiny pictures. Rico acknowledges time and time again that he is in fact NOT a natural born killer. He goes into detail to explain that he did not take his military training as seriously as he should have, was NOT adequately trained to do his "military" job and in fact doesn't know what the hell he is doing half the time.

As far as the "tough guy" on the cover....it's IRONY...ever heard of IRONY? Just in case you don't know what that means, here's the definition:

a technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated.

Read the book, then write a review about it. It's a great raw read. Very well written.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Ward on March 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
Not all men are great men. Not all soldiers are heroes--some are just people trying to make it through life in whatever way they can.

The BEST part about this book is that Rico neither vilifies nor glorifies the average Joe soldier in our military as a whole. Each character in the book is a representative of a "type" of soldier. Even Rico admits that he combined many of the individuals he met into singular characters in this book to prevent confusion with similar personalities. He shows us good guys and not so good guys. Each soldier we encounter is an individual who found himself in Afghanistan for any number of personal reasons, and each one is reacting to being there in a different way. There's the kid from the inner city, who's making more money than his parents ever did, the mid-western 19 year old looking for direction, the college educated do-gooder who joined for the noblest of reasons, only to have those crushed with the words "stop-loss." As I read this book, I felt like I knew each of them. Some I liked more than others, but none of them were completely a hero, nor a villain. They were real people. When some of them die, as they inevitably do in war, I felt their loss as people, not as a glorified, nameless heroes. This book puts human faces on, and gives human thoughts to, those groups of uniformed soldiers we see on television, and the lines of names listed on the rolls of the dead. I didn't agree with everything Rico said or did in the book, and I didn't disagree. At times he was noble, at times a jerk... and so was everyone else around him. They were people caught in an awful situation and they did the best they could. That's why I loved this book.
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