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Camera Boy: An Army Journalist's War in Iraq Paperback – February 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


"Minnick's gift of strong voice, authenticity and an innate sense of story makes this a compelling read--and fosters greater appreciation for those risking their lives for our country." --Kentucky Monthly

"In Camera Boy, the Oklahoma native recounts the good, the bad and the ugly of that year, the scars from which will never be far from his mind." --The Daily Oklahoman

"Minnick captures his emotions and experiences in Camera Boy without glorifying combat or painting himself as a hero." --Northwest Guardian

"Camera Boy chronicles {Minnick's} time serving in an Army public affairs unit -- a time he spent with a Nikon camera slung over one arm, an M-16 over the other." --Louisville Courier Journal


“Camera Boy is a gripping and beautifully written narrative that goes to the heart of the Iraq controversy. Fred Minnick’s book should be read by anyone who relishes a compelling story.”  – Lary Bloom, co-author with Tom Ridge of The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege...And How We Can Be Safe Again

“Sometimes deadly serious, at others wholly frivolous, but always genuine. This is what our soldiers experienced in Iraq in 2004 and Fred Minnick has allowed us to share in that experience.” – General Carter F. Ham, U.S. Army Europe Commander

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Hellgate Press; 1st edition (February 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555716687
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555716684
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,008,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Wall Street Journal-bestselling author Fred Minnick writes for Whisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate, Scientific American, and many others. In 2012, his Tasting Panel "American Whiskey" column earned the prestigious APEX Award for Editorial Excellence, and he was named a finalist to the Louis Roederer International Wine Writer of the Year in the Emerging Category and the Pink Lady International Food Photographer of the Year. He wrote the award-winning and critically acclaimed Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch & Irish Whiskey, winner of the 2013 ForeWord Reviews "Women's Studies" book of the year. Minnick's Iraq War memoir, Camera Boy: An Army Journalist's War in Iraq (Hellgate Press, 2009), became a Wall Street Journal Best-Seller. Based in Louisville, Kentucky--the heart of Bourbon Country--Minnick regularly judges cocktail contests and serves as a judge on the World Whiskies Awards and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Minnick is the "Bourbon Authority" for the Kentucky Derby Museum and is a member of the American Society of Journalists & Authors as well as the Author's Guild. Minnick is also an accomplished photographer and is a former finalist for the Pink Lady International Food Photographer of the Year. But most importantly, he wears ascots

For a more complete biography, visit

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Radio Writer on November 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joe Epley on June 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Gentry on May 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
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.
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