From Publishers Weekly
In this macho, profanity-laced memoir by a 2003 Iraqi invasion veteran, Martinez describes himself as a Hispanic juvenile delinquent from Albuquerque, N.Mex., who turned his life around by joining the marines in 2001. His exploits (including winning the Navy Cross) will entertain military buffs with precise details of combat and of a sadistic boot camp that recalls the antiwar movie (but Marine and Martinez favorite) Full Metal Jacket
. Bonded and eager for battle, his unit yearned in vain to fight in Afghanistan after 9/11 and joyfully participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Though experts now agree our forces overwhelmed Saddam Hussein's disorganized army, Martinez and his men assumed they faced a vicious enemy, referred to by Martinez as terrorists, and killed scores while destroying buildings with their overwhelming firepower. His company suffered two wounded. Martinez never doubts that he fought to defend America's freedom and freely admits his contempt for those who don't appreciate this. The book is peppered with denunciation of biased news coverage, liberals, hippies, John Kerry and Anthony Swofford (ex-marine author of Jarhead)
, but readers who enjoy learning about the mechanics of an urban gang and of a marine platoon in combat are unlikely to object. (Sept. 18)
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Hard corps is a term of praise for a really dedicated marine. It's highly merited by Martinez, who pulls no punches, including in his language about his gangbanging teen years before, vaguely wanting an alternative and at the prodding of some mentors, he enlisted in the marines. Nor is there any bowdlerizing in his description of boot camp as intended to simulate the stresses of infantry combat (the marines' overriding purpose, after all) without deliberately killing anybody. Thereafter comes a grunt's-eye view of marine garrison service and, at last, deployment to Iraq. Martinez's battalion was one of the first into Baghdad and shortly after was engaged in a knock-down, drag-out fire fight in the suburbs, which Martinez most vividly relates and for which he received the Navy Cross for courage and leadership. Now a civilian again, Martinez will always be proud to have worn the title of United States Marine, and any reader interested in such a man's self-portrait will devour this book. Green, Roland