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Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails: A Memoir Hardcover – June 5, 2012
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"A gritty, intense and wrenching account..."―USA Today
"Join Anthony Swofford on his journey toward true manhood....HOTELS, HOSPITALS, AND JAILS is a powerful and sometimes painful book to read. The writing is short, staccato and rhythmic. More importantly, it's honest."―Bookpage.com
"Anthony Swofford has ruined me. His latest book is a memoir, Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails. And it's all guts. I laughed. I cried. I sat in somber silence. I could not put this book down. As deadlines escalate around me, other books need to be read, blurb requests are stacking up, it doesn't matter, it's the Anthony Swofford show...He splays it out. He's unrelenting. This is a book many authors have to wait until their fathers die or until someone dies to be this honest at portraying their families."―San Francisco Chronicle
"Swofford shares brutally honest stories about his family, random sex, hard drinking and his difficult relationship with his father, as he tries to cope with life and post-traumatic stress...Swofford is an often-gripping narrator, at his best both angry and charismatic without apology...The chapter about visiting a veterans' hospital has rightly been singled out as a remarkable piece of writing."―The Huffington Post
"[S]earing...Swofford's prose remains as strong as ever. And his insights into his own past and present strike an honest chord."―Associated Press
"Fiery follow-up memoir by the bestselling author of Jarhead . . . Swofford's writing, like many of his stories, is explosive . . . the author's voice and energy are compelling . . . sure to be a bestseller."―Kirkus Reviews
"Swofford's brisk storytelling, deadpan humor, and appealing swagger."―The New Yorker
"Swofford is a remarkable writer, and Hotels might prove to be a timely reminder that for soldiers who have served our country overseas, returning home sometimes marks the start of yet another long battle."―NPR.org
"If perhaps some conversations are recollected here with incredible level of accuracy, the narrative is better off for it. Swofford has put in some hard years, and he writes of his past with a grit and flair for noir that can only be honed with experience."―The Daily Beast
"Remarkable....By dint of its jumpy nature, 'Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails' doesn't go into enough depth in explaining how Swofford righted his life. But his writing is too good and engaging for that to prevent the book from being a worthy entry in the pantheon of dysfunctional-family memoirs."―The Boston Globe
"Anthony Swofford has given us a complex, unflinching, loving, and sometimes harrowing memoir. Candid as a locomotive, written with fury and grace, this book has a dangerous, achingly desperate personality of its own. I was shaken and moved."
―Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried
"Swofford has done an amazing job showing how war plays out in peoples' lives for years after they come home. I read this book with the eagerness one usually reserves for fiction. It is a tremendous look into one man's attempt to replace war with life."―Sebastian Junger, author of WAR
"Following Swofford's struggle to come to terms with a difficult father and his experience of war- and the two are intertwined-we soon realize that this writer is making easier our struggles against leading a parent's life instead of our own. He blazes a trail for all of us with honesty and skill, gem after gem. Swofford is quite simply the master of the metaphor. The chapter describing his visit to Bethesda Naval Hospital will break your heart and it should."―Karl Marlantes, author of Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War and What It Is Like To Go To War
"Anthony Swofford is a writer of painful and painfully powerful prose."―Sacramento News & Review
"A bayonet in the eye...brutal and unforgettable."―Sacramento Bee, on Jarhead
"A brutally honest memoir... gut-wrenching frontline reportage."―Entertainment Weekly, on Jarhead
"Jarhead is a stunning success... Swofford has created what may become a classic of modern war literature, a Gulf War addition to the shelf holding Vietnam narratives such as Michael Herr's Dispatches and Philip Caputo's A Rumor of War."―The Philadelphia Inquirer
"If you want a clear-eyed sense of what might be going on today in the staging areas surrounding Iraq, a view stripped of cant, hypocrisy, and the bloated lies of officialdom, read Jarhead."―Newsweek
"Without war there would be no war stories, and Jarhead is one of the best-loopy, stoned, its prose is like three heavy metal bands playing three separate songs at once. It honors the literature of men at arms."―New York Review of Books
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Amazon's editors selected this title as a Best Book of the Month in biography & memoir. See our current Editors' Picks.
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Top Customer Reviews
Swofford's father (also a combat veteran, and a strong, intimidating presence throughout most of his life) is dying of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The two Swofford men undertake several lengthy road trips in the elder Swofford's RV in an attempt to recover their father-son relationship while there's still time. It's a new battlefront now: rather than engaging an enemy in the desert, the enemy is within. Swofford struggles through self-destructive impulses, the death of his brother, and the impending death of a father he's frightened of becoming himself.
Swofford's writing is as crisp and emotionally unsparing as always. I tore through it in a single evening, staying up far too late because I couldn't bear to leave the book unfinished. It's a worthy follow-up to "Jarhead," and a must-read.
There is one passage that is covered in excruciating detail -- When a child, the author is assigned a chore to pick up the dog feces that litters his back yard. Having missed a pile of puppy poop, the author's face is held very close to the dog excrement by his father as punishment for failing to have picked up the feces. Funny thing is, I actually picked up this pile of poop, but received 13 chapters of the very same punishment anyway. Very bad. Very sad. Buyer beware.
Rating: Two-star (Mildly Recommended)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting. A lot of people write about feeling suicidal when things should be good. I had read his wife's memoir, Her, and was curious to then see whom she had married. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Pamela I. Perkins
swofford is a whiner ~ he really needs to get over it ~ whining about his dad's behavior got on my last and final nerve ~ bitching about his mom smoking ~ this 40-something is a... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Patricia L. Taylor
This book made me want to do my three favorite things- get drunk, screw and fight.Published 16 months ago by supebone411
Swofford does it again with a fantastic memoir. Post "Jarhead," he finds himself with too much money and a bottomless urge for drinking, drug use, and sexual escapades. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Chris J. Campion
If you read the book or saw the film Jarhead, you know Anthony Swofford's work and his viewpoint. More good stuff here.Published 23 months ago by Jonathan H.
Having really enjoyed Jarhead, I had reasonable expectations that this new memoir would be good, especially since it wasn't written right away. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Chris
This book is a sad display of a man (or little
Boy?) making a sad excuse for his addictions in life. Read more
The passion and insight in this book are remarkable. Enjoyed it....wish it was twice as long and hope he continues to write more of these very personal stories.Published on October 3, 2013 by Amazon Customer