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on October 28, 2005
I was there with Jason... And he captures everything to a T. Reading the book I can laugh cause when he gets into things I remember I just start laughing cause to be being over there is mostly a blur and I'm so happy that he has captured it for all to read. Great Job Sgt. Hartley, I remember it took me a month to get the internet to work steady. It was like routing a 56k to 18 people but I got it done and you were able to get your site out there and work on this book while it was happing rather then trying to remember which the reason I think this book is is so truthful. Happy to go there and come home with you Sgt. Hartley, - Spec. Justin Marshall A Co. 2/108th INF
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on October 15, 2005
This semi-diary format book about a soldier's year in Iraq provides an insight into what the average front line infantry goes through. It doesn't cover the big picture. It doesn't cover the issues that the news media talks about. It's what the rifle carrying soldier sees, does, thinks as he goes through is deployment.

His story sounds a lot like stories of other veterans. In fact I remember a book by a fellow named McBride from World War I. 'I didn't mind the war, but I hated the hell out of the Army.'

The book is a good mix of stories of the day to day life, going out into bad guy country, and the view from life at the bottom of the Army. I can certainly say that life in the Army hasn't changed much from my time in it (which was from before the author was born.

The web site contains a large collection of pictures.

Well written, very interesting. I'm not so sure what it all means, it's just part of a life of a soldier.
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on December 28, 2005
I picked up this book because I wanted to read a first-hand account of what's going on in Iraq. If you are looking for a book full of combat and killing people, this book is not for you. There is combat and gunfire in the book, but it is much more than that. Hartley talks about things as trivial as getting lost in Humvees to difficult issues such as dealing with the death of a friend. The book is what you would expect from an infantryman but at the same time rather philosophical at times. A good read.
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on November 19, 2005
Jason has that rare sense of humor that does see the absurd in everything, it's a quality to be admired. He's funny smart and can tell a story unlike anyone else. I was a little disappointed in the book though. It was stripped naked compared the blog. Though I loved the first few pages. Who would have thought?? After having read the blog I couldn't help but feel like I was constantly missing something while reading the book. I think we all were spoiled by reading the blog. I heard there is movie deal in the works. I can't even picture how they would make that work. Would it be half real and half fiction?? Or would he just ad more of the orginal story of being there. Either way Jason should be proud. He did a great job.
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on December 11, 2006
Jason Christopher Hartley was raised in my own hometown of Murray, Utah. His story could have been mine, had I chosen to join the Army. What Hartley has is a sharp wit that transforms his work into something more than just a blog in book form. It is episodic, a mere compilation of his blog entries, but this helps recreate what it might feel like for a soldier. Battle is probably quite episodic itself.

Hartley's blog posts are quite eloquently written, laced with a dark sense of humor that can only come from being raised as he was (similar to my upbringing--maybe I found his sense of humor so authentic because it falls in line with my own). His frank honesty, even that which may paint him in a negative light, is refreshing, a nice change of pace from the typical "see what a good person I am?" self-promoting attitudes that come from many autobiographies.

I will say that this is the best of the books I've read from soldiers of the Iraq War. It has the most to say by saying very little at all. It's the simple day-to-day tasks that drive much of Hartley's writing. It amounts to anyone else's blog about their workplace, except Hartley is facing life-or-death on a nearly constant basis. I highly recommend this book if you want an honest portrayal of one infantryman's experiences. Be warned though: Hartley's attitude reflects much of the video-game-generation's detachment. He can view even the most serious of tragedies in a comedic light. For example, he affixed a "I Heart Dead Civilians" sticker to his laptop. He enjoys the thrill of the fight, maybe if just for a thrill. It's a common personality trait of his generation (and mine).

Not to be missed if you can handle it. This is a must read for anyone wanting a peek at how soldiers are living out their tours in Iraq.
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on October 23, 2005
I say kudos to Jason Hartley for a very fine first book. One reviewer said that he doesn't know what it all means - it means only that here is an honest account of one soldier's experience in the combat environment that is today's Iraq. The author writes with candor and humor. The young Mr. Hartley writes in a way that explains what an infantry soldier's life is like on the ground. (Yes, where the work gets done, not what I would call the "bottom" of the army.) Additionally, he helps us to understand just how much our national guardsman are doing to help in this conflict. His website compliments the book with lots of great pictures. I enjoyed reading his accounts very much.
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on January 7, 2006
I started reading Jason's blog online, and then through emails when it was taken offline. I HAD to buy this book! From the signature style of writing to the photo journal, I wanted this for my collection. I contemplated printing all of it myself from the emails. Then he told us ('us' being from the mailing list) he was releasing the blog as a book!! Hartley has a magical way of telling a story. His unique style of writing gives the reader a peak into the life as an Infantry National Guardsman. He has a VIVID sense of humor and a remarkable way of painting a picture for the reader. Cut away the Hollywood glamor and flashing stars, Hartley has a true account, his personal perspective, of how he spent his time in Iraq. If you are looking for an honest first hand account of a day in the life of a deployed infantry solider (reserve, NG or active duty), this is the book for you!
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on January 31, 2014
It seemed to end suddenly, but I did enjoy this book. I'll definitely be checking out the website now. Interesting to visualize the perspective of a soldier who went to a legitimate combat deployment.
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on May 11, 2009
I found this book an interesting view into what are troops are dealing with in Iraq. The ambiguity the author portrays about his feelings towards Iraqis and the war give it a level of realism. The issue of freeedom of speech (blogging) and the way the military deals with it is down right scary. Some very good descriptive lines.

I fealt that the author did not take a political point of view, but kept to describing what it was like to be a grunt.
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on April 24, 2006
Iraq is a confusing place. Its a cloud of question marks. I wasn't sure how I would explain such a state to my friends and family back home. Jason Christopher Hartley figured it out. By sharing feelings on a day-to-day basis, a reader can get into the head of the average soldier in Iraq. It's brilliant! Anyone wanting to know what Iraq is about for the soldier's fighting there must read this no holds barred, raw, honest book.
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