Reviewed by Trooper Phil Bolté- This is a book of modern war, soldiers, and romance. Author Stroock has written about a a young man who volunteered for Army service and became a trooper in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, then stationed in Germany. Well trained and motivated, Jake Bloom became a tank commander, leader of a four-man crew of an Abrams tank. And then came Desert Shield and Desert Storm and he found himself shipped to the Middle East and participating in the regiment's combat operations.
Stroock has done a good job of capturing the life of a soldier in a combat unit throughout his service in Germany and the Middle East. He describes accurately the challenges of the junior leader as he deals with his subordinates, peers, and superiors. Sergeant Bloom is able to walk the line between familiarity and discipline, a particular challenge of a tank commander. Underlying the military aspects of Bloom's life is a romance started and broken off before his movement to Germany, a home town romance that went sour. Without overdoing this aspect of the story, the author has made it realistic. It is the story of a teen-ager who grows up in years and in experience, the latter magnified by battle.
While the gutter language used throughout the book may be seen as adding realism, some will find it offensive and consider it detracting from the overall quality of the narrative. Soldiers who read this book will find the author's accuracy in describing weapon systems and their performance refreshing. He has, as well, captured the performance of soldiers in modern battle. -- Cavalry Journal (US Cavalry Association)
Jewish 'Jarhead'....with the GenX attitude Stroock brings to this unsentimental, fast-paced book, should make it a favor"ite with history and military buffs." --Kathy Shaidle, Five Feet of Fury
"I enjoyed it a lot. It was strange reading it all and being able to relate so well to what they were saying, doing, etc. The German & American relationships, the fighting, the resentment from some of the locals was right on. The battle and build up to it was intense. It carries well into the post-war too." --Specialist Patrick `Doc' Biddy,Headquarters, Headquarters Company, First Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
"It really brought me back to my days in Germany and my time spent in the Gulf: the good, the bad, the fear of the unknown, the horrible, crappy environment of the desert, the sand that got into everything, the joy of getting a letter from home, the boredom of pulling guard; all of it... The battle scenes brought back those same feelings I had during the ground war." --Private Greg Byer, 84th Engineering Company, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment
"The characters were engaging. It gives insight to the angst of survivors guilt and the grim task of killing the enemy. Soldiers come from all different religious backgrounds. It gives perspective to a Jewish soldiers to point of view. Every soldier has internal conflict which must be resolved concerning duty to country , family , and his relationship with the women in his life, the brotherhood of men under fire, even class separations which divide enlisted men from NCOs from commissioned officers, the differences between those who have seen combat before and to those who combat is a new risk experienced, the failure of civilian friends and family to relate to the combat vets difficulty to easily re-assimilate back to the civilian world. All these psychological items are explored placing you in the character's mind. This book was written with advice from men who were really there on the field of honor. Hopefully any civilian reading this book will gain a much stronger respectful appreciation of those who serve our country." --Don ' doc ' Holiday, 2nd platoon Fox Troop, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment
From the Author
Begun in March 2003 as the Second Gulf War Began, a Line in the Desert was meticulously researched, with correspondence exchanged and interviews conducted with more than 30 officers and men of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. The reader is shown a cavalry trooper's life in Germany, the long wait in the desert for the war to begin, and finally the terror of war during the 100 hours in Iraq.