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Making a Killing: The Explosive Story of a Hired Gun in Iraq Hardcover – March 9, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books; First Edition edition (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852273119
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852273118
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,452,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Radiates not just personality, but that elusive, lyrical honesty the existentialists used to call 'authenticity.'"  —Daily Telegraph
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Captain James Ashcroft is a former British Infantry Captain who served as a private security contractor in Iraq from September 2003 until spring 2005.

Customer Reviews

This book is a highly entertaining read!
Benjamin Yee
Some US forces are doing an excellent job while others are creating more irhabi's with their unrestrained use of firepower.
Paul James Harper
Mixes the excitement and danger the author experienced with the bonds and humor of fellow contractors in Iraq.
Brennon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By skyrat on May 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I read a lot of military books and this is one of the best. Capt. Ashcroft has managed to weld action, suspense, humor and political insight into one great tale of modern military conflict. The gruesomeness and tension of life and combat in Iraq is compellingly told. In addition, there are extremely humerous portions that will have you laughing to the point of tears. One caution however: if you're a "Hank the Yank" that hasn't spent time in Great Britain, Australia, or Canada, beware of the "C" word. To me, it just added to the authenticity of the story. What do you think guys are saying to each other in combat situations - Aw shucks?

I would rate this book on par with Mark Bowden's "Black Hawk Down" - one of the best I've read.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a well written book on modern combat in the middle east. In addition to telling a riveting story, Mr. Ashcroft provides some unique (though often clearly biased) perspectives on the actions of the Coalition Forces in Iraq. Overall, it is a fun and exciting read. I'm only giving it four stars for two reasons: 1) the author struggles to make clear his view of the U.S. military in Iraq. Some passages in the book shower praise on them, while others offer nothing but harsh criticism. He says "I now had the utmost respect for all of them," then turns around and accuses them of being overly anxious killers. 2) The book feels like it was written in a hurry. The writing is high quality and intelligent, but the story feels rushed. Its almost as if the publisher tried to repackage an honest and in depth telling of one man's powerful experiences into a fast-paced, shoot 'em up, action thriller. This may account for #1. Anyway, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in military history, current events, or just plain fun.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Travis B. Johnson on April 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I'm US Military and have done two tours in iraq, having talked with private contractors over there and for a time wanted to do the same as them, but decided to stay in the military, though I still have a interest in doing that sort of work...

Capt. Ashford gives a very, very interesting and insightful look into the world of private contractors, giving a sometimes very humerous account of his time in iraq to a sometimes very bleak look of things as they were when he was there.

From Capt. Ashford and his fellow englishman's hilarious banter and rivalry between themselves and their south arfican team-members, who's constant "ja ja..." always manages to bring a chuckle in true afrikaner style, to his own insights into going crazy at a office job and wanting to get back to what he did best and get into the action, to having to deal with their sometimes idiotic and highstrung clients and iraqi co-workers, this book is at times hilarious, at times dark and dismal, and at other times filled with action for any war junkie to enjoy.

People tend to look at people like Capt. Ashford as the dirty, evil mercenary who is willing to do anything for a buck, when infact most are family men with loving children, simply trying to support themselves and their families using the skills they learned in their military career's and putting them to applicable use.

People go to college or technical schools to learn the knowledge and gain the skills they need to get paying jobs in the real world, same as these men but they get the stereotype of blood-thirsty mercenaries.....
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. L. Trexell on June 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because I wanted to know what it was really like over in Iraq. I didn't want a 'Everything is great' right wing book or an 'America is evil' left wing book.
I really enjoyed Ashcroft's story. It's full of a great many details about the current situation in Iraq. Since he is a British civilian, (and not a soldier or lefty journalist) he was able to freely critique the American military. I found all of his observations pertinent and unbiased. He tells you very plainly what is and is not working in Iraq.
The main thing I took from this book is the amount of 'tribalism' in Iraq. EVERY single neighborhood EVERYWHERE in Iraq is it's own little tribe. Ashcroft explains how they distrust ALL outsiders, both the USA and al Qaida.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Debra Purvis on January 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. Having read a number of military biographies from the Iraq conflict,I have really enjoyed reading about these front line experiences. I would much rather listen to a soldier who has been there than to some watered down version, delivered by journalists and edited for television. This book is no exception, and the author's experiences with the Iraqis nationals, give the book a different and unique perspective, one sadly that we as civilians leading our lives safely back home are generally kept ignorant of. I only wish the author would consider another book, and am going to purchase the video Shadow Company which he collaborated on... see [...] In my opinion it is up there with the best of them, 'Generation Kill', 'My War','House to House', 'Hard Corps', 'Just another Soldier'and Nathanial Flick's 'One Bullet Away'. I highly recommend all of the above.
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