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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The unedited truth about Army deployments
This book relays the experiences of a soldier deployed to war in a way that only a vetern can portray. I was unable to put the book down from start to finish. I knew all of the stories before they were told, because I lived them. Yet I found myself unable to set the book aside as I was drawn in by Anthony's unique story telling abilities. I had high expectations about...
Published on November 13, 2009 by M. ARMSTRONG

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29 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Soap Opera set in Iraq...
This book was a massive disapointment. The title and cover would lead you to believe that this is about a medic on the frontlines in Iraq. In reality, the book is just a guy complaining about his work and being in the Army. Surprise, surprise. Your boss is a jerk, there is drama amongst your co-workers, you wish you were somewhere else, etc., etc. You could take the...
Published on May 8, 2010 by Milhist101


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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The unedited truth about Army deployments, November 13, 2009
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This review is from: Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq (Hardcover)
This book relays the experiences of a soldier deployed to war in a way that only a vetern can portray. I was unable to put the book down from start to finish. I knew all of the stories before they were told, because I lived them. Yet I found myself unable to set the book aside as I was drawn in by Anthony's unique story telling abilities. I had high expectations about where this book would go. I wanted to re-live my memories without censorship, without being politically correct. Reading this book fealt as though I were reading my own journal; a journal which Anthony had prepared just for me. Although some of the stories seem too crazy to be true, I can assure you they are honest accounts of where our deployment took us. From the unstable leadership, to the drug-induced sleep, every story is exactly how I had remembered it. I'm proud to have served with Anthony, and I'm proud of the courage he had to put this book out there for people to see. (Just as he had warned fellow soldiers about the dangers of a questionable vaccine). I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the truth about modern combat.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opener, a superb read, September 30, 2009
This review is from: Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq (Hardcover)
I am drawn to a soldier's memoirs not only because I'm a warrior at heart, but it tells the experience and emotions during their tours overseas, educating one in a lifestyle very different from the one that too many people take for granted. Specialist Michael Anthony's book lacks no sharing of that experience and those emotions. Whether it was connecting with his thoughts and humor throughout, or relating to his very-much-human sentiment, I just could not put this book down and actually read it all the way through. I was pulled in and wanted to know what happened next. It really is a phenomenal read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stress and Consequences, February 27, 2010
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This review is from: Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq (Hardcover)
Michael Anthony has published his journal recorded during his year in Iraq serving as a medic in the midst of the worse than bizarre war being played out around him. The book is a journal written with fine graphics dividing the entries by hours in the days in the weeks in the months of his tour of duty - all bound by the barbed wire that so aptly describes the imprisonment felt by those serving in a position for a given period of time to perform despite the belief in the cause. This writing technique serves Anthony well: he is freed from the literary confines of connecting incidents, minutes/hours/days, into a flowing story - the entries do that for him.

What we learn from this young writer (of very great promise!) is not so much about the particular war in Iraq, but instead about what happens in every war in which civilians serve in the medical capacity. The flow of information is more about the interaction of the various members who comprise the OR team - the docs, the medics, the techs, the nurses, the true military personnel who command the actions away from the OR table - than it is about the war itself. Anthony introduces the friends he makes, the enemies he encounters, the pecking order of those in charge, the 'illegal activities' that are commonplace, the addictions, the chronic lack of sleep, and that most difficult hurdles of all - the agony of seeing young bodies both American and Iraqi torn by shrapnel and commonplace explosions. We feel Anthony's grief and disillusionment while we are sifting through his own addiction to sleeping pills, his only way to rest from the trauma and the at times exceeding boredom of the day.

So what Michael Anthony has achieved in MASS CASUALTIES is an insider's (literally) account of being a medic in a war that grows ever more unpopular with each day. It is timely and it is well written. If the reader expects to discover significant information about the actual war strategies and atmosphere on the battlefield of Iraq, then this is not the book to read. But for a fine account of how the days pass while imprisoned by a war game far from home, Anthony captures that beautifully Grady Harp, February 10
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Hand Look At The War Through A Medic POV, November 14, 2009
This review is from: Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq (Hardcover)
I just finished reading this book, literally couldn't put the book down. Michael really gives a raw point of view of HIS war experience.

This book is better than any story I've ever read, better than Harry Potter. Michael Anthony doesn't hide any emotion. He expresses every emotion he has at any given time. From thoughts of death to the memories of friends, Michael Anthony gives you an experience you'll never forget.

Every page, every line, every bit of ink is pure gold. Michael Anthony is not worried about what people may think, this is HIS story, these are actual encounters he had in Iraq. It's as if you are reading directly from his journal he kept.

Michael Anthony survived Iraq, and I don't know if I could of done the same. I recommend this book 100%.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Eye-Opening Account Of Life In A War Zone, December 4, 2011
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Mass Casualties is one man's memoirs of his time serving as a medic in the Iraq war.

Written as a journal, spanning the course of one year, it provides what is probably the most realistic account of what it's really like to serve during wartime in a foreign land - the pressures it creates, the fear, and the total change to life as they knew it

It should be mandatory reading for anybody in the upper echelons of the armed forces, if only to find out what really goes on in within their command structure.

You could be forgiven for thinking, based on SPC Anthony's experiences, that many of the officers in charge were fighting for the wrong side - while leaders are meant to motivate and inspire their personnel, it seems as though their ineptitude, arrogance, abuse of authority, and negative attitudes achieved the exact opposite. How is it possible for such petty politics to go on and when their troops' lives are at stake?

Probably the most telling point for me was the fear of returning home to a normal life, something that many people fail to consider.

Given that we are strongly anti-chemicals, especially vaccinations, I was also pleased to see the issue of vaccinations came up - using people who are already risking their lives to serve their country as guinea pigs for unproven "science" is morally wrong.

The writing itself is somewhat raw, exactly as it should be if it were somebody's journal, but that only serves to make the entire journal seem so much more realistic and believable.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book, which feels like a coming together of MASH and Catch 22, and would recommend it to anybody who wants an insider's view of a soldier's life.
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars war and its consequences, September 11, 2009
This review is from: Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq (Hardcover)
It's fitting i'm writing this review on the 8th anniversary of 911 because that event is the pretext to this book, and so many other stories about this war that will never be told.

The book is a non partisan view of the war from a medics vantage point. It does not take sides as to if it was right or wrong to go to war, it just tells the honest story of a young solider who was thrust into the conflict and how he deals with the stresses of war. Also, it goes into great detail the motions and prepartions to be sent off to Iraq, some of the most humorous points in book are found here. Reading the book you get a real sense of what it would be like being sent to war and dealing with its inevitable consistant outcome, death and its effects.

There are emotional highs and then lows encapsulated in this book. I think anybody reading this memior will really appreciate what a solider goes thru whether they agree with the war or not. I couln't help but keep reading, the stories were interesting and some i counldn't believe actually occurred.

The most touching and my favorite moment, is when he told his parents he was called to go. The narative captured the raw emotion of that moment and what must have been going thru a parents mind seeing their youngest child sent away, possibly to his death.

The book explains you never really get used to war or prepare for it, you just evolve. You deal with the cards you are dealt and just try to cope. Now I know why the issues the returning veterans have when returning to, so called, real life.

I would recommend this book to anyone you wants an honest depictition of the Iraq war and its consequences.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War is Hell, October 25, 2009
This review is from: Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq (Hardcover)
Anyone thinking about going into the military would do well to read Michael Anthony's memoir, Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq. While the title might suggest that this is the work of some renegade peacenik, another soldier-turned-antiwar-activist, Anthony in fact seems proud of his military service, and he never criticizes the US mission in Iraq. Not that any of that matters. Mass Casualties isn't about the politics of war. It's simply what it claims to be, a memoir, one soldier's remembrance of his time in Iraq.

A natural storyteller, Anthony populates his book with memorable characters, some loveable, some not so loveable. There's Denti, a fellow operating room medic. "Denti's always been a storyteller, and I quickly learned to never believe anything he says, including the fact that he was a pimp, a drug dealer, gang member, and a weightlifting power-lifter--he says he only joined the Army because he wanted to get away from the hectic lifestyle." There's also Gagney, the staff sergeant in charge of the operating room who's not exactly the world's most gracious loser. "Then a month ago Gagney, Reto, Denti, and I were playing Risk, a game of global domination. I had an alliance with Reto, and we attacked Gagney's armies. Gagney flipped out, knocked the game board over, called us all `f***ing idiot cheaters,' and stormed off."

One can't read Mass Casualties without at some point being reminded of M*A*S*H. People are often joking around. People are often--okay, usually--okay, almost always--having sex--lots and lots of sex. But, more to the point, nobody wants to be there. This isn't summer camp. This is the Army. This is war. And everyone knows that at any given moment his life could come to a sudden, tragic end.

The more we read, the more we realize that the practical jokes and adulterous escapades are really just a desperate attempt to create some sense of normalcy. But, of course, normalcy can't be created in the hellishness of war. No matter how hard Anthony and his cohorts try to escape the horrors of their present reality, there they find themselves, operating on a soldier who's just had his face blown off, running into a bunker as mortar rockets rain down from the sky. "When I close my eyes," Anthony writes, "I dream of death and war. When I open my eyes I see death and war. I blink and as my eyes close I see images of death, and as they flutter open I see death--there is no escaping it."

Many who went to Iraq undoubtedly had it worse than Anthony. Indeed, his experience appears to have been a relatively good one. (Let me stress the word relatively.) And this is precisely why those wanting to join the military should read Mass Casualties. Because, as Anthony so masterfully illustrates, war thrusts all of its participants, even those who don't end up getting shot full of holes, into a situation that the human psyche is simply not equipped to handle.

Contrary to what most eighteen-year-olds think, war isn't like a game of Halo. It's certainly nothing like the latest Army recruitment video. And to make matters worse, the military is largely run by a bunch of self-absorbed, even sadistic, people who don't seem to give a damn about those serving under them. At one point, Anthony describes how a colonel postpones treating a severely wounded soldier so he can finish attending an awards ceremony. Another time, the unit's officers refuse to send a suicidal soldier away to receive the care he needs, fearing that doing so might make them look bad.

Yes, the military might "make you a man," that is, if you come back alive. But, as Mass Casualties demonstrates, as the record number of soldiers returning home with drug and alcohol addictions, with brain damage, with PTSD and other mental disorders, can testify, it's also likely to destroy you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great War Story, December 6, 2011
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Mass Casualties takes you on a mind boggling trip through a tour of duty in Iraq. Michael Anthony weaves together daily events into a story that is hard to put down. As I read this book I experienced differing emotions in response to the accounts, from laughing at the crazy antics people get into under stress, to sharing the dread of not knowing if the next mortar round will take your life.

I finished the book with a great appreciation for the rank and file soldiers who serve our country, especially when I considered the personal toll it obviously took on some. I can't say I have the same appreciation for some of the leaders.

It makes a tour of duty sound like a strange, bad dream that you begin to wake up from on the flight back home, when you realize it is just all in your head now.

If you like war stories and tales about combat, you'll love this book. It is a different kind of war story - one about the battles that rage inside.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An honest and raw memoir whose only serious fault is its brevity, April 15, 2010
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This review is from: Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq (Hardcover)
This valuable, heartfelt, and occasionally angry memoir relates the transformation of one young man's desire to serve his country into the disillusion caused by the misconduct and ineptitude of certain leaders and members of his army unit. It is unique among Iraq War memoirs in its focus on the medical facilities and the unnerving life-or-death chaos of the operating rooms. And it is a very personal account about Michael Anthony's own experiences and the bravery and knuckleheadedness of his fellow soldiers (as well as their sometimes outrageous, sometimes disgusting behavior); as such, it scrupulously avoids opinions on the merits of the Iraqi mission or, for that matter, on the appeal of military service in general.

In fact, most of Anthony's family (including five of his siblings) have served in the military, so he appears to have enlisted (at 17!) with high expectations. Although the "Army made [him] a man," the book is more a record of his disenchantment. Many things about his twelve-month tour distress him: he is exhausted by the lack of sleep caused by an oafish and devious staff sergeant whose leadership abilities revolve around his personal pleasures, dismayed by the hankering after medals and honors for the slightest reason, distraught by the suicide attempts, and aghast at the illicit, brazen sexual exploits of his fellow soldiers, many of whom have spouses back home. (There is, in fact, a hint of youthful prudery that seems to run through the narrative, but basically Anthony is in the right here: most of these liaisons were in defiance of Army regulations.)

This is a 150-page book that a very clever designer has fleshed out to 230 pages, and the book is perhaps too short. Anthony tends to focus on the ribaldry and petty crimes and scandal in his obviously dysfunctional unit and the incompetence and self-centeredness of certain military leaders (particularly the staff sergeant). For the many readers who've never served with a medical team stationed in Iraq (much less in the armed forces), the book could have used more detail about everyday life inside the wire and especially in the operating room; what may seem mundane to the author would surely be interesting to the rest of us. While I don't mean to suggest that any of the "newsworthy" episodes or the accounts of the attack under mortar fire should have been cut, "Mass Casualties" at times has the feel of a tell-all expose condensed to the most sensational and naughty bits of his yearlong tour of duty.

In other words, my only qualms about "Mass Casualties" concern what isn't in the book. What is there is fascinating and appalling in equal measures, and Michael Anthony has written a raw and powerful chronicle of one soldier's loss of innocence.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting glimpse into a soldier's life at war, November 10, 2009
This review is from: Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq (Hardcover)
Mass Casualties is an exceptionally well written book - journal style, so it's perfect for anyone who happens to be nosey (as I am). There are no political commentaries in here; no pro- or anti-war sentiments; it's simply a year in the life of a young man who signed up for the Army, became a medic and went to war. There are humorous stories about games to pass time; there are sad stories about the lives hidden from families back home in the states; there are triumphant stories about defying direct orders and living (outside of prison) to tell about it. For anyone who hasn't served in the military, it's an excellent glimpse into the life of a soldier at war. For anyone who has, perhaps there is a knowing or camaraderie to it that will be appealing. The author, Michael Anthony, is a surprisingly open and available young man with whom you seem to identify, even if you've never walked in his shoes. I highly recommend the book - it's a quick read and one you will find yourself pondering long after you've finished.
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