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Once a Marine: An Iraq War Tank Commander's Inspirational Memoir of Combat, Courage, and Recovery Hardcover – October 1, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1932714470 ISBN-10: 1932714472 Edition: 1st

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Once a Marine: An Iraq War Tank Commander's Inspirational Memoir of Combat, Courage, and Recovery + First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps (Bluejacket Books) + The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Savas Beatie; 1st edition (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932714472
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932714470
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The autobiography of a retired marine gunnery sergeant, invalided out from wounds received in Iraq, is, first off, sheer good reading for anyone fond of portrayals of committed warriors. Popaditch wanted to be a marine more than anything else in the world, and tried to stay in even after being hit in the head with a rocket. During his 15-year career, he specialized in armor, and he throws a good deal of light on the marines who fight in tanks, the like of which is often missing in other, more infantry-oriented accounts. He and his freelance-journalist collaborator also provide rare exposure of how the corps looks from the perspective of a noncommissioned officer whose loyalty to it doesn’t blind him to its vices and limitations. Collections with strong military holdings will want to add this for the sake of both Iraq War and Marine Corps coverage. --Roland Green

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Customer Reviews

I could not put this book down once I began to read it.
Robert Brennan
From this dramatic opening line in Chapter One to the last sentence of the Epilogue you will not want to put this book down; it's simply that good.
Ron Walker
The story of Nick Popaditch's combat performance, wounding and recovery ia a inspiring story of love of family, country and Marine Corps.
Gerald P. Brodeur

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Stephan on October 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Length: 3:38 Mins
This is a Hollywood-style book trailer for "Once a Marine: An Iraq War Tank Commander's Inspirational Memoir of Combat, Courage, and Recovery," by Nick Popaditch with Mike Steere (Savas Beatie, October 1, 2008).

Make sure you watch to the very end for a "special" photo message from "Gunny Pop" Nick. I know you will appreciate seeing him.

Nick "Gunny Pop" Popaditch is a former marine Gunnery Sergeant, a Silver Star winner, a 15-year veteran of the USMC, and was widely known around the world as "The Cigar Marine:" (Google it.). His tanks captured Firdos "Saddam" square in April 2003 and pulled down the hated statue. Nick was severely wounded one year later with an RPG to the head, which was captured live by a media news crew. He had to fight his way through an incredible odyssey of turmoil, heartbreak, and bureaucracy to recover everything he had lost. His website is [...]
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. McGowan on October 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I've read a lot of books written about and by Marines and I rank this as one of the best. In the first place, it's very well written and edited so as to make it a great read that's tough to put down. In the second place, Nick's story is told with candor and humor that will strike a familiar chord with any former Marine. It reads like you're in the same room with him. Lastly, it paints a vivid picture of Nick's ordeal to recover from his wounds and drive on. Not many of us will ever have to endure what Nick has, thanks to him and thousands of other brave men and women who put their lives on the line for our Freedom. This book gives us a glimpse of their world and will make us more thankful for their sacrifices. I highly recommend this book.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Sandy Nathan VINE VOICE on October 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I met Nick Popaditch at Book Expo America (the largest book industry trade show in the USA) in Los Angeles last May. Imagine the vast halls of a major convention center jammed with people hawking books. Banners and balloons fly, people run to meet celebrities, bands play. It's wild. Nick and his lovely wife, April, happened to be down the aisle from my publisher. I was wandering around the halls with the herd and ran into their booth.

Meeting Nick and April was a shock. My dad was a member of one of the first UDTs--underwater demolition teams--in WWII. He was a highly decorated war hero. Running into Nick was like running into his reincarnation. The stance, the physique, the totally present mental attitude, the energy. I was raised by a warrior and finding another one right in front of me brought back lots. My father was killed by a negligent and probably drunk driver in 1964, surviving the war to be mowed down on the road. Thanks, Nick, for being who you are and letting me have that glimpse of my dad again.

This book is an introduction to the state of the warrior. The essential learning it offers is nonpolitical and of value regardless of how you feel about Iraq or the election. I write about spirituality and becoming who you really are--the flowering of your soul. I've got a couple of books out, on spiritual practice and a sci-fi look at the richest man in the world meeting a great Native American shaman. What I get excited about in a book is the spiritual teachings and lessons it imparts.

This entire book is a spiritual teaching. Watch Nick as he tells his story. He's right there, in the moment, as present as your own breath. (He's that way when you meet him in life, too.) Notice what he does as he prepares to ship out. "Getting straight with God.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brian Rosen on October 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book was an excellent read. To hear Sgt. Popaditch's story of his life as a Marine is truly inspirational. His focus however is not on himself, but on the men he trained, trained under and served with. The injuries he survived and writes about, again focus on all of those who came to his aid, from his tank crew at the time of his injuries, up to the medical team at the "Blind Hospital," teaching him how to live life visually impaired. Throughout this book you read not only of "Gunny Pop's" heroism, but of the committment and sacrifice of all Marines. Reading a book about a selfless hero in a time when there is so much selfishness in the world gives me hope and thanks that there are Americans like Sgt. Popaditch spreading the values of the United States Marine Corps to all of us.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By TYATES on October 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Readers will no doubt get an accurate, matter of fact point of view from Pop. He tells it like it is. Always has, always will. Semper Fi.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Wittenberg on October 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I want to recommend a great book about a true American hero to you. Gunnery Sergeant Nick Popaditch enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1986 and served his country with great honor for 18 years. A photographer snapped his photo in Baghdad in 2003, smoking a victory cigar, with the downed statue of Saddam Hussein behind him. He became known as the "Cigar Marine" as a result of that iconic photograph, which appears on the dust jacket of the book.

In 2004, while commanding a tank in Fallujah, Iraq, Gunny Pop, as he's known, stopped a rocket propelled grenade with his face and lived to talk about it. Although he was awarded a Silver Star for his valor that day, Nick lost an eye and was critically wounded, but he survived. He was medically discharged from the Corps in 2005.

Gunny Pop has written an amazing memoir of his ordeal titled Once a Marine: An Iraq War Tank Commander's Inspirational Memoir of Combat, Courage, and Recovery that was recently published by Savas-Beatie. Because of my relationship with Ted Savas, I've known about this forthcoming book for quite a while, and had the good fortune to read the manuscript before it was published.

I can't say enough good things about this particular book. Fast-paced and extremely well-written, Gunny Pop has written a simultaneously fascinating and incredibly moving narrative that details his military career and the ordeal of his wounding and recovery from that horrible wound. A husband and father, his memoir tells all about how that day in Fallujah affected his life and the lives of his loved ones. Gunny Pop represents the best that the United States Marine Corps has to offer, and we all have much to learn from the lessons of his life.
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