Most helpful critical review
48 of 64 people found the following review helpful
I couldn't finish it, too soppy
on March 20, 2013
In some places, I felt like I was there, in the action. Some readers will love it, but I couldn't finish it. Having served in the army, in active combat I just couldn't accept some of what the author says, he is just too much of a hero, almost a superhero. In an ambush, while their humvees were under intense fire from rifles, machine guns, RPGs and even a sniper, he disembarks his Humvee and runs through the enemy fire, in a road with no cover, getting holes in his trouser legs, but doesn't get hit. Amazing as that was, his entire platoon, then also disembarks from their vehicles and runs after him up a hill, in the road and none of them get shot. He likes to call them his men and personalizes it a little too much for my taste - it gets soppy.
He repeatedly alludes to how much his troops love and respect him and how he loves his troops. This is one of the parts that eventually made me stop reading:
"Just before we'd left Fort Drum, the platoon had gathered for one last night out on the town. Long after midnight, the liquor had made me relaxed and loud. I was happier than I had ever been, surrounded by men I'd come to care so much about. Then I'd made a snarky comment to a woman who had insulted one of my men. She'd reported it to her boyfriend, a townie with a chip on his shoulder. He and four of his buddies had ambushed me in the bar's bathroom. As they'd grabbed me and carried me outside, I'd laughed and said, "You picked the wrong night to do this." They'd dragged me into the parking lot, ready to go to work on me. Before they could throw a punch, my entire platoon had poured through the front doors, pounced on the townies, and turned them into bleeding, bellowing wrecks."
This is his tone. He sounds like he was either living in a dream world then, or making it up now. In the real army, people don't all get along, bullets hit people and if you make a "snarky comment" to a woman in a pub when you are drunk, her husband will beat you up.
I initially rated this book with three stars, but I thought about it and decided to change it to two.