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Tattoo Zoo: A Novel Of The Afghan War Paperback – March 10, 2014

5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


SEE SECOND EDITION OF BOOK. IT IS REVISED (5% more novel) and more importantly, IT IS HALF THE PRICE. LISTED AT $14.00 -- AMAZON PRICE IS $13.03. (Not available in digital, as I believe books should be read turning pages.)

A full-blooded inspection right into the heart of the Afghan war through the eyes and hearts of the linedogs fighting it.   --Charleston Tidewater Ledger 


. . . oozes authenticity. The author makes it clear in his depiction of the infantry GI that he has been to war with them, has lived with them, has seen them wounded and killed beside him. -- Screaming Eagle Weekly 

A war story of this generation. Nothing short of revolutionary. . . . profound in its frightening message of the injustices we are inflicting upon our soldiers caught in battlefield political correctness. --Iowa Writer's Wordworks Quarterly 

. . . It will lay claim as the one book to be read about the American war in Afghanistan.  --Kevin Nevisoll, Denver Times-Intelligencer 

. . . hard and cold and exact. . . . I never thought I'd be choked up by them and can't begin to tell you how many times out of nowhere I was. And moved to tears.   --All-American Para-Glider, (Fort Bragg)

. . . MEGA-COOL . . . FEROCIOUS . . . SURPRISINGLY MOVING . . . THREE DAYS THAT WILL DEFINE THE AFGHAN WAR . . . --Summer Elliott, The Atlantic Standard

In his debut novel Avallone does what Karl Marlantes did in Matterhorn, John Del Vecchio did in The 13th Valley and James Jones did in The Thin Red Line. . . Take note, Tattoo Zoo will be a classic. --San Diego Palm Chronicle

A beautifully crafted novel, authentic and powerful, filled with heroism, terror, politics, profound waste, and, ultimately, love in the triumphant of good. . . Gripping. . . To become a war classic. Move over, Normal Mailer. Make way, James Jones.     --London Thames Review

They should read this in the Obama White House, on Capitol Hill, in the Pentagon and at the Bush and Cheney ranches. But they will not want to believe it. They will refuse to believe it.  --UK Sun-Guardian


About the Author

Paul Avallone spent three-plus years in the Afghan War, first as a Green Beret, then in later years as a civilian journalist embedded with the U.S. Army. A variety of his published magazine articles (and his famous Postcards From Afghanistan) can be found on his website: tattoozooblog.wordpress.com

Feel free to contact the Avallone through email at:  avallonepaul@yahoo.com

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (March 10, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1491725001
  • ISBN-13: 978-1491725009
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,328,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Years in dual careers as a Writer and a US Army Green Beret. Served in the Afghan War in the first years as a Green Beret which I documented in published magazine articles. Then spent further years in the Afghan War as an embedded photojournalist. All magazine articles found on pdf at my website: www.tattoozooblog.wordpress.com
I live in Tennessee, in the area of Ft. Campbell, the home to the 101st Abn Div as well as the 5th Special Forces Group and the 160th Spec Ops Aviation.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you want a clearly updated version of our US Soldiers in action this is a must read. I was a career Army officer who began as an infantryman, first in peace time as a mortar platoon, communications platoon leader, and company commander who then later served twelve months in the furthest reaches of IV Corps in southern Vietnam as a tactical advisor to the Vietnamese 21st ARVN Division who were in direct contact with Vietcong and NVA Regulars. Retired as an 06 since 1994, now living near Fort Campbell, KY, I am familiar with the numerous deployments endured by units not unlike those depicted in the novel, but have not had the honor to see them in action. The writer, however is a bona fide Special Operator NCO, and life long screen writer who has spent years embedded with today's soldiers. He knows their tactics, abilities, and understands their hearts and minds. He portrays their skills and ethos as brothers in arms in a readable manner. The story builds slowly, but becomes hard to put down as the plot develops. I was move to tears in several places because Mr Avallone makes you feel as if you are there with these soldiers feeling their grief and attitude toward life. The tension builds throughout and keeps the reader rapt until the end. It should be compared to novels such as "Killer Angels", "The River and the Gauntlet", or "Band of Brothers". This is a great read that tells it "like it is".
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Format: Paperback
Honor lost, and occasionally reclaimed.

Intelligent cowardice, and crazy stupid bravery.

The close relationship with death maintained by the infantry.

Practicality of letting your men die, or upholding a sense of honor in a bad situation.

Brotherhood that breaks boundaries.

Pure, delicious, unadulterated violence.

These are all themes found in Paul Avallone’s novel, Tattoo Zoo. This book is a novel of the war in Afghanistan as seen through the eyes of the modern American soldier. Having been through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I have deliberately avoided all books on the subject, so when I tell you that this was the best book I have ever read on the war on terror, it won’t mean much. I will say that this is by far one of the best war novels I have ever read in my life. If I could have taken it into the shower or read it at work so that I wouldn’t have to put it down, I would have.

It’s not an anti-war book. It’s not a pro-war story either. It’s not a documentary or an historical novel. It is essentially a parable of what war is, and what it can be.

The story takes place in the cauldron of Afghanistan, in the war itself. In the span of three days, the author takes us through a firestorm in a fictional valley, and explores the harsh reality in a remote combat outpost.

The main characters are the soldiers of what could be any infantry platoon, who are affectionately known as the “Tattoo Zoo.” During a series of events on patrol where those grunts act like every other grunt platoon would, they find themselves on the radar of the commander of all US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
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Format: Kindle Edition
While I might not have the experience to comment on Paul Avallone's Tattoo Zoo as a *war* book, I can say this: Tattoo Zoo is a fantastic read. I read for relationships, any and all kinds. In this case, the relationships are about a band of brothers, about the in-fighting that is accepted and bandied and slung back and forth ... but only inside. Just let an outsider stick their nose between two warring brothers and see how fast those two close ranks and join to fight as one. Battlefield brothers. Combat kinsman. Family.

That's what got me. Those intense, noble moments in life captured with such skill that the words slid off the page to let the "movie" unspool before my eyes. Avallone captured those things, invisible to the eye, but the most precious to us all:
Love. Hope. Honor.
Loyalty. Dedication. Commitment.

He doesn't pander to the "start with an explosion" mentality. He brought us in, let us meet and begin to judge for ourselves these men and women we would be spending time with. But don't think that this is a relaxing read, a book you can put down easily. Once Avallone got rolling it was so fast and furious that I scrambled through the pages almost feeling the rumble of a big engine carrying me like a mental tank, not even noticing the boulders I climbed over or the the stuff that flew past.

I had an idea of who survived but not those last frantic hours... not the last day and night. It was much too intense to slow down, too exciting to pay any closer attention as the battle raged and my focus lasered to the point of view of the eyes I was seeing through at that moment. Eyes and ears. My eyes as blinded as the men of the Zoo with an ordinance flash through their night vision *nods*, I was blinking in a rush of action that was too much to take in but not able, not willing, to slow down.

In the end I was pierced through, wrung out, drained dry.
Yeah. It was a great book.
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By charles on September 11, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Absolute best novel about the Afghan war I've read. I've been in the Army for 12 years, and unlike most novels about war, this one holds up in terms of terminology, tactics and mindsets of the average Soldier, TOC Jockey, ex-military contractor, and senior level strategists. I'd say this book is a must read for anyone with an interest in current events in Afghanistan.
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