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Customer Review

122 of 135 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a Hollywood Blockbuster, December 17, 2008
This review is from: Joker One: A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood (Hardcover)
Describing Joker One by Donovan Campbell in one word is a difficult task but if forced to do so the word would be poignant. Joker One is the story of the individual Marines who comprised one of the platoon's deployed to fight in Iraq. More than a story about a war, Campbell slaps the "Human Condition" on the face of the Iraqi War, and for good measure nail guns it in place. His story is one that needed to be told, not to sway your opinion of whether the United States occupation of Iraq is justified, but rather to put names and faces to the individuals who served their country. It doesn't matter whether you are pro or anti war what matters is that you understand the struggles of the individuals involved. The men in this story didn't wage the war but rather carried out their mission with courage, bravado, and outright selfless determination. If you are not touched by the words between the bindings of this book than I might suggest you send out a search party for your soul.

The Stateside news reports of the Iraqi War have been meaningless rhetoric up to this point. We have been feed the gruesome details of body counts and have seen the anti-American sentiments of the Iraqi people, but up until the story of Joker One these stories have been a benign representation of the actual happenings in Iraq. We haven't been told the stories of the "so-called" US allies who when forced with the decision of standing up for their own free society or their own mortality immediately switch their alliances and begin to open fire on our troops. Nor have we seen firsthand, the cowardly Iraqi insurgent's complete disregard of their own countrymen as they use them as human shields as a means to an end.

Some soldiers have returned to the States battered, beaten, and broken both physically and mentally. Others have returned Stateside in wooden boxes draped with the United States flag. Campbell has identified these soldiers by name. Soldiers like you and I who have families, dreams, and ambitions now which regardless of injury or death have become severely altered by their mere participation in the ugliest form of human interaction.

Lieutenant Campbell takes this opportunity to provide the reader a front row seat into the daily struggles of his platoon. It would have been easy for him to shed the spotlight directly upon himself in this story; in order to boost his own ego. But to the contrary, Campbell highlights the extraordinary camaraderie of the men under his charge. Instead of highlighting his successes, he focuses on the successes of his men and points out his errors in judgment. He continually second guesses the split-second decisions he was forced to make. If only I had done X rather than Y, things might have been different; is the common theme of his thought process.

Joker One reads like an action packed Major Motion Picture. I had to constantly remind myself that I was reading a true story and not a piece of fiction dreamed up by some overly imaginative author hammering away at the keys of his or her word processor.

Joker One is so vivid and alive with detail that it hits the reader in the solar plexus with unrelenting force. Thanks to Lieutenant Campbell, here is to the soldiers of Joker One, Semper Fi!
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 29, 2009 6:57:43 AM PDT
If you're into military/war novels, I highly recommend The Farther Shore by Matthew Eck.

Posted on Jun 6, 2010 11:40:54 PM PDT
Keith Jordan says:
Did you really read the book ? Maybe you should read it again. You will find out that Marines are not soldiers, as stated in your review. Marines are always referred to as Marines. The US Army trains soldiers. The Marine Corps builds MARINES ! Semper Fi, GySgt K Jordan

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2010 10:02:30 AM PDT
Yes, I did read the book, I think my glowing review of it is quite evident of that. I apologize, I am not a Marine and therefore don't know the soldier vs Marine etiquette. I intended no distrespect, and thank you for your service to our country!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2014 10:28:22 PM PDT
Riceball says:
Oorah Gunny!

Posted on Sep 2, 2014 8:00:13 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 2, 2014 8:00:58 AM PDT
David427 says:
From reading you review with commentary of the situation on the ground it's almost implied you were in Iraq but I am guessing you weren't.

I was a civilian contractor for the US Military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq was a war profiteering cluster from start to finish, highlighting Saudi self interests and is one of the major contributing factors to the current gross instability of the Middle East and popularization of radical Islam but as alluded to by the various professional reviews of this book the US servicemen/women took it in stride, simply saying regardless of politics they had a job to do. Their selfless and professional service when place in a situation that they knew was no good always impressed me.
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