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Customer Review

156 of 175 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Iraq grunt reviews "Jarhead", November 22, 2004
This review is from: Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles (Paperback)
Wow, surprised at all the emotion here. I didn't think this many people read books like this.

Couple of bullet points after reading the book and the reviews.

1. Swofford really downplays the honor of being a marine sniper. I was a line company machinegunner in 2/5 and all of the snipers I knew were a cut above. Not only that but if someone was deemed immature they would be dropped back to their line company platoon, no matter how well they did in sniper school.

2. I agree that the book is rife with innacuracies, exaggerations and downright lies. Then again, it is a memoir, not a history book.

3. The story about the guy watching a videotape from home that shows his wife having sex with another guy is the biggest urban legend in the Corps. Second-place going to the oft-repeated Mr. Rogers was a sniper story.

4. I am not wanting to sound like a tough guy but I don't know once person who pissed their pants in combat or talked about being afraid. By the time you've gone through boot camp, SOI a work-up for deployment and a trip to Oki, you're going to be ready to eat nails, if for no other reason than that all of the hard and miserable training has made you mean.

Pissing your pants in boot camp is very common because of all the forced hydration and few chances to use the bathroom.

5. His whining is actually pretty common, especially in the grunts. I know I'm guilty of it. What is uncommon is his lack of sense of humor. The funniest people I met were in the Marines. if you don't have a sense of humor, you won't be able to laugh off all of the bad things that happen to you.

6. Raunchy tales of whoring and drinking are 100% accurate.

7. His story about pulling a rifle on another Marine is probably false. Marines like to screw around and bend the rules but he went way past the line. No one I knew would have put up with that and not reported it.

8. His lack of aggressiveness is pretty shocking. When he talks about his buddies moaning that they are going to die before any mission is hard to beleive. The Marines I fought beside were all raring to go. If you've spent three years training to do something, you want to do it no matter how dangerous it was.

9. The infidelity of Marine wives and girlfriends is sadly true. then again, I can count on one hand the guys I knew who stayed faithful when we went to Oki.

10. The love/hate of the Marine Corps is a very tense subject for all Marines. When he talked about being embarrassed by other Marines while out in town, I was right there with him. I avoided Marines like the plague whenever I was on libbo. I started counting the days until I got out when I still had a year left, but I am more proud of being a Marine than anything else. It's a very strange life, being a Marine.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 15, 2009 2:53:52 PM PDT
I haven't read the book yet. However, this review sounds more like my views of my fellow grunts in Vietnam. I was a draftee and went kicking and screaming into the Army. Because I was a college graduate - those they couldn't talk into extending a year and going to OCS (Officer Candidate School) they sent to NCO school at Ft. Benning and made instant sergeants. I was an infantry squad leader in Vietnam and the things said above would pretty well describe my squad; none of whom were volunteers. Give me a US line-infantry company and we'll take on the world; even if we are bitching about it every step of the Way. Desert Rat, NM

Posted on Sep 10, 2009 10:53:40 AM PDT
mike says:
I would just like to say that it pissing your pants is actually a very common reaction in combat. It is just embarrassing and many people dont report it. Look up the book, "On Combat" and you will learn a few things.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2009 4:06:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 26, 2009 4:07:03 PM PDT
Temporary says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 9:59:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 20, 2012 12:02:23 PM PDT
JR Corry says:
Wasn't that aggressive? Downplayed the horror? So raping a comrade was more common than I thought, even for otherwise decent men? Commenting that his philosophy was rape them, kill their children? Hey, I can take that, he was just thinking and raging inwardly. But the gang-rape of a teammate? That doesn't fit with the behavior of wild dogs.

"I agree that the book is rife with innacuracies, exaggerations and downright lies. Then again, it is a memoir"

Gosh you're right, those are more likely and more excusable to be rife with inaccuracies. But seriously, tell me which of these you think are exaggerations. If the gang-rape is an extension of pure fury imagining, or a simulation of the act instead of the act itself, maybe I can deal with it.

Posted on Apr 22, 2013 11:32:02 AM PDT
T. Miller says:
As a grunt myself, I couldn't agree more with Moto.

I couldn't even finish this piece of crap book.

I also really doubt Swofford went into his CO's office and started swearing & calling him names. As an enlisted grunt, I'm sure that would be about the fastest way to get NJP'd.

Posted on Jun 12, 2016 9:08:33 AM PDT
David Ogden says:
I have to agree that the author is about as unlikable a 'hero' as you are likely to see. He begins the book by admitting how he stole food stores from the Marines to sell for his own benefit. Frankly, what kind of s****** steals from the American taxpayer? And his stories about putting his rifle in his mouth and tasting the gun oil and all that crap...what a f****** drama queen. He does a disservice to his USMC and this book will do little for recruitment except to attract sociopaths. Read at your own risk.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2016 8:52:41 AM PDT
What kind of S****** steals from the American taxpayer? Well, congressmen and Senators who work 5 days a month, vote themselves raises while lowering the minimum wage, and accomplish NOTHING for the last 20 years seem to be.
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