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Showing 1-10 of 32 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 53 reviews
on December 22, 2012
A wonderfully written book brings us in to the scene of battle. It made this man cry when our citizen Marines die while we are there with them. Good, decent men shot erown with us. It is humorous as well in places. If you despise war, as the reviewer does, it makes us repulsed at wars and battles. We learn the divisions of Marines that we hear of, and it is raw human emotion. The good guys are killed too. The ending is felt. Some live, some die to protect us as home. It seems like a silly war, but the Marines do not see it as silly. They carry out their duty with honor. It made this writer thankiful that some good Americans put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms here in the USA. The writing is smooth, and the book is difficult to put down, so I didn't. I read it in 2 sittings, because i nodded off from reading too long on the first read. Written by a Marine who knows his fellow comrades so well. I hope he continues with other writings about what I think is a senseless waste of precious human beings and money. Semper Fi to all those gallant Marines who are the first to go into a hot spot. Eternal peace to all those who did not come back alive. The book is painfully honest.
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on December 19, 2012
Captain Danelo takes you inside the heads of marines fighting in Iraq and gives great insight into the extreme duplicity of their lives. They are expected to build friendships with local citizens's while being attacked by them. it hearkens back to the challenges of US troops fighting in Vietnam in the 60s. But there's a difference. In the 60s we were all subject to the draft, and most young men served or felt fortunate in having exemptions. These marines are professional soldiers who look back to the code of the Spartan warriors of ancient Greece. They live by standards most of us would fear and avoid. What we ask of soldiers is too much and these men take it on with open eyes and readiness to make the ultimate sacrifice. He follows the troops through horrible circumstances in Fallujah and then stays with them on the return to their families - those who did return. It is sad but understandable as explained that the adjustment to civilian life is very challenging. Kudos are due the author and all the soldiers and families interviewed for this. The candor and honest explanation of motives helps the reader gain some understanding, but then again, probably only another marine fully understands.
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on July 10, 2006
Passing in Review

"Blood Stripes", written by David J. Danelo

Review by M. Vince Turner

July 2006

The guts and grit of war in Iraq come alive in "Blood Stripes: The Grunt's View of the War in Iraq". Author David J. Danelo, a US Naval Academy graduate and former platoon commander in Iraq tells this story through the eyes of his enlisted (non-officer) men who served with him.

"Blood Stripes" provides a bird's eye view of what the ground war in Iraq is about. It is tedium, at times mayhem. Our US Marines have been put in the middle of what best might be described as a snake's nest, never knowing for certain who is the enemy, who is the ally.

"Blood Stripes" speaks candidly about death and injury, sparing the reader from the graphic detail one often finds in books about WWII or the Vietnam War. Yet, the message is clear.

The reader becomes familiar with the various men in this story, players in an act of violence and death that takes these men to the limits of their sanity. War is hell, and that hell is effectively portrayed in "Blood Stripes".

One cannot help but stand in awe of these men, most of them younger, who must fight in the desert heat with full military clothing and battle gear that can weigh from twenty-five to nearly eighty pounds depending on what the soldier is carrying. The sheer personal torture these men are subjected to simply from doing their job and doing it well demands respect for them of the highest order.

While there is some joy in this tale, there also is sadness. War, after all, is neither comedy nor romance lest it is romance in the demonic sense. Rapid response to gunfights comes from a constant state of alertness. Relax and you or your buddies are dead. Boom! End of story. Exhaustion and fatigue are yet another enemy these fighting men must combat almost daily.

The reader learns considerable about how each personality reacts or responds to a given situation. Despite the clear message about the horrors of this war, there are moments when the reader will smile or laugh aloud. These men are pretty good at keeping cool heads even in the worst of moments and often find ways to bring humor into those moments.

One message is clear throughout "Blood Stripes": Each Marine must rely on his fellow Marine. Unity of purpose and action are critical both to staying alive and completing the mission.

"Blood Stripes" is a real life on-the-ground exposé about fighting in Iraq. No matter the political stripe of the reader, or even that of the warrior, these Marines are doing their job because they have been told to do it. More importantly, they want to do it. These men are indeed "the tip of the spear". One cannot help but come away admiring and respecting them for what they do.

The epilogue, titled "Citizens", closes with some truly superb high marks about how these men move on afterward. Some remain in the Corps. Some return to civilian life. The mother of one of the men who died becomes a crusader of sorts, helping with a new training program that may save the life of someone else's son in the future.

For anyone who enjoys reading books of this genre, and especially anyone yearning to learn a bit more about the goings-on in this Iraq war, "Blood Stripes" is a must read.
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on June 2, 2015
As a Marine, this book reads quickly with frequent nods indicating "sounds familiar". I grew frustrated with how it was written, particularly how the Author bounces around between different story lines. I get that it was supposed to induce excitement and leave the reader feel like a lot was going on at once, but come on man, it's just needlessly confusing. I'd rather see a particular Marine's account in different chapters. Chapter 1, LCpl Schmuckatelli, Chapter 2, Sergeant Amazing etc. etc. Anyway, aside from the criticism, thanks for writing the book and leaving the BS out. I still enjoyed the book.
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on January 14, 2015
Actually I'd call this 3 1/2 Stars. It was really great information about the guys on the ground and what they put up with in urban combat, but often went into way too much detail. For example, the author would sometimes interrupt an exciting firefight to give us very detailed background about one of the men, then several paragraphs later jump back into the fight. Maybe it would have worked better if he'd introduced everybody at the beginning? As it was, it kept kicking me out of the moment.

Definitely worth reading, but could have been better.
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on January 21, 2013
As a father of a newly minted Marine who did not have the honor of serving this is a truly instructional book bringing home the real Marine. Fully immersive and descriptive it takes you alongside the Marines, (as much as that is possible), and teaches you the jargon and the landscapes and the hearts and minds of the young men and women who sacrifice for the right for me to right these very words.

I feel that I have not given David Danelo his do as a writer! This is an extremely readable book that translates well to those who are not necessarily interested in a military narrative. Danelo's narrative sprints along making this a true page turner. It is the kind of book that you get to the end and find yourself looking up the author hoping for a sequel. Awesome, incredible book!!
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on December 20, 2012
For a while I was put off by the editing, skipping back and forth in time and place, but I became so engrossed in the stories of the Marines that the editing no longer mattered. The homecoming is the story of most interest to me. I was a Marine Corps Sergeant in Viet Nam and I can attest to the fact that leaving combat and coming back to a "normal" life is the most difficult adjustment imaginable. Forty years later a lot of us are still working on it. This book tells that story better than anything I have read yet. Thank you Mr. Danelo for telling this story.
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on December 29, 2012
Not many books receive five Stars from me, but this one does. Excellent writing, completion of incidents and stories, and great character development. Though these "characters" are real people. I mean, US Marines who lived, and some died, in Iraq. I particularly appreciated the author providing "follow-on" information for each of the main people included in this book. It truly provides a view into the daily activities, and not often described, "Life" of the Marine Corp grunt.

I have such a better understanding of what these young men, and women, do during their time in a combat zone, and at home. Semper Fi.
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on December 20, 2012
My wife and I went to our grandson's graduation from basic training last November. We wanted to learn more about what was in store for him in the future, so I downloaded this book. He is just a grunt like those in the book. What I read frightened me to some extent, however, we are comforted at the same time by knowing what to pray for in our prayers for him. War is not pretty, but it does happen. My service was as an officer in the U.S.A.F. Grunt life is different and more dangerous.
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on June 25, 2006
Captain Danelo's book rings with truth. I feel for the first time that I have some idea what daily life in the Sunni Triangle is like for our Marines. It is a real war, not the camps full of Burger Kings and department stores that some would have us believe.

The characters are real, if somewhat simply drawn. They fight under impossible conditions, and are asked constantly to decide who the enemy is...and isn't.

My only problem was, as a non vet, it was often difficult for me to track who was part of Bravo 1/5 vs. Kilo 3/7, and where they were in-country.

Otherwise, a good read, well dialogued and fast moving. It also refuses to dwell on the grittier aspects of Marine life and language, making it suitable for younger teens as well as all adults.
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