- Use promo code PRIMEBOOKS18 to save $5.00 when you spend $20.00 or more on Books offered by Amazon.com. Enter code PRIMEBOOKS18 at checkout. Here's how (restrictions apply)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $5.98 shipping
Fobbit Paperback – September 4, 2012
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Special offers and product promotions
One of Amazon's Top 100 Books of 2012 (#49)
One of Barnes and Noble's Best Books of 2012
St Louis Post-Dispatch 50 Favorite Books of 2012
Paste Magazine Best Books of 2012
January Magazine Best Books of 2012
A B&N Discover Great New Writers Selection
One of Publishers Weekly’s Top 10 Literary Fiction picks for the Fall
Finalist for Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction
2012 Montana Book Award Honor Book
Millions Notables of 2012
An American Booksellers Association IndieNext Pick
One of Kirkus Reviews’s 10 Great Books That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud”
Daily Beast’s 2012 Best Books on Today’s Wars by Veterans
Library Journal: Fabulous Fall Firsts of 2012
A retired veteran whose 20-year career in the Army included a 2005 tour in Baghdad, Abrams is comfortable and convincing locating the action in Iraq. . . . Fobbit is a vicious skewering of this surprisingly large military subculture of war avoidance.”TIME
I applaud David Abrams for sticking to his vision and writing the satire he wanted to write instead of adding to the crowded shelf of war memoirs. In Fobbit, he has written a very funny book, as funny, disturbing, heartbreaking and ridiculous as war itself.”New York Times Book Review
Fobbit blends fiction and journalism, an apt reflection of literary influences combined with [Abrams’s] experience in an Army public affairs team. . . . Though absurd, these Dickensian characters are all so skillfully wrought that we quickly accept their idiosyncrasies. . . . What’s most intriguing about this work is that, at its center, it is both a clever study in anxiety and an unsettling expose of how the military tells its truths. Fobbit traces how the Army story” is crafted, the dead washed of their blood, words scrutinized, and success applied to disasters.”The Washington Post
Akin to Catch-22 and M*A*S*H, Fobbit uses pathos and dark humor to present the ugly and banal truth of life in the modern-day war zone. . . . David Abrams [has] set fire to the truth in order to tell it.”Huffington Post
An impressive Iraq war satire. . . .[Abrams has] a genuine sense of humor . . . and a productive sense of irony to go with it. Fobbit is an impressive debut and holds out promise for more good things to come.”Los Angeles Times
Fobbit seems less interested in what Iraq was like than in where it went wrong. . . . Abrams wants to reveal the comedy and absurdity of these cubicled soldiers - and, through them, of the entire conflict. . . . when it comes to war literature, a comic novel will always do a better job with the big picture. This is the first thing to take from Fobbit.”San Francisco Chronicle
A harrowing satire of the Iraq War and an instant classic. . . . Abrams’s prose is spot-on and often deadpan funny . . . This novel nails the comedy and the pathos, the boredom and the dread, crafting the Iraq War’s answer to Catch-22.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Using diaries he kept as a public affairs man in Iraq in 2005, Abrams makes comedy from the clash between positive spin and personal terror."Men's Journal
A satire of comfortably numb life during wartime. . . . Abrams spent 20 years in the Army, including a tour of Iraq, and he merely has to lightly fictionalize his observations to point out the absurdities of American occupation.”Newsweek
[Fobbit] gives such full-blooded life to the soldiers whose pale, gooey center” is so antithetical to battlefield heroism that he propels the word into the everyday by the force of his narrative. . . . As mission builds upon mission, lie upon lie, Fobbit builds to its exclamation by terror and by tedium and by laughter. . . . Fobbit makes a sordid music of screams and makes its mark on Iraq war literature.”Minneapolis Star Tribune
Fobbit is hilarious, but the subject matter is deadly serious. This is a remarkable book because it was written by a man who served as a member of an army public relations team in Iraq, i.e. a fobbit himself. It is the rare writerindeed, the rare personwho can step outside of himself and see with cold clarity the humor and pathos of his situation and then bring the reader to the same understanding. David Abrams is such a writer.”Karl Marlantes, author of Matterhorn and What It Is Like to Go to War
"Fobbit is fast, razor sharp, and seven kinds of hilarious. It deserves a place alongside Slaughterhouse Five and Catch-22 as one of our great comic novels about the absurdity of war."Jonathan Evison, author of West of Here
"This delightful, readable, believable and useful book made me furious!"Tom McGuane
Fobbit, an Iraq-war comedy, is that rarest of good things: the book you least expect, and most want. It is everything that terrible conflict was not: beautifully planned and perfectly executed; funny and smart and lyrical; a triumph. This debut marks the arrival of a massive talent.”Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng and Half a Life
[Fobbit] is] like an Office-style satire that happens to be set on a military base in an active war zone. Its villains aren't suicide bombers but hectoring senior officers who make impossible demands.”Slate.com
You might not expect an Iraq War novel to be funny, but I laughedmore than onceas I read this one. I cringed, too. There’s simply so much to this book.” Fiction Writers Review
Fobbit is a tale of the Iraq war that manages to be as dark as it is funny, which is to say considerably. . . .[Abrams has] written a book that makes you laugh and makes you wince, often at the same time, all the while staying true to its message: that people are foolish on many levels, sometimes fatally so, but they are all motivated by the same basic needs, desires, and fears. . . . There are no heroes here, but no villains either. Each character fights his own war, and nobody wins.”The Millions
"Truly significant . . . a book about the absurdity of the way the war is fought, the way the war is projected back home, and the massive gulf between the two. . . . a cynical satire in the same vein as the best works of legendary wartime authors like Evelyn Waugh, Kingsley Amis, Kurt Vonnegut, and especially Joseph Heller. Like those authors, Abrams’ book is important for reasons beyond his genre or categorization as well. Perhaps most important, though, is the fact that he challenges Paul Fussell’s argument that the real war cannot be effectively presented in novels."The Rumpus
The insanity is linguistic, and Abrams’s dark humor about lying through language would appeal to George Orwell. . . . He is not mocking soldiers. His targets are stateside, residing in naïve government or civilian expectations about ground conditions in Baghdad (and elsewhere) two years after Saddam’s overthrow. . . . Fobbit invites us to laugh over our collective foolishnessfoolishness that sometimes includes deaths. That’s the toughest, most painful laughter of all.”Great Falls Tribune
The author describes Fobbit as an anti-stupidity’ novel, not an anti-war novel, and with 20 years’ service he has the evidence and flair to write the former. . . . Fobbit is bliss.”Military Times
Abrams shows these men and women in their natural habitats, stuck somewhere halfway between the actual violence of war and the goofy excess of American culture.”Book Riot
Abrams’s tale is powerful stuff.”Shelf Awareness
A unique behind-the-wire glimpse at life in the FOB and the process of spinning” a war for public consumption. A funny, hard-edged satire about recent history and modern war-making.”Library Journal
Sardonic and poignant. Funny and bitter. Ribald and profane.”Kirkus Reviews
If Vonnegut and Heller were the undisputed chroniclers of the madness of World War II, Abrams should be considered the resounding new voice of the Iraq War.”Montana Standard
Fobbit deserves a wide non-military audience. . . . Abrams, an Iraq war veteran himself, is able to portray not just the pointlessness and stupidity of the occupation but also its absurdity. . . . Fobbit is two things in one a scathing, deeply felt diatribe against military disasters large and small, and an often-hilarious examination of very human, very weak characters living next door to a combat zone. The good news is that you only have to buy one copy, and you should waste no time in doing so.”Bookreporter.com
Abrams has a definite comic talent and a lively turn of phrase. The set-pieces are well done . . . and the dialogue zings back and forth cheerily enough. Abrams is a good writer, in other words. . . . Much of the most interesting material in Fobbit is the stuff that reads like reportage or memoir.”The Guardian
Fobbit is a searing view of life on a Forward Operating Base in Iraq and the constant contradictions faced by U.S. soldiers who are told to kick down a door one minute and win hearts and minds’ the next. Funny and evocative, with great glimpses of soldier-speak and deployment day to day life, each laugh in the novel is accompanied with a troubling insight into the different types of battles that our soldiers encounter on a non-traditional battlefield.”Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone
Fobbit should be required reading for America. Hilarious and tragic, it’s as if Louis C.K. and Lewis Black provided commentary to The Hurt Locker. There will be innumerable comparisons to Catch-22, but Fobbit, believe me, stands on its own.”George Singleton, author of Stray Decorum
"A darkly funny chronicle of the Iraq War, Fobbit explores the modern military machine with searing resolve. This is a book that speaks to the power of fictiona war story too profane and profound for the newspapers and the nightly news. Want to think, laugh and cry, all at the same time? Read this novel."Matt Gallagher, author of Kaboom
With a gimlet eye and humor as dry as a desert sandstorm, Abrams captures the absurdist angle of the Iraq war. A direct counterpoint to hero-worshipping shoot ’em up” combat narratives, Fobbit proves that wit is as lethal a weapon as any Army-issue M16 or .50 cal.”Lily Burana, author of I Love a Man in Uniform: A Memoir of Love, War, and Other Battles
The first major work of fiction about America’s war for Iraq.”Aaron Gwyn, author of Dog on the Cross and The World Beneath
About the Author
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
major. Therefore, the depiction of a surreal military world was not unfamiliar to me.
Fobbits are the so-called public affairs personnel of the U.S. Army, the Pentagon's spin doctors, who attempt daily to put a freshly-scrubbed face on the U.S.'s occupation of Iraq, on the mounting deaths of soldiers, Iraqi civilians, and insurgent/terrorists. In case you've been living under a rock for the last decade, the various warring sects of that country, not least among them the Sunni and Shi'a religious factions, are at one another's throats - as they've been for centuries - and the U.S. and its allies are caught in their crossfire, constantly being subjected to IEDs (hidden explosives) and other maiming and killing situations. Of course, the soldiers on the firing line hold the Fobbits in high disdain for their inherent lack of risk.
Abrams, who served as a Fobbit in 2005, gives us an often blurred cast of characters, some Fobbits, some on-the-line soldiers, and some commanding officers who are trying to make strategic sense of the stacked deck they're playing from. Some characters rise and fall quickly. Others, such as Fobbits Eustace Harkleroad and Chance Gooding and soldiers Abe Shrinkle and Vic Duret, reveal the schizophrenic nature of the war. Eventually, Gooding serves as the war's chronicler, a counterpoint to Harkleroad's spin doctoring - even to the extreme of Harkleroad spinning e-mails to his mom. And Shrinkle, a hyper-patriotic officer, who proves too inept to hold down such a role, proves the book's eventual catalyst.
The author does an excellent job of characterizing the war, both in his narrative and his characterizations, all in excellently wrought prose. Perhaps he tried to do too much here, but that temptation is always great when such a war is seen from a perspective still too close to the author's war experience. And that brings me back to my opening paragraph here, and the distance of a few decades.
None among his characters is a parallel to Catch-22's Yossarian or Slaughterhouse Five's Billy Pilgrim. These earlier novels' primary characters were openly sensitive to the violence, chaos, and insanity of war, sometimes reacting in passive aggressive fashion a la M*A*S*H's Corporal Klinger, sometimes as desperately moral anarchists, such as that movie/TV show's Hawkeye Pierce.
In Abrams' war, there are no draftees, only volunteers, and one senses (quickly) that the public at home is paying little attention to this overlong conflict. No one openly challenges the war's ethics, nor the Fobbits' spin. It's a story of playing it as safe as one can in such dangerous conditions, militarily, morally, and emotionally. As close as they come to moral outrage is sneering at these overweight, air-condition-protected "knights of the keyboard." And only two, Shrinkle and Gooding, eventually display resistance and moral qualms. But by then it's too late for their metamorphoses to matter much in this book.
Still, Abrams does pitch the war in powerful terms, terms the U.S. and its European allies may not reconcile for many years to come.
and i swear, reading this it brought me back to iraq in a comforting way. like i could close my eyes and i was there again, and it was a billion degrees outside, and i could see my old friends. all the stupid things we did were happening again, and the good times, and the loneliness and the homesickness, and the feeling that though we were small players, we were on the world stage. and at the end of this book, i realized that my trip through memory lane was ending, and it would all be over soon. so i found myself spacing it out, and finally when i finished it i closed my kindle and my eyes and said goodbye to all my old friends, and got back to civilian life. i lived it, after a fashion, so that's why the book had such an impact on me. but to those that did not live it, and only saw it through the news, should read it. they will understand the war better. and to those that did live it, read the book. and say hi to your old friends for me.