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Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts: The American Military in the Air, at Sea, and on the Ground (Vintage Departures) Paperback – September 9, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Robert Kaplan is a magazine writer who has spent many decades living and working in the Third World. Since September 11th, he has spent many months embedded with small, elite military units. His travels have sent him to such off the beaten track places as Colombia, Mali, Niger, Guam and the Phillipines. Kaplan genuinely likes and respects the service people he spends time with. In his affection for the common soldier, he reminds me a lot of the great journalist Ernie Pyle of the Second World War. This book is at its very best in describing training missions that Marines and Special Forces carry out in the far fringes of the devloping world. Kaplan goes places and reports things that ordinary journalists never experience.
As with "Imperial Grunts", Kaplan dances around with this idea that the United States is an Imperial power and that our military is an Imperial force. I am not sure that I agree with his thesis but I wish Kaplan would be more forthright in stating his argument and backing it up with hard evidence. It seems that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are the perfect laboratory for analyzing his thesis. Did we invade these countries as acts of self defense as President Bush and most of the United States military would argue? Or are these "Imperial" wars as President Bush's most vocal critics would argue?Read more ›
Kaplan does travel a lot and the depth of his interviews in the earlier book isn't here but it is still a good source of information about the far flung US military as it fights the savage wars of peace.
But he should refrain from repeating that everything is "super", "elite", etc. As far as I know the repetitiveness with which he states that all soldiers crave to go to Irak is nonsense.
This book should be recommended to recruiting officers for potential "grunts".
Nonetheless, he obviously knows the military environment, which he seems to greatly admires, even if results (in Irak, for example) are not what was expected.
Kaplan also spends a fair amount of time putting current US activities in the context of dealing with our major challenges: the Global War on Terror, the rise of China, and the unpredictable North Korea. Kaplan doesn't cover much of the current conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan in this book, though he has explored this in other writings. "Hog Pilots" highlighted for me the vital and underappreciated work conducted by the US military every day.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Big warning: this kindle edition has not the least fundamentals - no page numbers, no chapters to go to. Unacceptable!! Read morePublished 21 months ago by JohannesKircher
I spent a carrier in the Navy and this book missed the feeling that came with that. Somehow the author goes from place to place and believes everything every base commander tell... Read morePublished on January 11, 2014 by Stephen OBrien
Kaplan spent the better part of two years visiting, living with and talking to American military personnel the world over. Read morePublished on December 30, 2013 by Gary Messerli
Kaplan is one of the last in depth and eloquent international reporters, a must read for anyone who enjoys well written books.Published on September 19, 2013 by Sandy Nelson
I loved the attention to detail in this book -- how the author talks about his wife, family and the difficult of serving one's country on deployed. Read morePublished on May 19, 2013 by Charlotte A. Hu
My husband asked for this book and still hasn't completed it. I can't comment as I haven't been compelled to read it.Published on December 27, 2012 by Grace
In this book, Atlantic nationalist correspondent Robert Kaplan argues that the American military's greatness does not lie in its strategy, leadership, or technology. Read morePublished on January 20, 2012 by Jiang Xueqin