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Jarhead : A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 4, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From The New Yorker
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
I bought this book as soon as I heard about it and finished the last page seven hours later. It brought back so many feelings and memories that I couldn't have written it any better. Swofford captured the paradox of war as well as any book I'd ever read. Not many Marines talk about their love/hate relationship with the Corps outside of our circle and he related this sentiment remarkably well. His analysis of the difference between combat marines and the rest of the Corps sounded like recent phone calls between me and my buddies.
If you want to know what war is REALLY about, the day to day uncertainty, fear, boredom, glee, hate, love, and insanity, the BS of politics, incompitant brass leadership, then this book is for you. This isn't some rah rah book written by some REMF pogue either. Patriotism may get you to the front but your buddies will keep you alive so you can make it back home.
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.Read more ›
Swofford has a chip on his shoulder - something he'll most likely readily admit. He has a 'bad attitude', and in fact revels in it. One wonders if this is a product of his war experiences, his Marine Corps training, or his upbringing. At one point his mother, who never really liked the idea of her son being in the Marines, but who wouldn't stand in her son's way, said 'I lost my baby boy when you went to war.' She described Swofford as being sweet and gentle prior to that, and angry and unhappy afterwards. One wonders how much of a change is there - if one can take the stories at face value, this is the same boy who had a fist-fight with his father over going in the Corps at the age of 17, and who had Marine Corps decals put on his shirts as a child. One of his drill instructors even gave Swofford what he considered a great compliment - 'you'll be a great killer someday.'
I make the caveat that one might not be able to take all of this at face value, because like many men in this kind of situation, Swofford is likely to exaggerate - making some pieces more dramatic and other pieces less so. Swofford recounts many tales of men in his sniper platoon who had adjustment problems after the war; one can but wonder if that is true for Swofford, too. Also, Swofford admits to being willing and able to lie if the cause is, in some internal sense, justified - his dealings with brother, in the Army in Germany who later died of cancer, is a case in point.Read more ›
Gulf War memoirs are beginning to pour forth from publishers. I wonder about the timing sometimes, but it wouldn't surprise me that Swofford's slim volume is the best of the lot. Like James Webb's classic "Fields of Fire" Swofford catches the lingo of Marines perfectly, but he also discusses the ups and the many downs of being one of the Few and the Proud (sometimes I felt like pride had little to anything to do with my own enlistment). I don't necessarily agree with whomever wrote the dust jacket in comparing this book to Caputo's "A Rumor of War" or "The Things They Carried," by Tim O'Brien. "A Rumor of War" is still probably the best Vietnam memoir out there, and Caputo's experiences are as far from Mr. Swofford's as they get. Tim O'Brien's book is a work of fiction, something "Jarhead" is not. If they tried to compare it to say, "If I Die in a Combat Zone," I feel that would have been more appropriate.
Swofford's book entails his peacetime experience as well as the Gulf War. He shows how his fellow Marines wage war on each other long before the Iraqis intrude. The deployment ("Desert Shield") is a long and monotonous one, and despite some brief but terrifying moments, 2/7 STA platoon's war is frustratingly short.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Incredible story. I really enjoyed getting inside the head of a Marine like this. I plan on rereading this regularlyPublished 1 month ago by Tom
Way to much sexual comments. Had a reall hard time finishing it. Some may be true but not for making a profit.Published 1 month ago by Mel Nefstead
Excellent Product, Excellent Price, Shipped very quickly! WDBA! A+++Published 7 months ago by Bruce R. Martin Jr.
I loved the book and it is extremely well written.I just read the 5 star and the many 1 star reviews,and I must put in with the 5.This book is the memoir of only ONE man. Read morePublished 8 months ago by CMBeachgirl
Great read...I had a softcover copy but it was ruined in some flooding we had. A Kindle version won't go soggy. :-)Published 9 months ago by Angela Tant
Swofford is amazing. This book is pure art - in fact, I've read it twice. I read it the first time to get a better understanding of the Gulf War. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Adele
Nowhere near a gung ho patriotic book about the US military, this portrays a realistic, albeit though very pessimistic, view of life as a US Marine during the 1st Gulf War. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Roy Kubicek
I am a vet, who did 2 tours. Swoff hits all of the low and high points and gives you a highly accurate look into the soldier mindset.Published 13 months ago by Ryan James