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Joker One: A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood Paperback – January 12, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Campbell decided as a junior at Princeton that attending Marine Corps Officer Candidate School would look good on his résumé. Three years later, in the spring of 2004, he was in Iraq commanding a platoon known by its radio call sign, Joker One. Campbell tells its story, and his, in an outstanding narrative of the Iraq War. Joker One counted around 40 dudes: country boys and smalltown jocks; a few Hispanics and a single black. Some were college men with futures; some had pasts they preferred to forget. The battalion was assigned to one of Iraq's worst hot spots: the city of Ramadi, where faceless enemies found shelter among 350,000 Iraqi civilians. Joker One fought from street to street, house to house and ambush to ambush for seven straight months. By the end of the tour, even the Gunny's hands had started ceaselessly shaking, Campbell writes. Faced with urgent life-and-death decisions, Campbell had learned that there are no great options... you live with the results and shut up about the whole thing. For all his constant self-questioning, Lt. Campbell brought Joker One home with only one KIA—a record as impressive as his account. (Mar. 17)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Critics praised Campbell as a gifted and deft writer who retells his Iraq tour in “powerful, exacting detail” (Dallas Morning News). While Campbell avoids much analysis of the war overall, or even his platoon’s specific mission, most critics found this to be a virtue. As the New York Times noted, Campbell “never quite puts his finger on the meaning, if any, of the extraordinary violence,” but he does “[lay] it all out for anyone else who wants to have a try.” Only the Denver Post found Campbell’s unreflective style trying, citing that the author “seems awkwardly obtuse when it comes to ascertaining the needs of other people.” Most reviewers, however, admired the book’s honest day-to-day look at attempting to quell the Iraqi insurgency.
Copyright 2009 Bookmarks Publishing LLC --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top customer reviews
Campbell does spend some time on the themes well covered by other war accounts - the gallows humor, the comically absurd, the surreal juxtaposition of normal Iraqis carrying out every day business in the middle of a war zone, the tragic and inhumane occurrences of modern warfare - but it is in Campbell’s open and honest account of the love he had for his Marines, and the love those Marines had for each other, that Joker One sets itself apart.
At the end of the book, after tearing up several times, I have to say that Joker One is now one of two books I would recommend to anyone wanting to attempt to understand what it was like in the Iraq war (the other being Generation Kill). It’s one of the best I’ve ever read.
Worth the read and excellently written.
I knew that being in a combat Marine unit was not a party but I had no idea it was that bad. Being a Vietnam veteran myself who joined the Navy and was stationed in country in Vietnam I had it good compared to these guys. I'm surprised that any of them got home alive and I honor their bravery, self devotion to each other and patriotic duty to our country and so should all Americans.
I even believe that someone who served in any situation like this that may be struggling can possible find help in a book like this. I heard a story about a Dr. who deals with PTSD, he said the biggest thing he finds with these guys is the feel like they can't express what they are feeling, they can't talk about it because they are men, and men keep their feelings inside because to talk about what is on the inside shows weakness. I could not agree more, and I think this book shows a man opening up about what is going inside and I think it portrays true manhood and character. This teaches men about courage even when you are scared. This can apply to a solder in battle of the guy who is just getting up every day and going to work trying to do the right thing.
Most recent customer reviews
Found this extremely well done . Not ha ing served in combat myself I was riveted by the clarity of the writing and the detail that describes the events so realistically.Read more