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The Last Centurion Mass Market Paperback – August 25, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
As far as style goes, the choice to write this book blog style was...interesting. I'm not sure I want to embrace it as a literary style, but I think it worked well here. Reading the book felt almost like sitting in a bar, listening to a guy telling stories about his military career - which means we didn't get the whole story, just the bits and pieces he thought were worth sharing (or that he was willing to admit to).
Should you read this book? If you are a liberal, if you embrace big government, if you don't have a deep affection and respect for the military, if you voted for Obama and aren't sorry about it, then no, you shouldn't read this book. You probably won't like it. Don't torture yourself. If, on the other hand, your gun is in the truck, you think the only good government is limited government, and you value individual rights and accept the responsibilities that go with them, then yes, you ought to give this book a try. You'll probably like it.
In this novel, Bandit is the scion of farmers. He grows up on a farm in southern Minnesota, is the captain of the high school football team and goes to agriculture college on a football scholarship. Since pocket money was scarce, he joins Army ROTC and receives a small stipend.
Bandit graduates with a degree in Agronomy and is commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. The Army sends him to Infantry Officer Basic course and then to the Third Infantry Division in Savannah, Georgia. Soon his unit is deployed to Iran. He enjoys the tour, although two of his troopers are killed in action.
Returning to Savannah, Bandit is promoted to First Lieutenant and attends the Advance Course and Jump School. Then he is sent to the Ranger course. When he returns to his unit, they are preparing for another deployment. Since he is too senior for a line platoon and too junior to be an Executive Officer, Bandit is assigned as the Assistant Operations Officer of his battalion.
The S-3 himself is a wuss, so Bandit does all the work. He learns a lot about training and operations while holding down the job, but this tour is not as much fun as the previous one. Returning to Savannah, he is still the Assistant S-3, but his new boss knows what he is doing and passes on his knowledge to his subordinates.
The next time he is sent to the sandbox, Bandit is given command of the battalion Scout Platoon.Read more ›
I did not know the author or any of his prior books and expected something like Escape From New York or a literary version of the Gears of War commercial.
After finishing the book in one (admittedly long) day, I'm not quite sure what I just read, but it wasn't Escape From New York.
It could have been a Masters Course in Sociology, a Concise Politics of the World, or a graduate course from West Point on military strategy and tactics. Whatever it was, it was amazing and difficult to put down.
Authors who are successful in using an unusual voice (1st person) to present their usually limit that format to the first chapter or two and then revert to a more standard format for the remainder of the book. I wasn't expecting something along the lines of a blog or diary to persist throughout the whole book. That does make for prime script dialog though!
As with any book, there is far more material than could ever be presented in a movie, but I can already envision several approaches to a movie series along the lines of Mad Max and would love to work up a treatment for this.
My only criticism and it is hardly worth mentioning is that the while the flyleaf might lead you to believe that the story is mostly set in America, virtually none of it is. I kept thinking that the material presented in the first half of the book would be used as backstory for something set in the US, but it never really got there. Perhaps that will be where a sequel takes us.
Initially I was reading greedily, not even knowing where the book was going. This was because the book is broke into three sections. The first is a background story to establish the foundation to Bandit Six's experiences in the army in 2019. Very honest and upfront, section 1 is a scathing commentary on the world and, more importantly to American readers, the United States from today, mid 2000s, to the time of the Bird Flu breakout. Using today's issues as the source, Bandit 6 comments and explicates on such issues as Global Warming, Gulf War, Middle East Relations, Hurricane Katrina and so on. There is so much history and information packed in that I couldn't help googling a lot and reading up on these subjects as well. As great as the brutally honest commentary was, after a while I started to wonder if this was the whole book, which if it was then I no longer wanted to keep reading another 300 pages of just that. And Ringo's transition into section 2 came exactly then, well placed, and led to such a great account of Bandit 6's exploits in the Middle East.
Section 2 was the meat of The Last Centurion and it was a wild ride. One scene in Iran, when Bandit came out to attain some "help", was a classic scene of a no fear soldier in the midst of bullets whizzing all around him. I will remember that scene for a long time to come.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book. Good mix of military operations, politics, plagues, and agriculture, along with some good old fashion common sense makes this a great, enjoyable tale. Read morePublished 3 days ago by John Thompson
I enjoyed the book like I do everything Ringo writes. This one is a bit more political than usual, and hopefully not prophetic.Published 29 days ago by Dave
I like Ringo. This is a near future tale of the real world that could be. I like his humor and rational way of looking at this irrational world. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Headed South
First Ringo book I didn't like. Basically set up as three books. The first part is an Atlas Shrugged style neo-conservative treatise. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Not at ALL what I expected, but I'm 100% glad I picked this book up!
An "after-action" narrative, written as what would appear to be a rambling monologue of a... Read more
Why would anyone want to be anything with a hyphen in the name, when they can be an American? Plain and simple.Published 2 months ago by Steven Miles
This book needs a little polish like the kind a good editor might provide but other than that it has a solid premise and moves quick. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
Farming, fighting, and fun. It was rousing a adventure compelling enough for me to read in a single sitting. (A very long sitting.)Published 3 months ago by Steven Tinel