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The Last Deployment: How a Gay, Hammer-Swinging Twentysomething Survived a Year in Iraq Audible – Unabridged

4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 39 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks
  • Audible.com Release Date: November 2, 2012
  • Whispersync for Voice: Ready
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A0WEK86
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Bronson joined the National Guard in his senior year of high school, mostly to compete with his brothers, who had been favored by his parents due to their many sports achievements. Bronson was not very athletic, somewhat shy, and harboring a secret; he was gay. He figured his "weekend warrior" obligation would be well worth it, not just in upgrading his status at home, but in allowing him to travel and relate to other men in an atmosphere where his sexuality could not be brought up as an issue.

He got through a deployment to Kovsco, and was looking forward to the end of his six year enlistment, when he received orders that he would be deployed to Iraq in the final six months of that time, which would eventually be extended to a full year. He had to put off finishing college, and had the usual apprehensions about the dangers he could face.

But Bronson was also going through a difficult time, still not completely over a relationship that had ended badly, and second-guessing himself on his part in the breakup. With no partner, a somewhat emotionally-detached family and few close friends back home, he also didn't have the support structure most of his fellow soldiers had, as most were married or had longtime girlfriends. It was one thing to avoid the subject of his own relationships when going for weekend drills or two week summer training, but it would be much tougher in the forced living situation he would face overseas for so long.

Lemer's well-written memoir is a clear argument why the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy has to go, as well as an interesting and poignant look at the everyday lives of soldiers deployed in situations like this. No matter how you feel about the war, this is something you need to read. Five stars out of five.

- Bob Lind, Echo Magazine
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Format: Paperback
With plans in place by the US Government to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, this book becomes more than simply a memoir; it is a moving example of how that policy affected the lives of every day American citizens who chose to fight for their country. Lemer has created vivid descriptions about his experiences overseas, and those in the US while waiting to know where his division would be deployed. His accounts of interacting with Iraqi citizens are compelling -- an early highlight was the chapter set at the soccer stadium. It was easy for the reader to imagine being there, and to understand his uncertainty and unease while standing outside the stadium near the trucks while being stared at by Iraqis. These images and others stand in sharp contrast to some of the scenes of the war effort that have been shown on television.

This book is a quick read, but the scenes and images contained within will resonate long after you've finished. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
Bronson Lemer is a former soldier with the National Guard who just six months shy of completing his commitment to the Guard, he is sent to serve in Iraq for a year. As a gay man under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, he has to keep his sexuality a secret or face ostracism and possible discharge from the military.

I thought the book was brilliantly written. Lemer does not focus solely on being a gay man in the military. In fact, there are times when I forget that he IS gay, because he discusses the life any solider faces when they are serving in a foreign country. He is often not a gay man, but a young man who with each passing day finds he does not want to be in the military, a young man who questions his country's motives for sending him to Iraq, and a young man who just wants to be at home with friends and family. He wonders what he could possibly do to help the country when he can't even help a woman get help for her injured son.

When Lemer does discuss being a gay man in the military, I found it very insightful. He discusses how he at first tries to live two separate lives: one as a gay man, and one as a solider, but finds it increasingly difficult to separate the two. It is no wonder any man or woman coming back from service finds it difficult to connect to someone. They are so far removed from situations like that, that it must be foreign to them.

There are many flashbacks to Lemer's childhood and other times while he talks about his experiences in Iraq. Things that remind him of other events lead to little anecdotes about something else. This style of writing makes it more conversational, and therefore more readable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Last Deployment..." is writer Bronson Lemer's account of his final year in military service (North Dakota National Guard), spent in parts of Iraq early in the second war there. Secondary to that experience, but important to Lemer's perspective and inner life is that fact that he was a gay man serving under the highly ambiguous "don't ask, don't tell" military rule. It's clear from his story that what overshadowed everything during that deployment was his need to survive the hostilities and honor the military's first commandment requiring unit cohesion before anything else. His personal, inner life was put on hold, as were those of his compatriots of course, but Lemer was not able to openly plug into the stateside support system (wives, husbands, girlfriends, etc. ) that everyone else could. That he came through the experience in apparent good mental condition is remarkable.

Lemer's story has the feel of absolute authenticity when he talks about the dangerous, but often tedious daily routines of an enlisted man in combat conditions. And while I liked the honesty and feel of reality in this book, but I would have liked to have known a bit more about the writer's background--his relationship with his family and friends back home, and maybe something of how he has been adjusting to civilian life since leaving the military. This is an interesting person with an interesting story and that makes the reader want to know more.
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