- Hardcover: 448 pages
- Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; First Edition edition (June 6, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0425209881
- ISBN-13: 978-0425209882
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 33 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #483,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Marines in the Garden of Eden: The Battle for An Nasiriyah Hardcover – June 6, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
This account of "the bloodiest battle in the campaign to oust Saddam Hussein" in An Nasiriyah announces its overblown style in the first lines: "This is a story of heroism and sacrifice—of life and death. This is a story of today's Marine Corps." According to Lowry (The Gulf War Chronicles), the Marines and Special Forces "snatched victory from the jaws of defeat" and rescued Private Jessica Lynch through compassionate heroism, despite the loss of 34 Americans, nearly half of whom died through accidents and friendly fire. An essential target in the first days of the Iraq war, An Nasiriyah held two bridges over the Euphrates. Fighting inside the city was not part of the plan, but became inevitable when communications faltered and after Lynch's supply unit blundered into Iraqi positions. With admirable courage, U.S. forces fought through the streets, captured the bridges and rescued Lynch. Lowry's nuts-and-bolts description of the fight represents his strongest writing. Following the genre's convention of portraying individual soldiers, Lowry includes virtually everyone he interviewed; there are dozens of names, always followed by a flattering sketch (alternately "tough, yet fair" or "fair yet strict"). As additional evidence that these soldiers are America's finest, he quotes their patriotic statements, affectionate letters to their children, and their spouses' always favorable opinions. It took immense research to produce such detail, but Lowry's gushing account may not extend far beyond the Marines involved and their families. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
An embedded reporter with the First Marine Division provides this excellent monograph on the Battle of An Nasiriyah. The first major ground engagement of the second Iraq War, the battle began with the ambush of the 5307th Maintenance Company amid poor visibility and, one suspects, faulty intelligence. The marines quickly recovered their balance and tactical proficiency, and in close--quarters, combined-arms combat liberated the city from its own defenders' reign of terror. They also freed POW Private Jessica Lynch, about whom Lowry offers no sensational revelations. What he does offer is an excellent battle narrative, which, thanks to extensive interviewing, shifts from one unit to another, depending on which was most closely engaged. The result may not please antiwar readers, but probably neither Lowry nor the marines had the slightest intention of doing that. A book that adds considerably to knowledge of the state of the U.S. Marines and the variety of human beings who "are proud to bear the title." Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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First, the narrative is broken into short descriptions of what various units were doing at any given time. Or maybe not at the same time--sometimes it's hard to tell. While this does give the flavor of the scattered nature of the extended battle, it was hard to follow.
Second, there is little feeling for the people involved. This is not for lack of trying. The author tries to sketch in the background of many of the combatants he follows, but it just doesn't work. One soldier he introduces with something like, "He was a great guy". That's it...no explanation or example of what makes him a great guy. I felt separated from the characters he clearly respects and and honors.
Third is the way the short written segments are titled: usually by the units involved. There are names like "Regimental Combat Team-/2", "Betio Bastards", "The Timberwolves", "Bravo Company", and on and on. I just could not follow it all, and that may be my lack of concentration...but I don't think the author made it easy.
Then there are the maps. There are many maps, but only occasionally could I follow the course of action on one. This is partly because the narrative skips around so much: one unit is fighting in the north of town, the next is to the east. While the description of their actions is juxtaposed, no maps are. Some of the maps lack references that are vital to following the flow of battle. In the paperback edition this was all made worse by the poor reproduction quality of the maps.
And speaking of poor reproduction quality, we come to the photographs. In the paperback edition there is not enough clarity or contrast to make the photos enjoyable, or in some cases, viewable. This is in part due to the poor quality paper. (Hint to publisher: it's okay to use cheap paper for the print, but PLEASE switch to glossy for the pictures.)
To sum up, this book provides a wealth of detail for the historian, but does not stand on its own as a great read.
Finally, the leadership and bravery of both officers and enlisted men were truly inspirational as they were able to overcome extraordinary obsticals, including intense air attacks by allied aircraft even while under assault by enemy forces.