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Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq Hardcover – Unabridged, October 18, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. When SPC Anthony joined the Army at 18, he went in with high hopes and sterling ideals; coming from a family with a proud military background, Anthony expected to meet mentors, heroes and lifelong friends while earning money for college and becoming a man. What he discovered was a disenchanting web of mundane corruption and self-serving lies. Unlike accounts exposing the military's most shameful iniquities, Anthony's memoir focuses on an endless parade of petty offenses-the cowardice, drug addiction, thievery, adultery and rampant hypocrisy-he found while working in a base hospital. Relentlessly honest and reflective, Anthony's record communicates perfectly the stranglehold of sadness, fear and disappointment that came with his lost innocence; just as worse is his eventual acceptance of the pointless, dysfunctional bureaucracy maintaining the status quo. Avoiding the intensity of the battlefield and the OR itself, Anthony's frustrations resonate with the feelings of any young man learning about the nature of authority and his helplessness before it. Readers curious about the human side of the ongoing Iraqi conflict will be struck by Anthony's strong voice, direct storytelling and stark honesty.


"A raw, honest narrative by a young soldier thrust into an atmosphere that demanded care for the wounded, yet seemingly deprived of leaders who understood their role was to help, and not to be self-absorbed." -- Bing West, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs; Author of The Village and No True Glory

"I was moved by Michael's very personal account of life in Iraq and the wisdom he gained in that crucible--including not to salute if I ever find myself in a war zone." -- Susan N. Herman, President, American Civil Liberties Union; Centennial Professor of Law

"Michael Anthony introduces us to an alien world that is unimaginable unless experienced--or witnessed--through the author's eyes and pain, and youthful, matter-of-fact wisdom. It is hard to read about the unexpected casualties of war, but Michael takes us on an unforgettable personal journey as filled with humor as it is with horror." -- Philip G. Zimbardo, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

"Michael Anthony's memoir is not about the politics of Iraq. Instead it takes up deep inside the war, inside and outside the operation room, the barracks, the talk of the soldiers, the feeling of the situation...unique and powerful." --HOWARD ZINN, Author of A People's History of the United States

"Riddled with very dark humor, Mass Casualties is M*A*S*H absent the lightheartedness. For those who love war stories, this should be mandatory reading." --Gary Hart, United States Senator

Much will be written about the Iraq War in years to come, but it's difficult to envision any of it ever topping Michael Anthony's Mass Casualties. The book is subtitled A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception and Dishonor in Iraq, but even that does little justice to Anthony's raw, unfiltered look at the heartache and misery he found himself surrounded by. Anthony's one-year tour was spent alternately dodging mortar fire and spending long, sleep-deprived hours in operating rooms where medical teams struggled frantically to stitch similarly young lives back together. All the staples of war from classics like The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien or A Rumor of War by Phillip Caputo are here, from the disillusionment to the mind-numbing detachment to the utterly pointless political infighting. The difference is those books were at least mostly fiction, while Anthony's real-life tale is presented in riveting diary form. Slight, short and to the point, Mass Casualties is destined to become a classic of its kind. Anthony's prose is draped in caution, a warning sign flashed before the eyes of the jingoistic sensibilities of those who strut their patriotism before a curtain of deferments. -- AuthorMagazine.org, October 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Adams Media; 1 edition (October 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440501831
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440501838
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,676,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. ARMSTRONG on November 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book relays the experiences of a soldier deployed to war in a way that only a vetern can portray. I was unable to put the book down from start to finish. I knew all of the stories before they were told, because I lived them. Yet I found myself unable to set the book aside as I was drawn in by Anthony's unique story telling abilities. I had high expectations about where this book would go. I wanted to re-live my memories without censorship, without being politically correct. Reading this book fealt as though I were reading my own journal; a journal which Anthony had prepared just for me. Although some of the stories seem too crazy to be true, I can assure you they are honest accounts of where our deployment took us. From the unstable leadership, to the drug-induced sleep, every story is exactly how I had remembered it. I'm proud to have served with Anthony, and I'm proud of the courage he had to put this book out there for people to see. (Just as he had warned fellow soldiers about the dangers of a questionable vaccine). I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the truth about modern combat.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mass Casualties is one man's memoirs of his time serving as a medic in the Iraq war.

Written as a journal, spanning the course of one year, it provides what is probably the most realistic account of what it's really like to serve during wartime in a foreign land - the pressures it creates, the fear, and the total change to life as they knew it

It should be mandatory reading for anybody in the upper echelons of the armed forces, if only to find out what really goes on in within their command structure.

You could be forgiven for thinking, based on SPC Anthony's experiences, that many of the officers in charge were fighting for the wrong side - while leaders are meant to motivate and inspire their personnel, it seems as though their ineptitude, arrogance, abuse of authority, and negative attitudes achieved the exact opposite. How is it possible for such petty politics to go on and when their troops' lives are at stake?

Probably the most telling point for me was the fear of returning home to a normal life, something that many people fail to consider.

Given that we are strongly anti-chemicals, especially vaccinations, I was also pleased to see the issue of vaccinations came up - using people who are already risking their lives to serve their country as guinea pigs for unproven "science" is morally wrong.

The writing itself is somewhat raw, exactly as it should be if it were somebody's journal, but that only serves to make the entire journal seem so much more realistic and believable.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book, which feels like a coming together of MASH and Catch 22, and would recommend it to anybody who wants an insider's view of a soldier's life.
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Format: Hardcover
Michael Anthony has published his journal recorded during his year in Iraq serving as a medic in the midst of the worse than bizarre war being played out around him. The book is a journal written with fine graphics dividing the entries by hours in the days in the weeks in the months of his tour of duty - all bound by the barbed wire that so aptly describes the imprisonment felt by those serving in a position for a given period of time to perform despite the belief in the cause. This writing technique serves Anthony well: he is freed from the literary confines of connecting incidents, minutes/hours/days, into a flowing story - the entries do that for him.

What we learn from this young writer (of very great promise!) is not so much about the particular war in Iraq, but instead about what happens in every war in which civilians serve in the medical capacity. The flow of information is more about the interaction of the various members who comprise the OR team - the docs, the medics, the techs, the nurses, the true military personnel who command the actions away from the OR table - than it is about the war itself. Anthony introduces the friends he makes, the enemies he encounters, the pecking order of those in charge, the 'illegal activities' that are commonplace, the addictions, the chronic lack of sleep, and that most difficult hurdles of all - the agony of seeing young bodies both American and Iraqi torn by shrapnel and commonplace explosions. We feel Anthony's grief and disillusionment while we are sifting through his own addiction to sleeping pills, his only way to rest from the trauma and the at times exceeding boredom of the day.
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Format: Hardcover
I am drawn to a soldier's memoirs not only because I'm a warrior at heart, but it tells the experience and emotions during their tours overseas, educating one in a lifestyle very different from the one that too many people take for granted. Specialist Michael Anthony's book lacks no sharing of that experience and those emotions. Whether it was connecting with his thoughts and humor throughout, or relating to his very-much-human sentiment, I just could not put this book down and actually read it all the way through. I was pulled in and wanted to know what happened next. It really is a phenomenal read.
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