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Showing 1-10 of 28 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 42 reviews
on August 15, 2014
All war is hell. From Saratoga to Spotsylvania to Verdun to Omaha Beach to Pusan to Khe Sanh to Fallujah, that truism has been validated with the blood of the grunts sent into battle for reasons they may not understand or that may not make sense. Brandon Friedman’s gripping memoir of his time in two of our latest affirmations of this truism is one of the finest of its types produced to date. Those of us who have heard the guns will recognize the emotions he faces and faces down for they are the same regardless of time or location.

Friedman’s story is not about battles, tactics or maneuvers. It is about a young man who bought into the youthful myth of “soldier games” and watched it replaced by the cynicism of actual combat. His eagerness to lead begins to fade with his first taste of close combat and is destroyed when his unit takes its first casualties. His journey is the story and it is a compelling one, especially if the reader has trod that same path in his or her younger days. The book is aptly titled as Friedman got the war he wanted and its reality soon destroyed the illusion.
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on September 26, 2014
An honest review of a military experience and the way it contributed to the evolution of a mindset as it changed to adapt to shifting personal values. Not everyone who served in the military went to war. Not everyone who went to war was in combat. And even those exposed to combat were also involved in the more mundane task of resupply or personnel administration. Friedman did not in any way exaggerate his role, if anything he comes across as self-effacing. He also provided a very current topical view of the problems of readjustment that everyone who has been exposed to random combat operations. I could easily relate it to my Vietnam war experiences.
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on August 22, 2014
We South Americans tend to distrust our governments easily. For us it is difficult to understand how Americans took so long to realize what a BS Iraq war was despite the evidence (or perhaps lack of it). Politics aside, I think this book is great for understanding the psychological toll a guerrilla warfare takes for soldiers in a populated environment. This is how post cold war era combat looks like with no clear enemy. I think the lessons learned (and clearly taught in this book) had a big impact on foreign US policy which apparently came to understand that no matter how good willed boots on the ground are, they will always be an occupation force, break things, and generate resistance sooner than later. It was a wake up call to the naivete of "unlimited power". All of this told with the simple unassuming stance of a 20 something, which make it a light reading, despite of the density of the subject.
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on December 22, 2014
It somewhat reminds me of what I thought about WW 2 as a Jr highschool kid and what we thought war should be like. Korea taught us what war was really llike.

The author did a very good job telling about the reality of actual combat that was nothing like we had fantasized as 12 & 14 year old kids
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on October 23, 2007
Reading this reminded me of Dalton Trumbo's classic book on WWI, "Johnny Got His Gun" though that book took a stridently anti-war position throughout. Not that this doesn't at all but I would consider it to be more neutral where that's concerned even with the author's disenchantment with the Iraq War;on the other hand because of 9/11, he felt his commitment to fight in Afghanistan to be a just cause. The italicized first person observations reminded me of the stream of consciousness technique found in Faulkner's "The Sound and The Fury."

So all in all, a first rate literary accomplishment.
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on March 19, 2017
Intriguing style, occasionally marred by shoddy proofing and the rare contrived sentence, but still very worthwhile.
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on August 18, 2014
A story about an officer who gets involved in battle and has a change of attitude. The wherefores and whyfores are well developed through internal dialogue and its easy to understand how this young man traveled the road he did and arrived at the beliefs he ended up with. While I probably wouldn't have arrived at the same consensus, I understand the authors thinking. Its well written and worth the read.
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on September 4, 2014
I would like to thank the author for writing this book. I would like to know what he is doing now. It would be helpful if glossary was at front of book. Is a sobering reminder that with all the hi he h stuff,ie, patriot Missiles, radar guided bombs, etc there are still real humans carrying 100# packs and marching 11 hours. I sent a hard copy of this book to a friend who is a veteran of Korea and Vietnam.
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on August 31, 2014
"Weapons of Mass Destruction". This book offers a clear picture of the lies and damage done - personally, to families, nationally and internationally- by those who sent our young men on a wild goose chase looking for WMD-
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on August 25, 2014
This is an extremely well written book, it would be a bargain at twice the price. All I can say is this is one of the stories where you just don't want it to end, a real gem.
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