Generation popular Kill: Devil Dogs, Ice Man, Captain America, and the New new arrival Face of American War outlet online sale

Generation popular Kill: Devil Dogs, Ice Man, Captain America, and the New new arrival Face of American War outlet online sale

Generation popular Kill: Devil Dogs, Ice Man, Captain America, and the New new arrival Face of American War outlet online sale
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Based on Evan Wright''s National Magazine Award-winning story in Rolling Stone, this is the raw, firsthand account of the 2003 Iraq invasion that inspired the HBO® original mini-series.

Within hours of 9/11, America’s war on terrorism fell to those like the twenty-three Marines of the First Recon Battalion, the first generation dispatched into open-ended combat since Vietnam. They were a new pop-culture breed of American warrior unrecognizable to their forebears—soldiers raised on hip hop, video games and The Real World. Cocky, brave, headstrong, wary and mostly unprepared for the physical, emotional and moral horrors ahead, the “First Suicide Battalion” would spearhead the blitzkrieg on Iraq, and fight against the hardest resistance Saddam had to offer.

Hailed as “one of the best books to come out of the Iraq war”( Financial Times),  Generation Kill is the funny, frightening, and profane firsthand account of these remarkable men, of the personal toll of victory, and of the randomness, brutality and camaraderie of a new American War.

Review

“A pungently written combat narrative and a close-range study of a bunch of twentysomething warriors trying to get a handle on who they are.”Time

“Nuanced and grounded in details often overlooked in daily journalistic accounts...A complex portrait of able young men raised on video games and trained as killers.”The New York Times

“A stellar reporting achievement...Think Black Hawk Down or Michael Herr''s Dispatches.”—ottawa Citizen

“Shockingly honest.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Visceral, sometimes shocking...a brutally honest acount of America''s latest generation to experiencethe stark, horrifying realities of warfare.”—Boston Herald

“Sidesteps Greatest Generation clichés to find the unexpected—a self-described ‘Marine Corps killer’ who listens to Barry Manilow, a corporal who compares a gunfight to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.”—The Washington Post

Wright wrote about [his] experience in a three-part series in Rolling Stone that was hailed for its evocative, accurate war reporting. This book, a greatly expanded version of that series, matches its accomplishment. Wright is a perceptive reporter...a personality-driven, readable and insightful look at the Iraq war''s first month from the Marine grunt''s point of view...compelling portraits...a vivid, well-drawn picture.”—Publishers Weekly

“The language is blue, the blood red, and the action explosive. This may be the book of the Iraqi engagement.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch 

About the Author

Evan Wright is the author of Hella Nation and  Generation Kill, the basis of the HBO® miniseries for which he served as co-writer. Wright earned his degree in medieval and Renaissance studies from Vassar College, an education he soon put work at Hustler magazine, where he served as “Entertainment Editor.” In the late 1990''s he began writing feature articles for Rolling Stone focused on youth subcultures, from radical environmentalists to skinheads to sorority girls. His work is characterized by immersion in his subjects'' worlds, detailed reporting and dark humor.

After 9/ll he pitched his editor on the idea that since the US military was “basically another youth subculture,” he ought to be writing about it. Generation Kill received numerous awards, including the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the Los Angeles Times book award, a PEN USA literary prize and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation''s award for “Best History of the Marine Corps.”

Wright has covered the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He is the recipient of two National Magazine Awards, one for reporting on the war in Iraq in Rolling Stone and the other for a profile published in Vanity Fair.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

PROLOGUE

It''s another Iraqi town, nameless to the Marines racing down the main drag in Humvees, blowing it to pieces. We''re flanked on both sides by a jumble of walled, two-story mud-brick buildings, with Iraqi gunmen concealed behind windows, on rooftops and in alleyways, shooting at us with machine guns, AK rifles and the odd rocket-propelled grenade (RPG). Though it''s nearly five in the afternoon, a sandstorm has plunged the town into a hellish twilight of murky red dust. Winds howl at fifty miles per hour. The town stinks. Sewers, shattered from a Marine artillery bombardment that ceased moments before we entered, have overflowed, filling the streets with lagoons of human excrement. Flames and smoke pour out of holes blasted through walls of homes and apartment blocks by the Marines'' heavy weapons. Bullets, bricks, chunks of buildings, pieces of blown-up light poles and shattered donkey carts splash into the flooded road ahead.

The ambush started when the lead vehicle of Second Platoon-the one I ride in-rounded the first corner into the town. There was a mosque on the left, with a brilliant, cobalt-blue dome. Across from this, in the upper window of a three-story building, a machine gun had opened up. Nearly two dozen rounds ripped into our Humvee almost immediately. Nobody was hit; none of the Marines panicked. They responded by speeding into the gunfire and attacking with their weapons. The four Marines crammed into this Humvee-among the first American troops to cross the border into Iraq-had spent the past week wired on a combination of caffeine, sleep deprivation, tedium and anticipation. For some of them, rolling into an ambush was almost an answered prayer.

Their war began several days ago, as a series of explosions that rumbled across the Kuwaiti desert beginning at about five in the morning of March 20. The Marines, who had been sleeping in holes dug into the sand twenty kilometers south of the border with Iraq, sat up and gazed into the empty expanse, their faces blank as they listened to the distant thundering. They had eagerly awaited the start of war since leaving their base at Camp Pendleton, California, more than six weeks earlier. Spirits couldn''t have been higher. Later, when a pair of Cobra helicopter gunships thumped overhead, flying north, presumably on their way to battle, Marines pumped their fists in the air and screamed, "Yeah! Get some!"

Get some! is the unofficial Marine Corps cheer. It''s shouted when a brother Marine is struggling to beat his personal best in a fitness run. It punctuates stories told at night about getting laid in whorehouses in Thailand and Australia. It''s the cry of exhilaration after firing a burst from a .50-caliber machine gun. Get some! expresses, in two simple words, the excitement, the fear, the feelings of power and the erotic-tinged thrill that come from confronting the extreme physical and emotional challenges posed by death, which is, of course, what war is all about. Nearly every Marine I''ve met is hoping this war with Iraq will be his chance to get some.

Marines call exaggerated displays of enthusiasm-from shouting Get some! to waving American flags to covering their bodies with Marine Corps tattoos-"moto." You won''t ever catch Sergeant Brad Colbert, the twenty-eight-year-old commander of the vehicle I ride in, engaging in any moto displays. They call Colbert "The Iceman." Wiry and fair-haired, he makes sarcastic pronouncements in a nasal whine that sounds like comedian David Spade. Though he considers himself a "Marine Corps killer," he''s also a nerd who listens to Barry Manilow, Air Supply and practically all the music of the 1980s except rap. He is passionate about gadgets: He collects vintage video-game consoles and wears a massive wristwatch that can only properly be "configured" by plugging it into his PC. He is the last guy you would picture at the tip of the spear of the invasion forces in Iraq.

Now, in the midst of this ambush in a nameless town, Colbert appears utterly calm. He leans out his window in front of me, methodically pumping grenades into nearby buildings with his rifle launcher. The Humvee rocks rhythmically as the main gun on the roof turret, operated by a twenty-three-year-old corporal, thumps out explosive rounds into buildings along the street. The vehicle''s machine gunner, a nineteen-year-old Marine who sits to my left, blazes up the town, firing through his window like a drive-by shooter. Nobody speaks.

The fact that the enemy in this town has succeeded in shutting up the driver of this vehicle, Corporal Josh Ray Person, is no mean feat. A twenty-two-year-old from Missouri with a faintly hick accent and a shock of white-blond hair covering his wide, squarish head-his blue eyes are so far apart Marines call him "Hammerhead" or "Goldfish"-Person plans to be a rock star when he gets out of the Corps. The first night of the invasion, he had crossed the Iraqi border, simultaneously entertaining and annoying his fellow Marines by screeching out mocking versions of Avril Lavigne songs. Tweaking on a mix of chewing tobacco, instant coffee crystals, which he consumes dry by the mouthful, and over-the-counter stimulants like ephedra-based Ripped Fuel, Person never stops jabbering. Already he''s reached a profound conclusion about this campaign: that the battlefield that is Iraq is filled with "fucking retards." There''s the retard commander in the battalion, who took a wrong turn near the border, delaying the invasion by at least an hour. There''s another officer, a classic retard, who has spent much of the campaign chasing through the desert to pick up souvenirs-helmets, Republican Guard caps and rifles-thrown down by fleeing Iraqi soldiers. There are the hopeless retards in the battalion-support sections who screwed up the radios and didn''t bring enough batteries to operate the Marines'' thermal-imaging devices. But in Person''s eyes, one retard reigns supreme: Saddam Hussein. "We already kicked his ass once," he says. "Then we let him go, and he spends the next twelve years pissing us off even more. We don''t want to be in this shithole country. We don''t want to invade it. What a fucking retard."

Now, as enemy gunfire tears into the Humvee, Person hunches purposefully over the wheel and drives. The lives of everyone depend on him. If he''s injured or killed and the Humvee stops, even for a moment in this hostile town, odds are good that everyone will be wiped out, not just the Marines in this vehicle, but the nineteen others in the rest of the platoon following behind in their Humvees. There''s no air support from attack jets or helicopters because of the raging sandstorm. The street is filled with rubble, much of it from buildings knocked down by the Marines'' heavy weapons. We nearly slam into a blown-up car partially blocking the street. Ambushers drop cables from rooftops, trying to decapitate or knock down the Humvee''s turret gunner. Person zigzags and brakes as the cables scrape across the Humvee, one of them striking the turret gunner who pounds on the roof, shouting, "I''m okay!"

At least one Marine in Colbert''s Humvee seems ecstatic about being in a life-or-death gunfight. Nineteen-year-old Corporal Harold James Trombley, who sits next to me in the left rear passenger seat, has been waiting all day for permission to fire his machine gun. But no chance. The villagers Colbert''s team had encountered had all been friendly until we hit this town. Now Trombley is curled over his weapon, firing away. Every time he gets a possible kill, he yells, "I got one, Sergeant!" Sometimes he adds details: "Hajji in the alley. Zipped him low. I seen his knee explode!"

Midway through the town, there''s a lull in enemy gunfire. For an instant, the only sound is wind whistling through the Humvee. Colbert shouts to everyone in the vehicle: "You good? You good?" Everyone''s all right. He bursts into laughter. "Holy shit!" he says, shaking his head. "We were fucking lit up!"

Forty-five minutes later the Marines swing pickaxes into the hard desert pan outside of the town, setting up defensive positions. Several gather around their bullet-riddled Humvees, laughing about the day''s exploits. Their faces are covered with dust, sand, tar, gun lubricant, tobacco spittle and sewer water from the town. No one''s showered or changed out of the bulky chemical-protection suits they''ve been wearing for ten days. Since all mirrors and reflective surfaces have been stripped from their Humvees to make the vehicles harder to detect, most of the men haven''t seen themselves since crossing the border. Their filthy faces seem to make their teeth shine even whiter as they laugh and hug one another.

The platoon''s eldest member, thirty-five-year-old Gunnery Sergeant Mike "Gunny" Wynn, walks among the Marines, grabbing their heads and shaking them like you would when playing with a puppy. "All right!" he repeats in his mild Texas accent. "You made it, man!"

"Who''s the fucking retard who sent us into that town?" Person asks, spitting a thick stream of tobacco juice, which catches in the wind and mists across the faces of several of his buddies standing nearby. "That sure tops my list of stupid shit we''ve done."

Trombley is beside himself. "I was just thinking one thing when we drove into that ambush," he enthuses. "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. I felt like I was living it when I seen the flames coming out of windows, the blown-up car in the street, guys crawling around shooting at us. It was fucking cool."

Culturally, these Marines would be virtually unrecognizable to their forebears in the "Greatest Generation." They are kids raised on hip-hop, Marilyn Manson and Jerry Springer. For them, "motherfucker" is a term of endearment. For some, slain rapper Tupac is an American patriot whose writings are better known than the speeches of Abraham Lincoln. There are tough guys among them who pray to Buddha and quote Eastern philosophies and New Age precepts gleaned from watching Oprah and old kung fu movies. There are former gangbangers, a sprinkling of born-again Christians and quite a few guys who before entering the Corps were daily dope smokers; many of them dream of the day when they get out and are once again united with their beloved bud.

These young men represent what is more or less America''s first generation of disposable children. More than half of the guys in the platoon come from broken homes and were raised by absentee, single, working parents. Many are on more intimate terms with video games, reality TV shows and Internet porn than they are with their own parents. Before the "War on Terrorism" began, not a whole lot was expected of this generation other than the hope that those in it would squeak through high school without pulling too many more mass shootings in the manner of Columbine.

But since the 9/11 attacks, the weight of America''s "War on Terrorism" has fallen on their shoulders. For many in the platoon, their war started within hours of the Twin Towers falling, when they were loaded onto ships to begin preparing for missions in Afghanistan. They see the invasion of Iraq as simply another campaign in a war without end, which is pretty much what their commanders and their president have already told them. (Some in the military see the "War on Terrorism" merely as an acceleration of the trend that started in the 1990s with Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo: America cementing its role as global enforcer, the world''s Dirty Harry.) In Iraq the joke among Marines is "After finishing here, we''re going to attack North Korea, and we''ll get there by invading Iran, Russia and China."

They are the first generation of young Americans since Vietnam to be sent into an open-ended conflict. Yet if the dominant mythology that war turns on a generation''s loss of innocence-young men reared on Davy Crockett waking up to their government''s deceits while fighting in Southeast Asian jungles; the nation falling from the grace of Camelot to the shame of Watergate-these young men entered Iraq predisposed toward the idea that the Big Lie is as central to American governance as taxation. This is, after all, the generation that first learned of the significance of the presidency not through an inspiring speech at the Berlin Wall but through a national obsession with semen stains and a White House blow job. Even though their Commander in Chief tells them they are fighting today in Iraq to protect American freedom, few would be shaken to discover that they might actually be leading a grab for oil. In a way, they almost expect to be lied to.

If there''s a question that hangs over their heads, it''s the same one that has confronted every other generation sent into war: Can these young Americans fight?

As the sky turns from red to brown in the descending dust storm outside the town the Marines have just smashed apart, their platoon commander, a twenty-five-year-old lieutenant named Nathaniel Fick, leans against his Humvee, watching his men laugh. Lieutenant Fick, a Dartmouth graduate who joined the Marines in a fit of idealism, shakes his head, grinning. "I''ll say one thing about these guys," he says. "When we take fire, not one of them hesitates to shoot back. In World War Two, when Marines hit the beaches, a surprisingly high percentage of them didn''t fire their weapons, even when faced with direct enemy contact. They hesitated. Not these guys. Did you see what they did to that town? They fucking destroyed it. These guys have no problem with killing."

Several Marines from Colbert''s vehicle gather around Corporal Anthony Jacks, a twenty-three-year-old heavy-weapons gunner. Jacks is six foot two, powerfully built, and has a smile made unforgettable by his missing two front teeth (shot out in a BB-gun fight with his brother when he was sixteen). The Marines'' nickname for him is "Manimal," not so much in tribute to his size but because of his deep, booming voice, which, when he yells, is oddly reminiscent of a bellowing farm animal. The platoon credits him with pretty much saving everyone''s life during the ambush. Of the four heavy-weapons gunners in the platoon, Manimal alone succeeded in destroying the enemy''s prime machine-gun position across from the mosque. For several minutes his buddies have been pounding him on the back, recounting his exploits. Howling and laughing, they almost seem like Johnny Knoxville''s posse of suburban white homies celebrating one of his more outrageously pointless Jackass stunts. "Manimal was a fucking wall of fire!" one of them shouts. "All I seen was him dropping buildings and blowing up telephone poles!"

"Shut up, guys! It ain''t funny!" Manimal roars, pounding the side of the Humvee with a massive paw.

He silences his buddies. They look down, some of them suppressing guilty smiles.

"The only reason we''re all laughing now is none of us got killed," Manimal lectures them. "That was messed up back there."

It''s the first time anyone has seriously raised this possibility: that war is not fun, that it might, in fact, actually suck.

In the coming weeks, it will fall on the men in this platoon and their battalion to lead significant portions of the American invasion of Iraq. They belong to an elite unit, First Reconnaissance Battalion, which includes fewer than 380 Marines. Outfitted with lightly armored or open-top Humvees that resemble oversized dune buggies, they will race ahead of the much larger, better-equipped primary Marine forces in Iraq. Their mission will be to seek out enemy ambushes by literally driving into them.

Major General James Mattis, commander of the First Marine Division-the bulk of the Corps'' ground forces in Iraq-would later praise the young men of First Recon for being "critical to the success of the entire campaign." While spearheading the American blitzkrieg in Iraq, they will often operate deep behind enemy lines and far beyond anything they have trained for. They will enter Baghdad as liberating heroes only to witness their astonishing victory crumble into chaos. They will face death every day. They will struggle with fear, confusion, questions over war crimes and leaders whose competence they don''t trust. Above all, they will kill a lot of people. A few of those deaths the men will no doubt think about and perhaps regret for the rest of their lives.

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Top reviews from the United States

Dan Berger
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wright depicts U.S. ground warfare with unremitting honesty and realism
Reviewed in the United States on July 6, 2016
This powerful book depicts American ground warfare in the 21st century with unremitting honesty and realism. Journalist Evan Wright embeds with a unit that becomes the tip of the Iraq invasion’s spear in 2003. First Recon is an elite Marine battalion, lightly... See more
This powerful book depicts American ground warfare in the 21st century with unremitting honesty and realism. Journalist Evan Wright embeds with a unit that becomes the tip of the Iraq invasion’s spear in 2003.

First Recon is an elite Marine battalion, lightly armored, trained to move fast out front of heavier and stronger troop concentrations.

What they aren’t told is the nature of their mission: with the Marines responsible for moving from Kuwait towards Baghdad through Mesopotamia, Major General James Mattis decides to use First Recon in a separate, parallel thrust – to draw fire and flush out the enemy that can then be pounded by the heavier forces.

They’re bait.

Wright portrays young fighting men in all their complexity and contradiction. Many can’t wait to go into battle. That’s understandable. It’s what they’ve trained for, and they’ve been waiting in isolation in a desert holding area for weeks.

But they will have to learn battle’s realities, which few have yet experienced: Seeing bodies blown apart. Confronting civilian casualties, which strike them harder than they expect – particular when the victim is a child. Living with their own errors when that happens. Dealing with their army’s errors, such as incompetent officers failing to procure necessary supplies. Officers who are martinets. Others who are deskers, suddenly called up but ignorant of basic combat procedure. Orders changed and changed again. It seems like every night the men dig in after an exhausting day, only to get late orders to change their position, forcing them to move and then dig in once more for the night.

Wright explores the personalities of the men he moves with most closely. Colbert, a sergeant nicknamed The Iceman for his unflappable cool, whose men have complete confidence in him. And who really, really likes Barry Manilow. Persons, Colbert’s driver, with a wacky sense of humor and a mouth he loves to run. Trombley, young, a new transfer in, wanting to prove himself but annoying his new comrades instead. Wright delves into their often dysfunctional family backgrounds. It’s the rare one who comes from a happy family with married parents.

They are a reasonably slick fighting machine. You see their uncut conversations, and how they get on each other’s nerves. You see unwavering loyalties that develop among combat comrades. You see men’s intense feelings towards the officers who hold their lives in their hands: positive towards those who have earned it, and contemptuous to those who fail to. Wright spares the officers the men most hate by using only their nicknames, not their real ones. And you see the wisdom in the military, since Vietnam, forcing journalists to commit to and stay with a single unit, rather than flit around the combat zone. Those like Wright who do so get to know them, get to know the realities they face, and are less likely to do hit-and-run journalism on soldiers whose life in the field and in combat most civilians can’t begin to imagine.

Wright walks a fine line here. Part of him wants to be a liberal journalist, the type who vomits discontent on Bush''s Iraq war, which he does in an afterword. The main book, though, much of it published as Rolling Stone articles in 2003 and 2004 – before liberals got that particular bit in their mouth – is nearly devoid of it.

The other part of him wants to describe accurately the Iraq invasion as seen by those who fought it, with more than a little sympathy for their viewpoint. Mostly, this second part wins.

The book focuses on the killing of civilians. The men of First Recon rarely fight pitched battles in an open field against a regular army. Far more often they can''t tell who''s shooting at them, although they try their best to make informed judgments about who’s hostile. And they can''t see clearly who''s approaching them, particularly at night, or discern whether they are hostile or not. Escaping Iraqi soldiers? Jihadis in plain clothes trying to get close for an attack? Or just civilians too scared to stop at a roadblock for anyone?

Our guys are variously exhausted, adrenaline rushed, numbed to combat, wired on stimulants, terrified, or on the receiving end of confusing and conflicting orders regarding their rules of engagement – who they may or should shoot at.

It’s a crapshoot every time they pull the trigger, Wright says, because there’s no telling how the deal will go down, how it will be interpreted later, what the situation that they saw through the fog of war, might really have been – and how they might be hung out to dry by Washington lawyers, the media and superior officers covering their own butts. (This situation has apparently got worse. There have been stories recently about officers in Iraq and Afghanistan having to wait during firefights for clearance from Washington lawyers before their troops can pull a trigger.)

Wright shows the damaging effects on morale when civilians are killed unnecessarily, especially children. The military, institutionally, is seen here working hard to avoid it for many reasons. Not everyone is on board. Some troops and officers take no care to avoid shooting non-combatants; you can see the dissension on the front lines as enlisted men caution a trigger-happy superior officer. They shouldn’t have to do that.

Wright makes clear that there’s no indiscriminate slaughter of civilians. Too many of the officers and enlisted men in every unit are struggling to avoid it. But he also shows the general havoc cut loose that does take a lot of civilian lives – that plus air war and artillery strikes that don’t distinguish between civilians and hostiles – and understands that the locals may fail to make this fine distinction.

And he’s honest with himself. One incident raises dissension within the unit: a machine gunner takes out what later proves to be camels and two teenage shepherds in a firefight. The men push their superiors to medevac the more seriously wounded boy, which, ultimately, they do.

Wright isn’t a combatant but he’s exposed to nearly all the danger his military comrades are. And he realizes he’s conflicted in his feelings about Trombley, the young soldier who shot the shepherds – not yet identified as such – on Colbert’s order:

“Something’s been bothering me about Trombley for a day or two, and I can’t help thinking about it now. I was never quite sure if I should believe his claim that he cut up those Iraqis in Al Gharraf. But he hit those two shepherds, one of whom was extremely small, at more than 200 meters, from a Humvee bouncing down a rough road at forty miles per hour. However horrible the results, his work was textbook machine-gun shooting, and the fact is, from now on, every time I ride with Colbert’s team, I feel a lot better when Trombley is by my side with the SAW.”

There’s a lot here for armchair pacifists and generals alike to think about.
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AFTop Contributor: Guitars
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Entertaining look at modern warfare
Reviewed in the United States on August 27, 2014
I found this book very enjoyable, and I''m a fan of the HBO series. There are some who seem to feel that the author is somehow denigrating the USMC, First Recon, or the US Military in general in this book, but I don''t find that to be the case at all. There is... See more
I found this book very enjoyable, and I''m a fan of the HBO series. There are some who seem to feel that the author is somehow denigrating the USMC, First Recon, or the US Military in general in this book, but I don''t find that to be the case at all.

There is always going to be some subjectivity in reporting like this. So much of it is based on Wright''s memory, etc. What I think this captures very well is the devastating nature of modern warfare and the logistical impossibilities of major military operations, especially when multiple branches are involved.

It is truly amazing that there weren''t more friendly fire deaths during this operation, considering the many close calls First Recon seemed to have. This book does not glamorize war, nor does it place an unfair moral burden on the young men tasked with the invasion of Iraq. It''s so difficult to generalize about a book like this. The enlisted marines come across as very brave, sometimes foolish, often conflicted, and very human. Officers get less coverage, and though the decisions of the higher-ups at times seem to border on the absurd, I feel that this book gives the reader the very real sense that the person giving the order is usually just the messenger, and that messenger may be at odds with what they''re expected to do.

Also, and perhaps most importantly, this book really gives a sense of how random and tragic modern warfare is. Civilians get killed constantly. I don''t see this as a reflection on the marines portrayed in the book - they are put in an impossible situation with regards to how to execute their orders while keeping themselves and their comrades safe, while accurately identifying military threats - but rather the nature of the modern war machine.

Politically, it doesn''t matter where you sit. Regardless of the Rolling Stone byline, I don''t think Evan Wright brought any particular agenda to the table with this book. It is not intended as 100% accurate history, but rather his perceptions of things as they happened. I found that I was in the position of rooting for the marines and for the safety of the innocents caught up in brutality, as well.
16 people found this helpful
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Timothy J. Clouse
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Honest account of combat
Reviewed in the United States on June 20, 2017
I believe the author provided a true account of the gulf war combat. I was not there. Some things I believe were slanted to the left side, but I believe he did a brilliant and honest job of talking about combat. At the ground level, you do not know what is really happening.... See more
I believe the author provided a true account of the gulf war combat. I was not there. Some things I believe were slanted to the left side, but I believe he did a brilliant and honest job of talking about combat. At the ground level, you do not know what is really happening. We throw young men and women into situations that are insane. They deserve our faith and commitment to them. The officers and POLITICIANS who order them, create the situations they need to survive, need to pay attention to books like these. Soldiers are neither stupid nor evil, the situations thEy asked to survive in often are. All honor to our armed forces.
6 people found this helpful
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BP
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Generation kill
Reviewed in the United States on March 5, 2011
This book had a strong impact on me in so many varied ways. It reads like a quick-paced thriller, a horror story, comedy, character drama and more, and all this while staying true to the facts of the first few weeks of the American invasion in Iraq in 2003. My... See more
This book had a strong impact on me in so many varied ways. It reads like a quick-paced thriller, a horror story, comedy, character drama and more, and all this while staying true to the facts of the first few weeks of the American invasion in Iraq in 2003.

My first contact with Generation Kill was the TV series I came across while researching war for a piece I was writing. The series and book differ slightly, although the difference is more in the manner of presenting things than in the core story. The two different representations actually complement each other as the book offers more backstory and the benefit of hindsight, while the series more accurately depicts the chaos and how the marines were left in the dark about their missions almost to the very end. While this chaotic storytelling was brilliantly incorporated into the series, it certainly wouldn''t work in the book so the narration being supported by maps and additional information was a good choice for it.

What this book does so well is that Wright doesn''t take sides (as much as that is humanly possible), he merely reports the goings-on around him as he travels with team one of 1st Recon second platoon. He''s equally frank about the marines'' having doubts when the ROE say that every human being is an enemy, as he is frank relating the darker, more disturbing traits of some of the men.

Perhaps the only ''fault'' of this book is that it''s so well written, has such compelling characters and fast paced plot that sometimes, as readers, we forget that it''s not fiction. Reading it as fiction would certainly take away form its value and importance.

Worth re-reading.
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Jordan M. Poss
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
You are there
Reviewed in the United States on July 23, 2008
Generation Kill is outstanding. Rather than a political diatribe, which most books on the Iraq War tend to be, Evan Wright has fashioned this book into a fast-paced, detailed, and moving portrait of the men who fight and die in this war. It''s one of the best combat memoirs... See more
Generation Kill is outstanding. Rather than a political diatribe, which most books on the Iraq War tend to be, Evan Wright has fashioned this book into a fast-paced, detailed, and moving portrait of the men who fight and die in this war. It''s one of the best combat memoirs I''ve yet read.

After embedding with the elite Marines of First Recon just before the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Wright rides with them through ambushes, firefights, and the seemingly endless desert. They meet crowds of waving, grateful civilians and Syrian jihadists desperate to experience war. Good men are wounded in ambushes and, most tragically, in a rear-echelon snafu involving nighttime minesweeping. Throughout, the thoughts and feelings of the soldiers around Wright are at the forefront. Not only do you find out what these Marines do and how, you find out what they think about it and why. This is one of a very few books in which I''ve felt like I was there.

The very best thing about this book, beyond the intimate knowledge it gives of what goes on in the minds and day-to-day lives of the soldiers in Iraq, is that it provides a ground-level view of what exactly it is like to fight--the subtitle''s "New Face of American War." The terror, boredom, pain, excitement, and relief to be alive are all here, sometimes replacing one another within minutes.

Wright also effectively depicts "the fog of war," the terrible inability to know who is the enemy. There are civilian casualties throughout the book, and Wright shows us why--eager soldiers fighting in an environment they have not been fully prepared for, where cars won''t stop for roadblocks and enemy soldiers don civilian garb to attack without warning.

What I especially appreciated about the book was that Wright keeps his own views on war in general and this war in particular in the background. In the afterword, new to the HBO miniseries tie-in edition, he alludes to being against the war, but otherwise one is hard-pressed to say where his sentiments lie. This book was written for the soldiers who Wright rode with and got to know so well during the invasion.

If you want to know what soldiers in the Middle East are living through, or even just who these young men are, Generation Kill is the book for you.

Highly recommended.
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Daniel Liles
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Better Than TV
Reviewed in the United States on September 19, 2020
Recommend highly. The book is much better than the HBO Series. And I like the series very much. I especially love the fact that Evan took the time to get the terminology right. It adds instant credibility to his story. Can’t wait to read more from Evan. Thank you.
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sneaky-sneaky
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Adrenaline, Caffeine, and Combat
Reviewed in the United States on August 18, 2006
Journalist Evan Wright was embedded with the Marines of First Recon at the spearhead of the Iraqi invasion. First Recon was used in an unusual manner during the Second Gulf War, their unarmored Humvees racing into suspected ambush points and showing up in unexpected places... See more
Journalist Evan Wright was embedded with the Marines of First Recon at the spearhead of the Iraqi invasion. First Recon was used in an unusual manner during the Second Gulf War, their unarmored Humvees racing into suspected ambush points and showing up in unexpected places in a strategy designed to keep the enemy off balance. Well that was the theory, the actual practice brings to mind all of the old acronyms like FUBAR and SNAFU. Wright''s account is not the politically-correct military version, but a gritty, exhausted, immediate, and dangerous odyssey interspersed by humor, unpredictable violence, and the gruesome sights and smells of the battlefield. There are very few combat accounts as well written.

Wright empathizes with his Marines, and manages to represent their opinions, philosophy, and character, thus bringing the book to life. "Generation Kill" also takes an unbiased look at leadership under combat conditions, particularly "Captain America" who was later investigated for war crimes. Evan Wright has succeeded in writing a brilliant, funny, and evocative book that was optioned by HBO for a miniseries.
7 people found this helpful
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
welcome to this generations war
Reviewed in the United States on September 7, 2008
I bought this book after watching the episodes on cable. I was pleased that the filmed episodes were accurate to the book''s accounts. The book itself was based on the experiences of an embedded reporter traveling with an advance unit of Recon Marines at the very beginning... See more
I bought this book after watching the episodes on cable. I was pleased that the filmed episodes were accurate to the book''s accounts. The book itself was based on the experiences of an embedded reporter traveling with an advance unit of Recon Marines at the very beginning the invasion of Iraq. A war that, sadly, we are still fighting, apparently with the same degree of confusion as when we started. In any case, or by any road, the experiences, and attitudes of the soldier seem to be universal, though this generation''s soundtrack seems to be rap & heavy metal, with a soupcon of country. What is interesting is that thanks to the methods of training used nowadays is that more soldiers seem eager and willing to kill, than in previous wars. Though the statistics show that there are still of fair number of returning vets who have a hard time dealing with the aftermath. I found the book to be interesting and engrossing, for any one unfamiliar with what it is like to be a combat soldier, this book should be illuminating.
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irishpropheticart
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A must read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 21, 2017
I like it but the book of the same title by Evan Wright(aka ''Beaver Hunt'' the Rolling Stones reporter) is an excellent book that develops the Marines characters better than the 3 discs do here.You learn more about "Godfather","Captain America" and the...See more
I like it but the book of the same title by Evan Wright(aka ''Beaver Hunt'' the Rolling Stones reporter) is an excellent book that develops the Marines characters better than the 3 discs do here.You learn more about "Godfather","Captain America" and the Marines from this book than the 7 pus hour HBO mini-series does it justice.Superb book!Fast reading,light,funny and playful.All bones were exposed,no punches pulled on 1st Recon,but that is what you want,you want the warts to go along with the beauty.Yin and Yang,black and white-they most be to have a complete picture of this unit,the Iraq War invasion and their role they played.The mini-series glosses over a lot or does not cover many stories from the book.Also suggested if you do read this great book read a companion book by "Hitman 2" himself Nathaniel Fick entitled "One Bullet Away". These two books together give you the complete picture.
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wilf
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I read this book a number of years ago from ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 20, 2015
I read this book a number of years ago from my local library and wanted to read it again. It is truly a classic warts and all look at the spearhead into Iraq. Basically kids being fired up on Adrenalin, loud testosterone inducing music and acting out a real life Call Of...See more
I read this book a number of years ago from my local library and wanted to read it again. It is truly a classic warts and all look at the spearhead into Iraq. Basically kids being fired up on Adrenalin, loud testosterone inducing music and acting out a real life Call Of Duty video game. But the reality of war soon hits home. This ain''t no American Sniper hero worship piece it is brutal, honest and realistic. There''s no 9 to 5 clocking in cards, rules of engagement or honor in War. It is packets of instant coffee to keep you awake, Call an air strike in if in doubt and a round from a 50 cal machine Gun will kill a man Woman or Child.
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Charles Vasey
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Solid reportage but the same old tune.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 3, 2008
Evan Wright embeds with the lightly-equipped (and Humvee mounted) First Recon whose job is to lead the US invasion to Baghdad. The men are the usual mixture of saints and sinners (often at the same time) for whom the USMC feels a vocation. They are shooting civilians one...See more
Evan Wright embeds with the lightly-equipped (and Humvee mounted) First Recon whose job is to lead the US invasion to Baghdad. The men are the usual mixture of saints and sinners (often at the same time) for whom the USMC feels a vocation. They are shooting civilians one moment and trying to save them the next. Wright is excellent at sketching the boredom of soldiering, the sudden jag of combat, and the long recovery from the combat high. If there is a villain in the piece of non-judgemental reporting it is the officers a number of whom (disguised by nicknames)are roundly criticised by the men and by the author. First Recon is an elite formation and its performance makes for an interesting contrast with "Ambush Alley".
2 people found this helpful
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BookwormEla
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Eye-opening
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 24, 2014
I don''t normally read books about the military, but this, which tells the story of a US Marine Recon unit advancing into Iraq at the first stage of the war against Saddam Hussein is fascinating and compelling. There are a lot of personalities, though some do stand out. It...See more
I don''t normally read books about the military, but this, which tells the story of a US Marine Recon unit advancing into Iraq at the first stage of the war against Saddam Hussein is fascinating and compelling. There are a lot of personalities, though some do stand out. It may be the most warts-and-all portrayal of the confusion and uncertainty and sheer hazardous undertaking of modern warfare, and Wright deserves credit for showing so clearly what these young men encounter, fear, and have to put up with.
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Joe
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 10, 2018
An extremely insightful look into the reality of the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003.
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