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Paperback Jarhead : A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles Book

ISBN: 0743287215

ISBN13: 9780743287210

Jarhead : A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

In his New York Times bestselling chronicle of military life, Anthony Swofford weaves his experiences in war with vivid accounts of boot camp, reflections on the marines, and remembrances of battles with lovers and family. When the U.S. Marinesor "jarheads"were sent to Saudi Arabia in 1990 for the Gulf War, Anthony Swofford was there. He lived in sand for six months; he was punished by boredom and fear; he considered suicide, pulled a gun on a fellow...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Uncommon perspective of the Gulf War

A very interesting book, which depicts the Gulf War from a not-so-common perspective, the view of a marine that had more problems than the war itself. I read it in two days, could not take my eyes off the book.

Shock and Awe!

What a timely read! Anthony Swofford revisits his days as a sniper in the Marine Corps, and takes us along with him from boot camp to Operation Desert Storm. The language he uses, and stories he tells may shock a naive reader, but to anyone looking for an up-close-and-personal from one who was there, this tale is awesome. If you want more of an in-depth interview than Ted Koppel interviewing some career army colonel who is all spit and polish, check out the message that Marine Lance Corporal Swofford sends home. Swofford pulls no punches. He describes the physical brutality of boot camp, and the hardening of eager, young, lovelorn souls into battle-ready killers. Before being deployed to Saudi, his troop enjoys its final days Stateside watching Hollywood war movies meant to shock liberal, peace-loving Americans on two coasts. Instead, the young jarheads (haircuts high and tight!) eat it up, whooping and hollering to Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter and the sort. They "watch the same films and are excited by them, because the magic brutality of the film celebrates the terrible and despicable beauty of their fighting skills. Filmic images of death and carnage are pornography for the military man."Once in the desert, one feels it. Swofford describes in detail what it is to live with sand in every crevice of one's body, to sweat all day in a useless chemical suit, to be assigned the task of disposing of the latrines. The importance of constant drilling, of staying sharp, of cleaning a gun countless times each day pay dividends...later they learn how poorly the Iraqi regulars maintained their weapons. But for the long stay of many months before battle the drudgery seems endless. The psychological impacts are many. The pain of separation from family and friends; of the desertion of girlfriends, wives and cheating lovers; of fear and uncertainty mounts exponentially. Swofford makes it abundantly clear how dangerous it is to take very impressionable young men, to hype them up into killing warriors, to deprive them of basic humanities, and isolate them in god-forsaken parts of the world for months on end. It's quite a recipe. I laughed out loud at his story of the "Any Marine" letter writing. Swofford has a natural ability to drop the reader into a panoramic and colorful scene. You'll feel you're in his foxhole, endlessly shoveling the collapsing sand alongside him. The dialogue is rough and tough. And real. He isn't just any jarhead, he's the company "scribe". He's the guy reading Nietzsche and Homer. This is his Iliad. I recommend you read it now. It's a terrific companion reader to the talking heads cluttering your TV today.

The Marines are the Marines....get over it.

Anthony Swoffords's memoir, Jarhead, is a no holds barred, unblemished, and unvarnished picture of what the Marine Corps is really like. If you're looking for a made for TV or Hollywood version of the Marines or the Persian Gulf War, don't read this book. Swofford's story is up front and accurate. After reading Jarhead you may understand the Marines a little better. Behind the spit shined shoes, polished brass, and crisp uniforms is an organization that is demanding and organization that is difficult to undertand by many insiders. The brutality the Marines face everyday among their own is part of the experience. And Mr. Swofford captures it perfectly.Even with some of the Corps blemishes exposed, I wouldn't take anything for my experience with the Marines. At 54 I recognize that they gave me the tools to carve out a successful life. And I'm not the only one that would make that comment. Anthony Swoffords descriptions of life in and around a battlefield is some of the best descriptive prose I've read. The hellish descriptions of burning oil wells, tanks, personnel carriers will make you feel gritty........If you're a former Marine or a combat veteran you'll want to read this book. You'll recognize the truth of it.Semper Fi

I was 3/7 STA and this book is spot on

I served in the other Scout/Sniper platoon that was part of Task Force Grizzly, STA 3/7. Later I joined STA 2/7 for a brief time and got to know Cpl. Swofford as much as anyone could whose sole purpose at that point was liberty on the beaches of southern California.I bought this book as soon as I heard about it and finished the last page seven hours later. It brought back so many feelings and memories that I couldn't have written it any better. Swofford captured the paradox of war as well as any book I'd ever read. Not many Marines talk about their love/hate relationship with the Corps outside of our circle and he related this sentiment remarkably well. His analysis of the difference between combat marines and the rest of the Corps sounded like recent phone calls between me and my buddies. If you want to know what war is REALLY about, the day to day uncertainty, fear, boredom, glee, hate, love, and insanity, the BS of politics, incompitant brass leadership, then this book is for you. This isn't some rah rah book written by some REMF pogue either. Patriotism may get you to the front but your buddies will keep you alive so you can make it back home.W.Scott Albertson

Irreverent, vulgar & WONDERFUL

It's not often that I read a book straight through but Anthony Swofford's "Jarhead" is riveting. Vulgar, disturbing and brutally honest, the book rings true on every page. It seems that Swofford held nothing back, describing how he wet his trousers while under artillery fire and contemplating suicide at one point. As a former Marine who served when America was fresh out of Vietnam and still licking its wounds, I can attest to the authenticity of the very rough culture that the author describes. I now know, however, how it was to suffer for seven months in the Desert, protecting an unappreciative host, the suspicion that their lives were on the line for "fat cats" and their oil (any names come to mind?) and the frustration of gearing up for a major offensive only to stand down after the ground war ended so quickly. The author has given America a look into the lives of the lower caste grunts who have always, and probably always will, do the fighting and dying for our country, the people who don't have college, grad school and hefty salary offers as an option. We're treated to a raw and true-to-life glimpse of the lives of the boys who are on the cutting edge of our war machine...the under educated blokes from dead end towns and the inner city, the macho world of testosterone, youth and a good dose of USMC ingrained bravado.Certain images Swofford describes are hard to forget...the desecration and photographing of burned Iraqi bodies, the first sergeant lecturing against the evidently common practice; the severe pummeling of a dead friend's belligerent peers, on the night of his funeral in his old hangout; the trysts of unfaithful wives, sneaking lovers (insult of all insults...Boots right out of training) into base housing at night while their men are stuck in the Desert, desperate to know what she's up to; the pitiful grasping for a relationship with any female back home, no matter how tenuous or imagined; the heart breaking, overly exalted status assigned to the first few letters addressed to "Any Marine" in the Desert; the loneliness and alientation experienced as an almost anonymous grunt in the Fleet Marine Force...epitomized when a Hawaiian friend he lifts weights with tells Swofford to stop being so friendly and smiling all the time. This is life in the real Marine Corps!At times Swofford comes across as somewhat condescending in terms of his opinions of his fellow Marines. That's to be expected from an intelligent, observant and sensitve writer. He clearly was destined for better things and "Jarhead" attests to that. The images he evokes and the atmosphere he paints are lucid, gritty and eye opening. This isn't the dress blues of the recruiting posters but the sweat, hardship and sand-in-every-orifice life of the men on the front lines, chomping at the bit to get into action. "Leatherneck" magazine publishes articles on how it wants the world to view the Marines. "Jarhead" is how it really is out there in "the Fleet." I wouldn't recommend t
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