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This book is a chronicle of one Marine’s time spent in Saudi Arabia and Iraq during the First Gulf War in 1990-1991. First off, when you got to Amazon and research whether or not you wish to buy this book do NOT pay any attention to the reviews there. The bulk of them come from people questioning whether or not he was a good Marine or a “sh@tbird” (a perjorative term used by Marines to describe those who are not as “ate up” as they think they should be).

I am a veteran of the First Gulf War who served in the United States Air Force. I was far enough back in the rear and late enough in the conflict that I did not face any combat or any real serious threat to my life other than driving in downtown Riyadh. In hindsight, I find out now that we might have been in more danger from domestic terrorists than we knew then, but that’s not really the point.

Anthony Swofford gives HIS account of his actions, his feelings, his surroundings and his memories of the conflict. Did he embellish one or two stories? Perhaps, but don’t we all when we recount something that happened to us almost a decade and a half ago?

If you want a riveting tale that reads very quickly and provides you an insight into the war you might not have from personal experience, pick it up.

Even as a REMF (rear echelon mother f*cker) who didn’t carry a gun during the war, I can certainly admit to being scared, confused, angst-ridden, and lonely during my months in the Desert. Swofford’s book definitely took me back.

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  • Eric Olsen

    thanks Cale, very interesting to hear about it from the perspective of one who was there – does any one story or element from the book stand out as particularly telling?

  • Eric,

    For the most part the whole book resonated with me. What really hit me was the fact that even though I was “safer” than Tony Swofford I still went through many of the same feelings and shared many of the fears he did. The isolation, real or imagined, was the most difficult part to deal with.