Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Review via Goodreads - Generation Kill by Evan Wright - An Unarmored View of the Iraq War

Generation KillGeneration Kill by Evan Wright

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

When Rolling Stone correspondent Evan Wright covered Operation Iraqi Freedom, there could be no unit more appropriate to embed with than the 1st Marine Reconnaissance Battalion. Through Generation Kill” he shows that RECON Marines possess the strange dichotomy of all specialized forces, superior skill born of disciplined training that simultaneously breeds a machismo that is adolescent and irreverent. The units’ unsurpassed professionalism was displayed as they adapted to mission sets that were never intended for RECON – mechanized “movement to contact” in unarmored HUMVEES. The Marines dealt with these demands through comradeship only accessible to those who endure combat together, with the relief valve of dark humor, and at times, open castigation of their flawed superiors.

Wright is able to bring this view after two months riding with RECON from Kuwait to Baghdad and back again. He chronicles firefights and respites, heroism and jingoism. The whole story is raw, showing flawed and sometimes inept decision makers, and the impact of civilian casualties on the RECON Marines psyche. The reader emerges with great sympathy and respect, and a deeper understanding for the Marines’ service – the difficult decisions and personal sacrifices made in the most horrific of environments.

It should be noted that Generation Kill has a companion HBO mini-series and that the platoon’s CO, Nathaniel Fick, also wrote a memoir entitled One Bullet Away. All three paint a mutually supporting picture of RECON’s actions in Iraq.
Generation Kill is recommended as an important firsthand account of the earliest stages of Iraqi Freedom, to include foreshadowing of the longer war to come. It is a must read for anyone considering service in the Marine Corps, especially in the infantry or RECON battalions.

Generation Kill the book, mini-series, and One Bullet Away can be purchased at

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