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Fobbit [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

David Abrams , David Drummond
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

10 Sep 2012

Fobbit 'fä-b t, noun. Definition: A U.S. soldier stationed at a Forward Operating Base who avoids combat by remaining at the base, esp. during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2011). Pejorative.

Staff Sergeant Chance Gooding works for the army public affairs office and spends his days tap­ping out press releases to try to turn the latest roadside bomb into something the public can read about while eating their breakfast cereal. He is most definitely a Fobbit.

Fobbit takes us into the cha­otic world of Baghdad's Forward Operating Base Triumph. The FOB is the back-office of the battlefield - where the soldiers eat and sleep between missions, and where a lot of Army employees have what looks suspiciously like an office job.

What goes on at the FOB doesn't exactly fit the image of war that the army and the government want to portray: male and female soldiers are trying to find an empty Porta-Potty in which to get acquainted, grunts are playing Xbox between missions, and most of the senior staff are more concerned about getting to the chow hall in time for the Friday night all-you-can-eat seafood special than worrying about little things like military strategy. But, as Staff Sergeant Gooding finds out, things can very quickly spiral out of control even in this seemingly protected environment.

Based on the author's own experiences serving in Iraq, Fobbit is like Catch-22 and M*A*S*H, in fusing dark humour with pathos to cre­ate a brilliantly witty and profound work about life in the modern-day war zone.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media Inc; Unabridged edition (10 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452609551
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452609553
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 16.6 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

More About the Author

David Abrams served in the U.S. Army for twenty years, and was deployed to Iraq in 2005 as part of a public affairs team. His stories have appeared in Esquire, Narrative and other literary magazines.

Product Description


"As funny, disturbing, heartbreaking and ridiculous as war itself" (New York Times Book Review)

"Brilliant and excruciating" (Patrick Hennessey The Times)

"Abrams has a definite comic talent and a lively turn of phrase" (Sam Leith Guardian)

"[Hilarious]... It is the rare writer - indeed, the rare person - who can step outside of himself and see with cold clarity the humor and pathos of his situation and then bring the reader to the same understanding. David Abrams is such a writer" (Karl Marlantes, author of Matterhorn)

"Fobbit blends fiction and journalism, an apt reflection of literary influences combined with [Abrams's] experience in an Army public affairs team... Though absurd, these Dickensian characters are all so skillfully wrought that we quickly accept their idiosyncrasies... What's most intriguing about this work is that, at its center, it is both a clever study in anxiety and an unsettling expose of how the military tells its truths" (The Washington Post) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

'The Iraq War's answer to Catch-22' Publisher's Weekly

A Notable Book of the Year - New York Times Book Review

One of's Top 100 Best Books of 2012

Shortlisted for the LA Times First Novel Award

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not perfect 3 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was really looking forward to this book.
It largely gives the view of the war from the point of the various logistics, operational and support personnel who pass their entire tour in Iraq within the confines of a Forward Operating Base (thus, they are FOBbits). There is a great deal of humour in the terrified existence of these people, who live in terror of ever being ordered to leave the safety of the heavily defended FOB. Unfortunately, this sometimes descends in farce and outright parody, without the finesse of Catch 22 (with which this book is often compared).
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you didn't laugh you'd cry ... 12 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a darkly comic book about the sanitized side of life on a US Forward Operating Base in Iraq - 'in the war, but not of the war'. Staff Sergeant Chance Gooding Jr - a Public Affairs Fobbit with his 'pale, gooey center' - tries not to go mad as he renders into corporate-speak the horrors taking place on the other side of the wire. There are some obvious parallels between Gooding and Catch 22's Yossarian, although there is also one crucial difference: the former doesn't run the risk of a grisly demise every time he gets up in the morning. Like all the Fobbits, Gooding is all about keeping his head down - an inglorious, undignified position which makes for great satire. Having served in a similar environment myself, I can relate to the strange mixture of boredom and fear that festers in the FOB - although it's classed as fiction, Fobbit rings very true. An important, funny, thought-provoking book.
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By K. J. Noyes TOP 500 REVIEWER
For me, the best books about war are either deeply tragic or deeply funny. Birdsong, All Quiet on the Western Front, Schindler's List - can move you to tears and leave you feeling the horrors of battle, of victims, of the waste.

On the flip side, Catch 22, Slaughterhouse Five and now Fobbit all show us the absurdities of war, as well as the atrocities. You feel that you are granted the right to laugh, but it doesn't make the situation itself any less tragic.

Fobbit is great. I really liked Catch-22 and as I was reading, felt this could be called the modern equivalent. We have several narrators, each with their own take on the Iraq conflict. The Fobbit of the title is Gooding, a desk jockey. Fobbits are thus called because, like Hobbits, they keep their heads down in their Hobbit/Fobbit holes in Headquarters, doing paperwork in Forward Operating Base (FOB) and not venturing out into the field, earning condemnation from their battle-hardened fellows. Gooding writes press releases after soldiers are killed. He wants to keep his head down and get back home.

As does Abe Shrinkle - out in the field but a terrible company commander. Shrinkle hoards care packages and is an accident waiting to happen. No respect, no leadership ability.

Other narrators tell their stories, in the field, in the relative safety of the FOB, adding to the picture of barely disguised, organised chaos and PR trickery.

It should be a tragic tale but is frequently laugh-out-loud funny and very well composed. I loved Abrams' witty use of language and character to convey the vivid impression of the Fobbits in their air-conditioned trailers and the 'grunts' out in the field, as well as the piranha-like media constantly after an appetising story of death and destruction.

Definitely should be considered as part of the canon of blackly humorous modern war novels.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Catch 22 of the Iraq War 23 Dec 2013
By PeterS
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have some experience of the Middle East and American military bureacracy so this black comedy rings very true.
The ridiculous and the deadly are intertwined.
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5.0 out of 5 stars For fans of MASH 3 Nov 2013
Very funny book and also poignant. Highly recommended and in a similar vein to MASH. If you had suspicions that the military had problems like any other large organisation, this could be the book for you.
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