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House to House: A Tale of Modern War Hardcover – 17 Sep 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (17 Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847370896
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847370891
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.9 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 415,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'If there is a better book conveying what it is like to take part in a brutal, violent, urban battle, I've yet to read it . . . Stunning' -- James Holland, Sunday Telegraph

'One of the best accounts of close quarters fighting of our time . . . disturbingly good'
-- The First Post website

'Some of the most ferocious hand-to-hand combat I have ever read . . . Like Mark Bowden's classic account, Black Hawk Down' -- Financial Times

From the Inside Flap

On the night of November 10, 2004, a U.S. Army infantry squad under Staff Sergeant David Bellavia entered the heart of the city of Fallujah and plunged into one of the most sustained and savage urban battles in the history of modern warfare.

With Third Platoon, Alpha Company, Bellavia and his men confronted an enemy who had had weeks to prepare, booby-trapping houses, arranging ambushes, amassing weapons, rigging entire city blocks as explosives-laden kill zones, and even stocking up on atropine, a steroid that pumps up fighters in the equivalent of a long-lasting crack high. Entering one house, alone, Bellavia faced the fight of his life, against six insurgents, using every weapon at his disposal, including a knife.

Bringing to searing, visceral life the terrifying intimacy of hand-to-hand infantry combat, House to House is far more than just another war story. Populated by an indelibly drawn cast of characters, from a fearless corporal who happens to be a Bush-hating liberal to an inspirational sergeant-major who became the author's own lost father figure, it develops the intensely close relationships that form between soldiers under fire. Their friendships, tested in brutal combat, would never be quite the same. Not all of them would make it out of the city alive. What happened to them in their bloody embrace with the enemy is a harrowing, unforgettable story of triumph, tragedy and the resilience of the human spirit.

If the Second World War belonged to the generals, Iraq belongs to the sergeants, corporals and privates. Iraq is a platoon's war. Nobody has seen more of it than Staff Sgt David Bellavia. House to House is not a political book about the rights or wrongs of the invasion of Iraq: it is simply one of the most searing and heart-stopping stories of any soldier in any war.


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Verspeak VINE VOICE on 4 Jan. 2008
Format: Hardcover
I've read quite a few accounts be soldiers of life in war zones, including Somalia, Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, and WWII Europe. This account of fighting with the infantry in the streets of Fallujah, Iraq, is not the deepest philosophically, but definitely the most gripping in the intimacy and detail of its description of the action.

We don't hear much about the motivation of the soldiers involved on either side or how the invasion of Falujah came to be deemed necessary in the first place. we are left in no doubt though that once the battle was joined it was bloody and intense.

Combat is described in frank and sometimes gory detail. Many war authors are content to tell us simply that the enemy was killed. Bellavia tells us exactly how they were killed, whether they screamed or cried, were disintegrated by an explosion, or eaten by dogs once they were dead. Not for the faint hearted.

The lack of background and concentration on the specifics of violence does not make this a shallow story. I found myself caring more even for the insurgents that are killed than for any other opposing forces I have read about. And even though we don't learn much about the US soldiers fighting their way around the city, their lives in the US before or after the war, it is still heart-breaking to hear about them being wounded or killed. It has the attention to detail of Black Hawk Down but a much faster pace.

It also makes it clearer why the insurgency against allied forces in Iraq has only gathered pace in the intervening years. Fallujah was not an isolated incident of a few dozen men fighting each other. It was a full scale obliteration of an entire city, leaving a mark on the country and the minds and bodies of those involved that will never heal.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. Robertson on 11 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
I think this is a great book. I also found it very moving. It is not pretentious; nor does the author claim to offer any great insight into the nature of the battle other than through his direct, brutal, uncomfortable honesty. That honesty packs one heck of a punch.

What the book made clear to me is that no amount of smart weapons / firepower replaces the ultimate, (and for me at least) horrific, fact that this often boiled down to man versus man. It is indisputable that the Americans had overwhelming firepower, technology and manpower but this book makes clear that facets of this battle came down to soldiers' bravery (on both sides). It left me very reflective.

It also conveys the ferocity, barbarity and disjointed nature of modern war fighting as well as the ridiculous BS these teeth-arm troops face even within their own army. His email address had me chuckling. The book also has a total lack of: 'I joined the army went here, here and here and then did this that and the next thing'. That is not a criticism of those kind of army life story books it is just refreshing to see one that deals almost totally with a concentrated period rather than that period being the 'highlight' of the book. Here the battle and its aftermath really is the book.

This would be a great book for those who believe war sterile and for those who look at the decisions made in those wars from their armchairs and believe those men and women on the ground should have done better.

Thoroughly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Severn on 20 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
I have read quite a few modern warfare books and this one must be in the top five, alongside Generation Kill, Sniper One, Black Hawk Down and The Circuit. What this book brings to the reader is a story that is absorbing and intense from the start and even more so at the end. There are hardly any dry parts with the usual background history of the author or his soldiers, nor any over detailed strategy plans and politics. Instead it's all raw and heart felt action that leaves you feeling at the end as emotionally drained and dirty as they do after their intense fighting in a foreign and hostile country. Highly recommended - It's a fast paced book that you will devour in a couple of days.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Mullane on 10 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
This book deals almost in it's entirety with SSgt Bellavia part in the US lead assault on the rebel held Iraq city of Fallujah. What a synopsis cannot hope to express is the reality of urban warfare that Bellavia and his platoon underwent during the army's 20 days of fighting. The authors portrait of the grime & dirt of war, which would be familiar to soldiers of any age, and the effect of modern weaponry has on the friable human body is deft and at times brutal. The book does not delve into the reasons for the conflict , though the authors express a clear moral, rather Manichean, world view of them being the "irreverent revenant" vs. the terrorists. What clearly strikes a reader is the intense and moving bond that is cemented in SSgt Bellavia squad when facing life threatening situations and how courage under fire was expressed. This would be a good companion to Keenan's "The Face of battle". My minor quibble would be that the civilian population's plight is barely mentioned. Recommended reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard64 on 31 July 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have not finished this great book on modern warfare but i must(for the first time)write a review.5 stars as i have been reading military books since the early 70s and this is one of the best.I'm more interested in WW2 but bought this new from a cheap bookshop in town.I've just recently got into modern combat with our boys in Afghanistan on the news most nights.Well worth the time and money.
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