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Joker One: A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood Paperback – 31 Dec 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press; Reprint edition (31 Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812979567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812979565
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 844,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"[A]beautiful and harrowing debut...Campbell unspools blow-by-blow accounts of his unit's patrols from street level. The fuzzy radio transmissions, the roadside bombs laid by faceless enemies, the dust-filled, hand-trembling confusion - it all comes dizzyingly alive.....By the time the platoon finally returns home, exhausted, scarred, and with fewer men than they set out with, Campbell's admiration for his men has become contagious. It's only then that you realize that""Joker One isn't as much a story of war as it is a story of love. A"--"Entertainment Weekly ""Donovan Campbell, first as a Marine and then as a writer, shows us that the dominant emotion in war isn't hatred or anger or fear. It's love. His story stands as a poignant tribute to his men-their courage, their dedication, their skill, and their love for one another, even unto death. This is a deeply moving book."--Nathaniel Fick, author of "One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer ""The arrangement known as embedding-the almost complete immersion in the movements and life of a military unit....is seldom available to nonjournalists. But [Joker One] is its literary equivalent....[Joker One] should be read by all those who have ever wondered what conclusions they would have drawn about the Iraq war if they had been dropped into the middle of the conflict."--"New York Times Book Review ""Nobody but a soldier knows what war is really like, but the next best thing may be reading Donovan Campbell's Joker One."--Star-Telegram, Ft. Worth "Takes you into the heart of combat and into the soul of a young Marine lieutenant....Beyond the colorfully described chaotic battle scenes, beyond the noble warriors who populate the book, what sets Joker One apart is its unsparing honesty."--"Journal-Sentinel, "Milwaukee "Joker One is the real goods, what Hemingway called 'the true gen.' The classic military story: one platoon leader, the men of his platoon, and the impossibility and>

About the Author

Donovan Campbell graduated with honors from Princeton University and Harvard Business School, finished first in his class at the Marines' Basic Officer Course, and served three combat deployments-two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon and a Bronze Star with Valor for his time in Iraq. He is now working for PepsiCo and living in Dallas, Texas, with his wife and daughter. "From the Hardcover edition."

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Ramos on 5 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a first person account of a U.S. Marine Infantry Platoon leader whose platoon ended up serving a tour of duty in Ramadi, Iraq. We are introduced to the author as he transfer from a HQ intelligence job to a front line combat infantry position where the lives of men will be his responsibility. It was surprising o me after reading this account how ill prepared our Marines were for combat...yet they still performed s we would expect of a U.S. Marine.

When Lt. Campbell is given his transfer to his infantry platoon it is woefully understaffed and as they get orders for deployment new and green men right out of boot camp are sent to fill out the ranks. So his platoon is did not have the opportunity too get the bonding or training one would expect of a combat unit before deployment. This first hand telling let's us see the daily stress and learning curve that a infantry platoon Lt. has to go through in a U.S. base and in a combat zone and how the responsibility of the men are always on his shoulders. You also see the truism of how important good non-commission officers are.

As they are deployed and we read Campbell's retelling of their deployment in Iraq we can almost feel the times of stress and relief he went through. And how you go from knowing you will go home to assuming you are already dead so the stress is lessened. You can also tell how dedicated he was to his men and his resolve to try to get everyman home and still perform their duty to the best of their ability...always with the thought of upholding the honor of the Marines. This look inside what actually happened in a city where some of the fiercest battle took place. If you were not deployed yourself, thank God that these men volunteered for service. This is a very good memoir of a front line Marine and I am glad I was able to read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Cronin VINE VOICE on 10 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
Donovan Campbell writes a straight and true story about his tour of Iraq, and in particular the troublesome and explosive city of Ramadi. This is not a story of valour, patriotism and noble deeds (though you will find them in the book). Instead this is a gritty and honest account of how soldiers work, live and fight together and about the bonds than strongly tie them together. Campbell, an officer, honestly discusses his worries and concerns about being a leader of men. He tells us about the quirks, foibles and characters of his men, letting you realise that these are normal men who are not doing a normal job.

Campbell does not take us into the politics of the Iraq situation, but he does raise interesting questions. How do American marines operate in a tense and explosive city while trying to maintain friendship and civility with the local population? How do you handle civilians in a firefight situation? These are the dilemmas of modern, urban warfare which Campbell and his men had to face.

This is a book that is deserving of reading - whether you are pro-America in Iraq or not. You will learn about the challenges and trials faced by ordinary men on the ground. They live in cramped, uncomfortable quarters and they work in a deadly job. Whatever your political affiliations are, you have to admire the men. That is the strength of Campbell's story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Miland Joshi on 30 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is a true story of a group of soldiers engaged in some of the fiercest battles in Iraq, told from the perspective of a young officer. It is about sustained virtue in the face of danger, exhaustion, violence and death, day and night, for months. It shows how much easier most of us have things. Politicians may make serious mistakes, but many of the soldiers they order into harm's way may be fine people indeed, much better than the ones we have heard about at Abu Ghraib.
This is an impressive account, which may well become a classic of writing about the reality of war. Highly recommended.
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Picked this one up on a recommendation, but I've read a lot of Iraq War memoirs, and was expecting this one to be a bit same-y for me. It wasn't. In the first 80%, it was a solid, attention-holding, well-told tale of one platoon's experience of spiralling stress, doubt, danger, and casualties. The tactics and details are very interesting, the scenes of combat are (increasingly) harrowing - and there are good doses of the sometimes silly, sometimes ribald, usually inimitable humour that deployed personnel rely on to get themselves through. The author himself can be very amusing - and, just occasionally, he shows flashes of poetry in his sensitive observations of the wrenching world of war. So far, so good.

But, when their tour is drawing to an end, and LT Campbell reflects on all they've done and seen together - and concludes, totally compellingly, that everything that he and each of his Marines has done over the endless days across those terrible months was all done... completely out of love... well, it's transforming. Both to the story, to the reader, and obviously to the author. It's a war memoir about the transformative power of love, and it's totally lovely.

And, finally, on the very last page, when he lined up to pay his respects to the mother of the wonderful young man who died under his command, while trying to save badly injured Iraqi children... and all his carefully rehearsed platitudes about what a hero her son had been stopped in his throat, and he started to weep piteously and could only say, over and over again, was "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry"... well, this reader and reviewer bawled like an infant.

It's that powerful and affecting.
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