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Customer Review

TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 12 February 2004
The initial advert for this book highlighted that here at last was a book written by a US marine who could string more than two sentences together. Do not be put off by such badging of an intriguing inside story of a willing entrant to the US army's infantry forces who came from a military family, progressed to the sniper units which are the Marine's elite forces and then participated in the first and brief Gulf War.
What this book captures so convincingly is the sheer tedium of military life and the war for the footsoldiers involved rather than the Hollywood images that distort what really happens. In its early stages on early training etc the book is like the movie Full Metal Jacket in words, with the sheer brutality and discipline enforced to turn green recruits into soldiers on autopilot when required but often unable to turn that skill off, especially when getting into fights on leave or after leaving the forces.
Where this book neatly twists the normal soldier's tale and in so doing exceeds one expectations is how it communicates the growing disillusionment of the writer as time passes. Whether it is getting screwed over what the recruiting sergeant told him versus what military life is really like and the actual Gulf War where apart from one brilliantly described secret surveillance mission, the prior time spent in the desert preparing and the complete absence of using his sniper skills during the fighting, blow away the action image conveyed by the media at the time.
One suspects not too many comparable books of such quality will emanate from the more recent and longer second Gulf War
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