Anthony Swofford has managed to bring to the reader all the excitement and boredom of modern ground warfare. The 'hurry up and wait' factor that is common to the British Army is brought out in this individual account of a nineteen year old scout-sniper of the US Marine Corps. It is full of the black opinionated humour that to an outsider portrays the foot soldier cannon fodder as people who are simple disfunctional, sexist delinquents! They are not, they just don't live in a regular nine to five environment and have their own idea of what humour is and where it can be found - that's anywhere! Swofford has allowed the reader a look at the grim world that appears to be full of extremes but between the lines lies the comradarie, where out world politics are nothing to the buddies who you know are prepared to lay down their lives for you - and you them. I was co-located with the Marines and heard the story of the infidelity video and what happened to some of the camels, and Marines who went crazy from heat and boredom. Friendly fire (Blue on Blue in soldier talk) happened to everyone, only civilians get really upset. Swofford reminds me of Nerve & Biological tablets taken (or not), the sound of artillery and bombs, and the alerts to incoming threats. Also the loneliness and the waiting. Reading Jarhead should bring some understanding to the view that nothing is ever clear until the dust settles. This book is a must for anyone who would like a serious view of what makes the modern US war veteran tick.
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