"f-word" and its many variations, synonyms, and scatological relatives 50 times a page (or at least it seems that frequent). Swofford appears distressed at what he has become and explores this with insightful and turbulent angst. A military brat and a starry-eyed soldier-worshipping teenager, he enlisted in the marines, then became disillusioned and ideologically confused, by turns murderous, suicidal, hardened, uplifted, capable, and grandiose, in pain, sensitive, deadened. This memoir comes across as a cathartic baring of the soul, accurate and unsparing in detail. The author returns from the war and encounters fellow marines who were unbalanced by it all, the enemy being not so much the conflict itself but the military establishment and the endless brutality. The war doesn't start until the fifth of six tapes, with almost no attention paid to the international and political developments that led to it. During the flicker of war, the marines have almost no contact with the Iraqis except to encounter their mutilated bodies. The "jarheads" experience friendly fire as well as enemy missile bombardment-the exhilaration and terror are both described in emotional detail. As a reader, Swofford rushes right along, a young voice with flat sincerity and conviction, adding to the impact of the work.-Don Wismer, Cary Memorial Lib., Wayne, ME Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Author of "Any Human Heart"A scathingly honest and bleakly powerful book. A hugely disturbing insight into the minds of the very young men who long to go to war.
Author of "Odysseus in America" and "Achilles in Vietnam"This memoir is not pretty -- but veined with beauty. It is as outrageous, irreverent, funny, and obscene as an Aristophanes comedy, and as rich in pain and moral understanding as the "Iliad." Anthony Swofford: remember this name.
This is a book that smokes and screams in your hands. With a sniper's cold and unforgiving eye, Swofford has found the nexus between nihilism and language, a language ripped, homegrown, American-made, trashy and lyrical and bold. He hits the troubling, difficult mark again and again in this remarkable memoir. Brash, honest, and most unnerving, "Jarhead" delivers coruscating and unpleasant truths about war and warriors.
War journalist and author of "Triage and The Man Who Tried to Save the World: The Dangerous Life and Mysterious Disappearance of Fred Cuny"Swofford's "Jarhead" is not just the finest memoir to emerge from Operation Desert Storm but one of the most honest and compelling accounts of men at arms in a generation. With a keen eye and biting wit, Swofford has rendered the true face of the battlefield -- what it looks and sounds and tastes like -- as only one who has been there can. In an age when politicians are again talking about good and just wars, "Jarhead" should be required reading for all those who would believe them.
Author of "No Heroes: A Memoir of Coming Home""Jarhead" tells us why boys go to war and how they return as men, told by someone who truly knows the perils of battle -- a decorated veteran of the Gulf War. Anthony Swofford's courageous and lyric prose is matched by a searing personal honesty that will break your heart with its compassion. He reveals the inner life of a marine from boot camp to bombardment, to victory and peace. Like all great memoirs of war, humanity is at stake instead of politics. Anthony Swofford entered his adult life as a warrior, but has emerged as an artist of the highest order. This book is a great achievement. Everyone should read it.
A witty, profane, down-in-the-sand account of the war many only know from CNN, this former sniper's debut is a worthy addition to the battlefield memoir genre. There isn't a bit of heroic posturing as Swofford describes the sheer terror of being fired upon by Iraqi troops; the elite special forces warrior freely admits wetting himself once rockets start exploding around his unit's encampment. But the adrenaline of battle is fleeting, and Swofford shows how it's in the waiting that soldiers are really made. With blunt language and bittersweet humor, he vividly recounts the worrying, drinking, joking, lusting and just plain sitting around that his troop endured while wondering if they would ever put their deadly skills to use. As Operation Desert Shield becomes Desert Storm, one of Swofford's fellow snipers-the most macho of the bunch-solicits a hug from each man. "We are about to die in combat, so why not get one last hug, one last bit of physical contact," Swofford writes. "And through the hugs [he] helps make us human again." When they do finally fight, Swofford questions whether the men are as prepared as their commanders, the American public and the men themselves think they are. Swofford deftly uses flashbacks to chart his journey from a wide-eyed adolescent with a family military legacy to a hardened fighter who becomes consumed with doubt about his chosen role. As young soldiers might just find themselves deployed to the deserts of Iraq, this book offers them, as well as the casual reader, an unflinching portrayal of the loneliness and brutality of modern warfare and sophisticated analyses of-and visceral reactions to-its politics. (Mar. 4) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.