'Once we passed the checkpoint at the border, it hit me.
I was like, Holy Shit, this is it, I'm entering a combat zone.
Cool!' At twenty-six Colby Buzzell, unemployed and living at home, decided to join the US Army.
Within months he was in Iraq, a machine gunner in the controversial Stryker Brigade Combat Team, an army unit on the cutting edge of combat technology and the first of its kind.
Trapped amid 'guerrilla warfare, urban-style' in Mosul, Iraq, Buzzell was struck by the bizarre and often frightening world surrounding him.
He began writing a blog describing the war - not as being reported by CNN or official briefings - but as experienced by the soldier on the ground. His story is a brutally honest and hard-hitting account of the absurdities of modern war.
These are the real stories of the war: a firefight where the resistance came from 'men in black'; a night spent chain-smoking in the guard tower counting the tracer bullets being fired over the city; and the hesitation of a young soldier who had been passed around from platoon to platoon because he was too afraid to fight.
My War is a powerful story of a young man and a war, unlike any you have read before.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 416 pages
- Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
- Publication Date: 13/02/2006
- Category: Autobiography: historical, political & military
- ISBN: 9780552154376
- EPUB from £4.99
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Review by Philogos
Having picked up a used copy of this one from a charity stall, I hadn't intended to read it immediately but got sucked in and finished it ahead of the other two or three books I was half way though. I won't say that I couldn't put it down but I didkeep picking it up.The book has three particularly appealing elements. The first is the description of the trajectory of military life. This fairly reflects my own experience as a (more or less) peacetime conscript of long periods of total boredom followed by short bursts of insanity.The second element is the way it reflects the American attitude to the Iraq war. Buzzell is there on the spot and trying to find out what for himself what it is all about but the only Iraqis he can talk to are the interpreters risking their lives to help the US forces. All credit to him for the insight he gains given this handicap.The third, and most interesting aspect of the book is the insight into Buzzell himself. He comes (one presumes) from a middle class family but has opted out of the materialist ethic to become a punk rock fan and skater so when he gets onto the army the surprise is more how well he fits in than the fact that he gets into trouble for his blog. Fascinating.A random thought after finishing the book is what light this throws on Vietnam where one has the impression that things were even tougher than in Iraq. In any case, I've just ordered a copy of his later book, "Lost in America". Let's see what he did for an encore...