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Jarhead

Book Review

 

Title:

Jarhead

Author:

Anthony Swofford

Publisher:

Scribner, New York,  NY

ISBN:

0-7432-3535-5

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

July, 2003

Rating:

1/2

Jarhead is a perspective on combat in the Persian Gulf as told by Anthony Swofford, a former member of a U.S. Marine  Corps Surveillance and Target Acquisition / Scout Sniper platoon. This is a hardcover book of about 255 pages.

JarheadThe  telling of this tale is almost in an X-Generation format. Swofford doesn't pull any punches as he describes what the Marines went through leading up to combat in the desert. In addition to finding out what it takes to get through basic  training and sniper school, the problems of a military career, and the pressures that life places upon the serviceman's dependents, he leads us through the cost  of prostitutes throughout the Pacific Rim as well as the teenage sex lives of  most of his platoon.

While I kept waiting for the combat part of this book to begin, the idea struck  me that because the war was so short, there would be little actual combat action in an individual tale from the Gulf War. This story does not disappoint the reader since the author was involved in several heavy firefights that became major battles of this campaign. Sadly for the reader, the war ends much too  quickly and the troops are rotated home. Throughout the story, Swofford also  relates what happened after the war to many of his Marine Corps buddies.

Although it seems that much of this story is uncensored and harshly truthful,  this level of realism is best recommended for mature and not-so-sensitive readers. Nothing in this tale is sugar-coated, and some of the stories would be comical if only they didn't appear to be ever so true. With these things in mind, this is an excellent story of frontline action by scout / snipers in the Gulf War and highly recommended for anybody wanting to get up close with the fighting  man.

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