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Jarhead, a rather confusing account .....

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  • Jarhead, a rather confusing account .....

    I just finished reading Jarhead by Anthony Swofford.

    Based on reviews at Amazon, readers either love it of hate it.

    The author attempted to share with the reader what military life and war experiences were like for the soldier. As a story, it was poorly written. The chapters were disjointed and his accounts uninteresting. If one was expecting heroism and adventure from his 1st Gulf War experiences, look elsewhere. Having said that, the author was apparently honest about his role in the war. He played a bit role and said so. Apparently, this was a source of frustration for him.

    On recurring theme is his ambivalence about how he felt towards the USMC. He said several times he hated the USMC and that enlisting was a mistake. Unfortunately, even at the very end of the book, I was not able to discern what was the source of his hatred. Was it the short, unfulfilling war experience? Somewhat perhaps but he did not said so directly. Was it the routine? Was it the discipline?

    On the other hand, he paraded himself as very good marine, sensible and able to take whatever superiors threw at him. The notion "I am very good at what I am doing but I hate it" just did not sound convincing.

    Overall, a rather uninspiring read. However, it was not so bad that one would give before reaching the end. Perhaps, the author felt that he was being candid to write in the way that he did. If so, the intention was gravely let down by execution.

  • #2
    I thought it was dreadfully dull, and barely finished it. The fact the author never capitalized "Marine" tells you everything you need to know about how the author viewed the USMC. I can't even understand why he enlisted.

    I actually thought the movie, while not very good, was better than the book.
    Go is to chess as philosophy is to double-entry bookkeeping. - Nicholaï Hel in Shibumi


    • #3
      Some people say they hate their unit because they don't get along with authority, because everybody hates it, because a lousy commander made him hate it or just because it's cool and "everybody hates it".

      That doesn't mean they actually hate it, deep down inside they love it, they enjoy their experiences, they love their fellow soldiers, some of the commanders if not all, a unit is more then just a set of flags and symbols.

      Most guys I knew that "hated" the unit or "hated" the army wish with all their heart they could go back...


      • #4
        I didn't read the book, but I really disliked the movie.
        Armchair General Magazine
        Weider History Group


        • #5
          For a good read try the "Green Side Out" series of books by Duncan. The Corps can be funny and his books would make great movie(s).
          In Vino Veritas


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