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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Penned by a once-AWOL Marine reservist and college philosophy washout who spent countless hours ruminating over Kierkegaard and Plato in Minneapolis-area coffee shops, Joel Turnipseed's unnerving memoir doesn't exactly qualify as your typical soldier's story. That said, Baghdad Express offers readers a unique, eye-opening, often comically off-kilter look at his experience as a Marine in the first Gulf War.
Soon after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, Turnipseed was yanked from his coffee-shop reverie and soon found himself in Saudi Arabia, carting truckloads of explosives and ammo across the desert. As a member of the Sixth Motor Transport Battalion -- dubbed the "Baghdad Express" -- Turnipseed was a part of the greatest logistical operation in the history of the Marine Corps, but his service was defined more by wrong turns and roadside breakdowns than by anything deemed heroic.
In direct, unflinching prose, with the aid of numerous illustrations by Brian Kelly, Turnipseed conveys the utter tedium and inanity of much of modern-day warfare. But more important, his service in Operation Desert Shield becomes a laboratory of sorts in which he discovers that many of his philosophical absolutes groan under the weight of his newfound military experience and, ultimately, collapse with his acceptance of the flawed humanity we all share. (Summer 2003 Selection)