Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War [NOOK Book]

Overview

When Lieutenant Matt Gallagher began his blog with the aim of keeping his family and friends apprised of his experiences, he didn’t anticipate that it would resonate far beyond his intended audience. His subjects ranged from mission details to immortality, grim stories about Bon Jovi cassettes mistaken for IEDs, and the daily experiences of the Gravediggers—the code name for members of Gallagher’s platoon. When the blog was shut down in June 2008 by the U.S. Army, there were more than twentyfive congressional ...
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Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War

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Overview

When Lieutenant Matt Gallagher began his blog with the aim of keeping his family and friends apprised of his experiences, he didn’t anticipate that it would resonate far beyond his intended audience. His subjects ranged from mission details to immortality, grim stories about Bon Jovi cassettes mistaken for IEDs, and the daily experiences of the Gravediggers—the code name for members of Gallagher’s platoon. When the blog was shut down in June 2008 by the U.S. Army, there were more than twentyfive congressional inquiries regarding the matter as well as reports through the military grapevine that many high-ranking officials and officers at the Pentagon were disappointed that the blog had been ordered closed.

Based on Gallagher’s extraordinarily popular blog, Kaboom is “at turns hilarious, maddening, and terrifying,” providing “raw and insightful snapshots of a conflict many Americans have lost interest in” (Washington Post). Like Anthony Swofford’s Jarhead, Gallagher’s Kaboom resonates with stoic detachment and timeless insight into a war that we are still trying to understand.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Military Review, March/April 2011
“Insightful, colorful, and at times irreverent…An excellent snapshot of a junior officer embroiled in a counterinsurgency fight…An exceptionally engaging read.”

Entertainment Weekly Online, 4/7/11
“Simultaneously blisteringly funny and dead serious.”
 

Smoke, April 2011 “A sardonic, unnerving, one-of-a-kind Iraq war memoir…Kaboom resonates with stoical detachment from and timeless insight into a war that we are still trying to understand.”
 
Cleveland Plain Dealer, 5/13/11
“Gallagher's writing is raw and uncensored, and also very good. In the midst of a war we're still struggling to understand, it's a privilege to understand very well at least one person's part in it.”

WomanAroundTown.com, 6/5/11
“Irreverent, terrifying, and very humorous, Gallagher’s book will make some people angry, and will validate the suppositions of others.”

Bangkok Post (Thailand), 8/14/11
“Gallagher’s compelling work…offers the reader an unfiltered, brutally honest look into the life of a young lieutenant struggling to bring some semblance of security and stability to a very unsecure and unstable place.”
 

PortlandBook Review, 9/17/11
“Gallagher’s unbridled candor recounting his time in Iraq is shocking, frightening and at times, deals with the mundane rigors of army life, but is ultimately to be commended…A compelling read… Kaboom allows the reader to ride alongside an officer’s day to day life in a war zone.”
 
SmallWarsJournal.com, 9/19/11 “Gallagher’s Kaboom, simply stated, will likely be remembered as the quintessential memoir of his generation’s combat experiences, particularly in Iraq.  Not only does it successfully combine the finest authorial innovations of blogging with finest aspects of traditional memoir writing, but it easily and slyly avoids the traps of each as well.  It is unabashedly self-centered and self-aware, but manages to sound anything but self-absorbed.  It is full of pop culture references, clever writing, and the cynicism that accompanies his generation without sounding for a second like it is contrived or flimsy. In a word, his work is authentic, a rendering of wartime experiences that has been experienced by nearly his entire generation of warriors but has not been matched by his generation of writers…Mostly, though, this is just a beautifully written book that speaks for many who share Gallagher’s experiences.”

Blogcritics.org, 2/13/12 “Gallagher pins down the modern-day experience of war and its maze of contradictions…A gutsy, keenly observed tale.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306818981
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 3/23/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 370,573
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Matt Gallagher
Matt Gallagher joined the U.S. Army in 2005 and received a commission in the armored cavalry. Following a fifteen-month deployment in Iraq, Gallagher left the army in 2009. Originally from Reno, Nevada, he now lives in New York City.
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Table of Contents

Maps ix

Intrologue xi

I The Red, the White, and the Emo: (or American Boy Escapes) Winter 2007-2008 1

II Embrace the Suck: (or Narrative of a Counterinsurgent) Spring 2008 57

III iWar: (or The Lost Summer) Summer 2008 123

IV Across the River and Far Away: (or Redemption's Grunt) Autumn 2008 191

V Stepsons of Iraq: (or A Short-timer's Promenade) Winter 2008-2009 239

Exit Strategy 289

Acknowledgments 293

Index 295

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2009

    Kaboom

    Extraordinary insight, intellect and brilliant writing. Every man and every woman who went to War in their youth will appreciate. Every man and every woman who has sent a son or daughter to War will appreciate. Every person who is interested in counter insurgency warfare will appreciate. Every citizen who ponders our Country's involvement in Iraq will appreciate. Every person over the age of 35 and who is charged with supervising individuals under the age of 30 will appreciate.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    KABOOM

    This book is fantastic. it is splendidly written and could inspire even the most hard of people. I strongly recommend it to anyone who loves to read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    Great Book

    Matt Gallagher wrote a geat book, I couldn't put it down. Well written, very insightful and of sourse funney at times.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    If you haven't been there, you can't know

    I've been in the military or supporting the military for 30 years. Never faced combat, and COIN operations are perhaps the most unsettling form of combat.

    This was a reminder that I've helped, but never been there, and helped me put my efforts back into perspective.

    Best read an essay or two at a time, with plenty of reflection opportunity.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2010

    Brilliant

    Kaboom is the Iraq book we've all been waiting for. Part Vonnegut, part Heller, part new generation irony and sarcasm. The kid is a good platoon leader but a great writer. Deployed to the Surge, leading men into combat - this episodic-style memoir allows the reader to enjoy the ride. We bear witness to a platoon break down and build back up in the midst of bullets flying. We bear witness to all the insanity and brutality only a combat zone can offer. And we bear witness to a privileged college kid transform into a consummate leader of men. Recommend it to anyone and everyone interested in the murkiness of the human experience.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2013

    This isn¿t an action story, this is the FUBAR story of the milit

    This isn’t an action story, this is the FUBAR story of the military told by someone who really gets it. I enjoyed his perspective of the war and the U.S. Army. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 9, 2013

    This started as a blog for family and friends and it has that gr

    This started as a blog for family and friends and it has that great authentic voice of frustration. The voice is genuine and the events at time hilarious and teeth grinding with annoyance. It’s real military and a great blog turned book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    Good book

    This book was lost on me at times. I found I had trouble keeping up sometimes. I am happy I read this book as I was pleasantly surprised to find myself laughing during some of the stories. I would recommend. An even better war book is The Good Soldiers.

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  • Posted September 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Iraqi war through eyes of a platoon leader

    The author, Matt Gallagher, became a member of the army through the ROTC program (Reserve Officer Training Corps) and had no interest in war. While Matt was living his life of freedom, the war raged in Iraq placing many of our military in danger. He really didn't give it a second thought. When the time came for Matt to go to Iraq, he had been partying in Hawaii trying to keep Iraq far from his mind and his life but the inevitable time came and he had to leave his life of fun with his friends, family, and his girlfriend. He was a Lieutenant and would be in charge of men that he had to take into war, something he never thought would exist in his life. The platoon he was given was named the "Gravediggers", a choice name for a war unit! Matt got along well with his platoon of enlisted men of various ranks. He did not socialize since this was supposed to be taboo in the military between officers and enlisted men but they all worked together as one. Matt describes a brief history of the area along with the ties and struggles between the various factions of Iraq. Some of the platoon's activities required visiting the sheiks in their homes/palaces as well as sitting in meetings using the Iraqi interpreters. Much of the time the army platoons intermingled and worked with the Iraqi army, most of that time having to use interpreters. While on patrol they all had to be extremely cautious having eyes on every area near and distant as they moved or when they stopped for various reasons. There were three grades of officers; company grade officers, field grade, and general officers, all of which had to be dealt with in different ways. One never knew if a superior officer was visiting or just being nosy, so caution was used all around. Officers gave the orders, and, even if they sounded out of whack, they had to take some action to obey those "superior" officers orders. Matt never liked most of the high brass. The platoon patrols traveled, as ordered, down the roads and other areas to keep peace with civilians, check reported explosives (some actual but usually false reports), give candy or other goodies to the children that were always asking for them, and in general try to keep things as calm as humanly possible. No one in the military knew from one minute to the next, whether in their safer compound or on patrol, when they would come under fire or run or walk over an explosive. One of the biggest problems our military had was lack of sleep. Their patrols began before they could get proper rest when action got too volatile. Of course the food left much to be desired. Matt Gallagher had fifteen hard months to serve in Iraq, mostly in active zones. The army tried to talk him into upping his enlistment but Matt wanted no part of this, thus taking him off of advancement lists. But he still was upped to Captain during his patrol but Matt was not content unless he was active with his men no matter which platoon it may have been. Matt had written his own blog but the military made him take it down as he wrote things as they really were, not as the brass wanted people to think. That was the main reason Matt wrote this book after his army life was over and could tell things the real way he saw it in Iraq. When patrols are described you will feel as though you were on them wondering to yourself what would happen next. Very well told and written, containing some language we might not use in our daily life.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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