The Highway War: A Marine Company Commander in Iraq

Overview

****Winner of the 2007 Military Writers Society of America's Gold Medal Award for "Best Memoir"****

The Highway War is the compelling Iraq War memoir of then-Capt. Seth Folsom, commanding officer of Delta Company, First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps. Mounted in eight-wheeled LAVs (light armored vehicles), this unit of 130 Marines and sailors was one of the first into Iraq in March 2003. It fought on the front lines ...

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Overview

****Winner of the 2007 Military Writers Society of America's Gold Medal Award for "Best Memoir"****

The Highway War is the compelling Iraq War memoir of then-Capt. Seth Folsom, commanding officer of Delta Company, First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps. Mounted in eight-wheeled LAVs (light armored vehicles), this unit of 130 Marines and sailors was one of the first into Iraq in March 2003. It fought on the front lines for the war’s entire offensive phase, from the Kuwaiti border through Baghdad to Tikrit.

Folsom’s thoughtful account focuses on his maturation as a combat leader—and as a human being enduring the austere conditions of combat and coming to terms with loss of life on both sides. Moreover, The Highway War is the story of a junior officer’s relationships with his company’s young Marines, for whose lives he was responsible, and with his superior officers. Folsom covers numerous unusual military actions and conveys truthfully the pace, stress, excitement, mistakes, and confusion of modern ground warfare. The Highway War is destined to be a Marine Corps classic.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Folsom] describes both the war and its lead-up in detailed prose free of exaggeration and self-importance. [The book’s] style makes The Highway War extremely valuable for Marines and other warfighters who might soon be engaged in combat. Folsom’s descriptions of the engagements that occurred when Delta eventually met the enemy are masterful. This book abounds with lessons for junior leaders as the author showcases the effectiveness of simple maneuvers and battle drills executed to standard. The rawness of Folsom’s recollections, which range from prosaic descriptions of desert garrisons to his coming to terms with killing in combat, makes The Highway War a worthy successor to a series of memoirs that have sought to capture war as an experience…[It] is a great read for those interested in Operation Iraq Freedom or looking for an unpolished war story."

“…a useful illustration of the personal challenges that small-unit leaders face in modern combat…this volume would be a solid addition to the library of any junior combat arms officer.”

“ . . . this is a fascinating memoir. . . .Maj. Folsom’s book is both an exciting read and highly recommended.”

"Expeditionary Warfare School instructors--and others looking to learn about modern combat--should study The Highway War. Major Seth Folsom's memoir about his command of Delta Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, is the finest account of infantry combat in the 2003 push to Baghdad that you'll ever read. . . . Members of the military, particularly Marines, should not miss this gem. . . . Several of his combat scenes rank with the finest war prose penned, right up there with Folsom's literary hero, William Manchester. Accounts at The Elbow and The Tunnel of company- and platoon-level combat should be studied by future tacticians looking to ready themselves for war in the months and decades to come. . . . [Folsom] is gunned up, buttoned down, and crossing the LD in full attack. Read it, and enjoy the snapshot of the fight with Delta's Dragons."

"The Highway War'sextraordinary contribution to the Iraq War literature lies deeper than the details of the battle for Baghdad as described first-hand from the armor of 1st LAR’s vehicles--it is found within the armor of company commander Folsom’s heart and mind. This is a rare, insightful account of a Marine officer privately wrestling with life-and-death decisions, and coping with his personal vulnerabilities, while publicly presenting the hard-charging persona his Marines come to depend on in combat."

"A great leadership text, this story is about the new Marine Corps that rides into and conducts firefights on wheels as compared to our old way of walking forever. Folsom relates detailed real-life challenges and situations at the cutting edge in combat. He makes the point well that as human individuals we are subject to self-doubt and mistakes while yet moving forward as a combat leader of Marines."

"Seth Folsom’s The Highway War is a classic on the challenges of commanding a company of Marines. The book honors them and him, and it will help other officers understand the trials and glories of leading Marines."

"Well-written."

". . . .there is no more demanding and challenging job than to command a company in combat. . . .Seth Folsom's The Highway War captures this experience better than any other book I have read in many years. It is a volume that not only superbly details the challenges and difficulties of commanding a company in combat, but captures the true human dimension of war. . . .one of the best glimpses of the human dimension of war that you will ever read."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781574889888
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/30/2006
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Maj. Seth W.B. Folsom, USMC has a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in South Asian national security affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School. He is from Dumfries, Virginia.
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2008

    A reviewer

    This book is a great depiction of what happened in Iraq and I recommend this book to everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2006

    Seth is a dirt bag

    Seth way over extends himself with this book. He was the biggest disappoint of a company commander I ever witnesses and I have had two others since I deployed with him to Iraq. He writes this as if he was the best thing since sliced bread and guess what.. he wasnt. Dont waste your time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2006

    Couldn't put it down

    I am not typically a reader of non-fiction war books, but ¿The Highway War¿ really held my interest throughout. I was hoping to get a little glimpse into what some of the soldiers endured in Iraq. This book did just that as it tugged on every emotion. Major Folsom does an outstanding job of allowing the reader to get into the head of a Marine Commander as he is making life/death decisions. I really enjoyed the honesty and frankness as sleep deprivation and the pressures of combat take their toll on the mind. It was interesting seeing Major Folsom's growth as a leader. The detail is excellent. I highly recommend ¿The Highway War¿. Rob Saracino (Lindenhurst, NY)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2006

    Moving book

    This is a well-written book by a Marine who genuinely gives a damn about his men. As a Marine who served in Iraq this book brought back many of the memories of serving in combat, many of which I had forgotten about. As I read the book it was like reliving many of the trials and triumphs, I guess, all troops experienced. A great read not only for service members but also for anyone who is interested in knowing first-hand what it is like to serve in a war in the 21st century.

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