An Angel from Hell: Real Life on the Front Lines

An Angel from Hell: Real Life on the Front Lines

by Ryan A. Conklin


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An edgy, gripping report from the front lines by a young veteran and cast member of The Real World: Brooklyn

Ryan Conklin enlisted in the Army at age seventeen, following 9/11, and joined Angel Company. As a turret gunner with the famed 101st Airborne "Screaming Eagles," and a member of the famed "Rakkasans" regiment-the most decorated regiment in the U.S. Army-he endured hellish conditions in the war-torn city of Tikrit, Iraq.

When he returned to the States, he became a cast member on The Real World: Brooklyn in 2008. That came to an end when he received his notice recalling him to duty.

An Angel from Hell is a gritty, blunt, and laugh­out-loud funny war memoir from the grunt's perspective. Conklin reveals what the Iraq war is really like, day to day-the misery, the boredom, the absurdity, the horror, and even the moments of grace. With stunning candor and wisdom beyond his years, Ryan Conklin has documented a complex and unavoidably life-changing experience for his generation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425233948
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/06/2010
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range: 18 - 17 Years

About the Author

Ryan A. Conklin is a US Army veteran, former reality-show star, author, and lecturer. He was born in Michigan and grew up in Gettsyburg, Pennsylvania. He joined the US Army after the events of 9/11, and spent more than three years as an infantryman in the 187th Infantry Regiment (Rakkasans), part of the 101st Airborne Division. In 2009, he became a cast member of the MTV reality series The Real World: Brooklyn, during which he was recalled to active duty in Iraq and eventually promoted to the rank of seargent. He chronicled his military service in his 2010 memoir, An Angel from Hell—which detailed his first deployment from 2003–2006—and again in the 2009 documentary The Real World Presents: Return to Duty, which portrayed his second tour of duty. When not traveling across the country as a speaker to college students, he lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

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An Angel From Hell: Real Life on the Front Lines 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
IndySkye More than 1 year ago
An Angel From Hell is a personal narrative of a soldier's year long deployment to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In structure, tone, significance, and the impartation of understanding of the real lives of military men, the book is very reminiscent of the classic WWII memoir Guadalcanal Diary, by Richard Tregaskis. Ryan A. Conklin has written a new classic, capturing a piece of the American struggle in Iraq, so that future generations can learn some of what transpired there, and how actual soldiers in the field felt and lived and did their duty for their country. It is the story of the author, a not-uncommon young man who is unsure of his future goals after high school and ends up joining the Army. He is the boy next door, who impassioned by the events of 9/11 makes the serious decision to enlist and hopefully take some ardent retribution to the enemy. He is sent to Iraq and soon learns that there is much more to being a soldier in that inhospitable place than what his training back in the States had taught him. He learns about the reality of a different culture and a different people, along with the new lessons on fear, carnage, and yes, loss of friends. With the constant and implicit support of his buddies, Conklin completes his time in Iraq, but once at home is forced to realize that he can never fully leave it behind. As way of coping with the experiences he has endured, Conklin writes this book, and fortunately for readers, provides an understanding of what life was like being both a soldier and just a regular guy who happened to be in uniform in Iraq. In the telling of the events that occurred in Iraq, Conklin creates a documentary feel to it. His writing produces imagery that can create a mental impression that you are with Conklin as he goes on patrol in his Humvee, rides a Black Hawk, or sees Baghdad for the first time. Conklin becomes the narrator and you see what his eyes would have seen. Noteworthy is the fact that Conklin doesn't focus on only a few "exciting" moments with which to fill his book. Such an excerpt would not be an accurate portrayal of the soldiers' lives. Instead, Conklin includes a comprehensive representation of all aspects of their experience. The most important thing that Conklin relates to the reader though is his thoughts and feelings that he experienced at the time of the events, not from some retrospection at the time he wrote the book. This provides great insight into the mind of the soldier, to understand what they felt as the events occurred. And about the feelings of the author, the reader quickly begins to empathize with them. It's clear that the author has a lot of heart and so is a sympathetic character. Most people should be able to put themselves in his shoes and compare how they might feel in similar situations. There is the stressful apprehension of waiting for an IED to occur and the tears and anger after the death of a comrade. Throughout, Conklin aptly shows the human in the uniform. Conklin writes, "On most Sundays, we held family gatherings. This gave me, my brother, and our cousins continuous adventures in my grandparents' endless acres of woods, while we abandoned the adults who sat inside and talked. The girls would pretend they were princesses and the boys all played Army in the woods. Little did I know that all of us who played Army would eventually join the Army and play it for real. None of my female cousins became princesses."
gvsulins More than 1 year ago
This book was well written. Ryan allows us to come into his own life from the day he stepped foot on base for deployment until the day he stepped foot back on American soil. It is written from the veiwpoint of an American soldier. When reading this book it is like you are sitting across from Ryan himself carrying on a converstaion about his time spent overseas. You are not reading a book that just says "and this happened in Iraq" by some guy that has never been over there and has only heard it as hear-say. If you want to see what it is like overseas from the eyes of a soldier who is not afraid to say it how it is then this is a good book to read. I hope that when I say this there are others as well that agree with me but, thank you for your courage Ryan and all the other soldiers who are overseas now, were overseas, are going to be going overseas, and to thank the most those who lost their lives fighting for freedom. God Bless
GlennBell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I appreciate the frank analysis of the everyday life in Iraq as a infantry man and Ryan's common sense approach to dealing with the stress. Ryan did a nice job with the book by making it interesting, humorous, insightful, and truthful. I am glad to hear that he seems to have overcome some of the trauma caused by his experience in Iraq by writing the book. I hope his second tour of duty goes well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing, funny, detailed. I am a huge fan of ryan and this book makes me love him even more! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just not very interesting.
cderlo More than 1 year ago
Ryan Conklin does a wonderful job portraying his experiences as a grunt in the U.S. Army while serving in Iraq. Throughout the book, he describes his firsthand accounts of what serving in Iraq was like. From the base he was at while in the states to the barren desert-like land of Iraq, Conklin takes you on a personal journey of everyday life in Iraq, Conklin takes you on a personal journey of everyday life in the military. What I took out of this book was the brother-like bonds that are formed between Conklin and his buddies; their unique way of being friends and supporting each other through good times and bad. It truly is like no other bond. Even though their job wasn't always fun and exciting, they did it knowing that in some way or another they were helping out and doing their part. Conklin showed extreme patriotism to join the U.S. Army right after the happening of 9/11. What I liked about this book was Conklin's style of writing. He is a first time writer but barely shows that. His writing is not hard to understandand gives us more of a journal type of writing. He makes every situation he is in easily understandable and filled with detail of his surroundings. Reading what he wrote was almost like being there and actually seeing what he was describing. There isn't any negative part about this book. If you're looking for a good account on someone's personal experience in a war zone then this is your book. Conklin does an excellent job in doing everything he can to give you a good look into life in a war zone. If you like books like this then I also recommend checking out Donald F. Myers and his accounts on Vietnam. Overall this book was great and couldn't have been any better. 5 out of 5.
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Christine Larsen-Britt More than 1 year ago
I am hoping that he writes a follow up. Ryan takes you inside what our young enlisted are going through.
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