No, it's not for everyone.
This best book of Iraq military memoirs, Irishman in Iraq, chronicles author Paul Graham's experiences in post-war Iraq when democracy struggled and death was always a possibility. It's not a tale of blood and guts, breath-taking heroism, or daring in the face of insurmountable odds-it's a story of a life-changing journey. Irishman in Iraq lays bare the behind-the-scenes efforts of an often maligned and misunderstood group of warriors who live in tents, many times without comforts, as they strive to educate Iraqi locals in police training so they can defend themselves, and others. Veterans of former cultural conflicts, many of Graham's mercenary colleagues served their countries as soldiers, police officers, or both, many approaching middle age. Yes, they put their lives on the line for the promise of good wages, but also for the adventure-the once-in-a-lifetime chance to set foot on soil others only hear about without understanding of its true nature. Graham draws back the curtain, exposing the secretive world of the private security operative, including the bitching and backstabbing.
He contends Irishman in Iraq is likely to draw complaints from the modern-day mercenaries who prefer and choose to remain cloaked in shadows. In mystery.
"Too bad," Graham comments, acknowledging their discontent. "This is a 'warts and all' book-the backstabbing, intrigue, in-house politics, and general nonsense-nothing is sacred." Graham's book spills the beans, and strips naked the allure of being a mercenary-a soldier of fortune-and, he's proud of his contribution to a society and culture grappling with change.
Graham knew his reflections of experiences in war-torn Iraq would be his legacy to his children and grandchildren. Even on days when he was exhausted by 120˚ F. heat, he journaled each day's events for he knew its potential as a book-not a glossy, boastful snapshot, but something real. Honest. Earthy.
You'll live alongside the British and U.S. armies, traveling and spending time waiting in strange places. You'll learn what the Iraqis think about issues, their lives, and adjusting to life under foreign occupation. In the middle of relationships with co-workers, you'll learn how they soured quickly for trivial reasons. You'll understand that guns for hire are no longer overthrowing banana republics-they're taking up slack for governments needing experts on short notice for dangerous places.
At its core, Graham's book is a tale about a fish out of water.
It's a story of an Irishman in Iraq.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is the "warts and all" account of the author's time spent in post-war Iraq as a Private Security Contractor training the reconstructed Iraqi Police Service. You get down to the nitty gritty of life in an army camp in the desert wastelands of Southern Iraq and the motley group of international adventurers who answered that call. Not much death, very little glory apart from his campaign medal, but as a memoir of that place and time you get to go on that journey with him on a series of decisions that changed the course of his life. Well worth checking out if you are into military memoirs and events that are fast becoming history.