The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier's Account of the War in Iraq

The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier's Account of the War in Iraq

by John Crawford


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John Crawford joined the Florida National Guard to pay for his college tuition-it had seemed a small sacrifice to give up one weekend a month and two weeks a year in exchange for a free education. But one semester short of graduating, and newly married, he was called to active duty-to serve in Kuwait, then on the front lines of the invasion of Iraq, and ultimately in Baghdad. While serving in Iraq, Crawford began writing short nonfiction stories, his account of what he and his fellow soldiers experienced in the war. At the urging of a journalist embedded with his unit, he began sending his pieces out of the country via an anonymous Internet e-mail account.

In a voice at once raw and immediate, Crawford's work vividly chronicles the daily life of a young soldier in Iraq-the excitement, the horror, the anger, the tedium, the fear, the camaraderie. All together, the stories slowly uncover something more: the transformation of a group of young college students-innocents-into something entirely different.

In the tradition of Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried , this haunting and powerful, brutal but compellingly honest book promises to become the lasting, personal literary account of the United States' involvement in Iraq.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781573223140
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/04/2005
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.74(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.89(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Patrick Lawlor has recorded over three hundred audiobooks in just about every genre. He has been an Audie Award finalist multiple times and has garnered several AudioFile Earphones Awards, a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, and many Library Journal and Kirkus starred audio reviews.

What People are Saying About This

James Crumley

The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell is a savage, gritty, and compelling work that reveals the true cost of the Iraqi Adventure, the price paid by young soldiers. It's not about heroism, but about heroic endurance against the desert, the war-torn neighborhoods, and the lies of their commanders, lies that will echo the rest of their lives. It's a major account of the Iraqi War, without pretense, without an axe to grind, and without complaint. A story about the heart of all wars - not politics, not principles, not money - your buddies. I was touched and overwhelmed.
—(James Crumley, author of One to Count Cadence, The Last Good Kiss and The Right Madness)

James Frey

This may well be the last true story John Crawford ever tells, but it's enough. He has written a vital book. Vital because we need to read it, vital because it reveals some truths about the war in Iraq that we have not seen, the human truths of young men waging war, vital because it's honest, raw and alive. It's a heartbreaking and perversely beautiful book that should join Catch-22 and The Things They Carried as this generation's defining literary expression of men at war.
—(James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard)

Gabe Hudson

This book blew me away. Powerful, haunting, hilarious, searingly honest, and shot through with all sorts of sorrow and rage and grief. It reminded me a little of Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, but the truth is you've never read anything quite like this before. Mr. Crawford does a beautiful job of conveying the modern infantryman's torn heart, and our nation's war literature is richer by one outstanding book. Thank you, Mr.Crawford.
—(Gabe Hudson, author of Dear Mr. President)

David Amsden

Crawford's writing pulses with urgency, and, gloriously, his story of being an American soldier in Iraq is shattering and relentless. Most chillingly for us readers in our early twenties, Crawford's story universalizes the accidental way in which this war has affected us all.
—(David Amsden, author of Important Things That Don't Matter)

Thom Jones

I picked up Crawford's book and with the first paragraph I was hooked. I put it down at the half way point so I would have the pleasure of reading the rest later. It's f***ing dynamite. A young man pushed beyond endurance. Is a good book worth what he saw, felt, experienced? There are some bad things people know and wish they didn't. And I can just see it all: Something very dark in the human heart and it cannot be vanquished. War after war. I finished the book thinking this is like Vietnam all over again. And like Michael Herr in Dispatches, Crawford really has it down. He's got it nailed.
—(Thom Jones, author of Pugilist at Rest)

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Last True Story I'll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier's Account of the War in Iraq 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
jopearson56 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had to read the book to create discussion questions for the book club kit tote in my library's collection. I didn't care much for it. I guess it was an okay description of the everyday life of a soldier in Iraq, but Crawford just doesn't write that well. I couldn't always follow his stories or understand his lingo or what was happening. I guess he never planned to be an author and he did talk about the war from a soldier's perspective, which we probably need more of. I didn't find it very compelling, though. Just seemed like a bunch of kids being jerks lots of the time; suppose that's real, too. You just want them all to be heroes, I guess. And why the heck did they spend all their time "guarding" that gas station?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i was got this book from my sister after she read it for college. i was skeptical going in because i do enjoy war novels but this seemed to be more a story of how he felt. i felt like i was was on patrol with him. yes there was swearing but you have to remember he was not writing this book to be politically correct he was writing this to tell us not every solider is a hero and not every solider wants to be some got there because they need to get some free college. He may not be a C.S. lewis writer but he sure is a good story teller. I've read this book 4 times and it never gets old.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a very good novel. It shows some incite about what military personnel really encounter during war. Not too many novels can be as detailed as this one. It really opens your eyes as to what happens in other countries and how they are different from the U.S. I believe everyone should read this novel to understand what war really is like. I suggest this to anyone who is interested in the military and for those who are not.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i have been in the army ten years and i currently am a SSG in the US ARMY i enjoyed this book from front to back the story is believable and if you have been to the desert you can relate to this book in some way. a must read!! for any VET
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book says it all. He is not the only person to have experienced this. The Reserves and National Guard must meet the same standards as the Active. Yet, the reserves and national guard are treated as sub human. The treatment by the Active duty only worsens when you exceed their standards. When you get deployed, you are on your own. The garrison warriors are too busy trying not to be deployed. All you have is you and your fellow Soldiers. If you are a leader, every decision you make comes home with you. I have met some good Reserve and National Guard units that take care of their deployed troops, but they are far few between. Our father and mothers of Vietnam faced stress from the general public. We face it from our own. Everyday, I am thankful that I chose my Soldiers.They accomplished the mission above and beyond the standard. It cost me but they are all home in one piece. I can live with that. Before you respond negatively to this book, ask yourself about how you would react to the same situation? Then ask yourself, if you are in denial of this happening.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you want to know what's really happening on the ground in Iraq, read this book. I learned more about the American presence in Iraq from it's 207 pages than from three years of newspapers, newsmagazines and the evening news. Thank you, John Crawford, for writing this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a good book. Granted he was in a National Guard unit which normally operate with standards that are well below active duty units, but I found his book to be an accurate portrayal of how many soldiers view things. The interactions between the soldiers, the supply problems, the leaders who did not even know the names of their own troops, pointless missions with pointless results and the overwhelming sense of a cluster fornication all brought back memories of my prior service (7 years). Anyone who has ever served will remember some of the good and bad things Crawford writes about. Everything from RAMFs who live in luxury while you live in filth, to being assigned to other units and getting shafted all the time, to leaders who try to stay as far away from the action and ignorant of the facts. I liked the book, but it was also very depressing in many ways. If you wish to read some fiction about how the Iraqis love us, the war is a noble cause, all our soldiers are knights in shining armor, etc., etc., go buy a book written by some general or better yet, a political analyst. If you want a view from the soldiers perspective, from the tip of the spear, read this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i could'nt put this book down! I think this is the best book that i have read in my life.Words cant discribe how good this book is!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was so sad after reading this book. Not only does it show how we are not winning this 'conflict' but also what we are doing to our brave military by not giving them the proper equipment needed and leadership from their commanders. I also was saddened that the 'f' word was used in almost every sentence of the book. This says a lot about the morals of our country. Iraq has been set free from Saddam and the people are letting us know they want freedom as they know it - without our occupation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent. It provides a look into the other side of war that the public rarely sees. It takes away the filters of the military PR filters an the uneducated ramblings of reporters to reveal the war through a soldier's eyes. This book encapsulates the very story being told by countless people off fighting the war. John Crawford not only brings you to the sector in which he patrols, but he brings the emotion and atmosphere to the reader as well. In my mind, it is a true root for the underdog story. You hope that the undersupplied, overworked, and overstressed soldiers will make it home safe and sound but they don't all get to experience that feeling in the end. This book is a definite must read no matter if you are for the war or against it, just read it for the factual representation that it provides.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very very articulate. Excellent attention to detail exposing some 1/2 truths of the mass media (NYT, LAT) and 1/2 truths of the 'official press releases' during his Iraq deployment. Sounds like a great read about the men and women of the National Guard and other units.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just finished 'The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell'. It was a book about the true moments of war. He included the muck, the agony and fear of being left behind by those back home, the transformation into battle weary soldiers, and of course the death and injury. Near the end of the book a thought popped into my head, as inspirational thoughts tend to do. War is a waste.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not exactly truthful. Most all the units Crawford complains about served twice as long as he did. Almost all of them will see three one year tours there soon. Seems to be a revenge tale aimed at payback to all of his leaders for doing their jobs. He had an obligation to serve since he volunteered and accepted all the benefits of school money, pay etc for four years of college. He made the decision to sign up. He could have taken out student loans like many others or work like many others to pay for school. But I think he is not honest with himself or his readers to express shock and dismay to be required to honor his contract. Now he is making money again and evening his grudges against his supervisors and officers at the same time. Read some other books to get the real picture of soldiers who serve with honor in Iraq. Crawford doesn't speak for all returning soldiers. Take what he says with a large dose of salt. The conditons he complains about most real soldiers take in stride and drive on and do their jobs. Thanks for your service John, but I can't say the same for the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I cannot comment on the service yet I want to say i appreciate each service members time and struggles...I come froma different land a different time a time that again the American public forgot about their freedom and started judging and pointing fingers against an administration before they themselves served. Point being, if you got the game to go to Nam or Korea or Irac then you have all the room to make complaints or grips. America...we're there, read this book realizing that the other 150k that will be returning needs our support now and when they buy a house next door to you...stop the political BS or when the soldier comes marching home your plastic pats on the back will be dis trusted and apparent read also Stand By to Fall Out and Generation Kill to get a good walk through of thr training and the war service
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book provides a detailed account of events in Iraq by the author. A first-hand description of the horror that we have created. I was appalled by the apparent disdain that the author has for Iraquies and human life. It seems that many of the American forces sent are trigger happy that shoot/kill first ask questions later. This rambo style approach is for sure a huge reason why the Iraquies are so fed up with our presence there. Why is the Army not providing better training for our soldiers to not to just shoot people carelessly? It really shows the Bush Administration total lack of morals. For 50 years our nation had built a moral clout in the world but after Iraq the moral clout we had before the world has been reduced to zero. We have no moral example anymore to tell anyone anything. It will take another 50 years to rebuild this trust and leadership. I feel ashamed have voted for Bush in 2000. We have really been deceived. The last chapter in the book the author recounts the sad story when he apparently killed a boy. It must have been a horrific experience to go through but once again shows our trigger happy mentality. It is really a disgrace! May God forgive us for our sins!