My War: Killing Time in Iraq

My War: Killing Time in Iraq

by Colby Buzzell


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An underemployed, skateboarding party animal, Colby Buzzell traded a dead-end future for the army—and ended up as a machine gunner in Iraq. To make sense of the absurd and frightening events surrounding him, he started writing a blog about the war—and how it differed from the government’s official version. But as his blog’s popularity grew, Buzzell became the embedded reporter the Army couldn’t control—despite its often hilarious efforts to do so.

The result is an extraordinary narrative, rich with unforgettable scenes: the Iraqi woman crying uncontrollably during a raid on her home; the soldier too afraid to fight; the troops chain-smoking in a guard tower and counting tracer rounds; the first, fierce firefight against the “men in black.” Drawing comparisons to everything from Charles Bukowski to Catch-22, My War depicts a generation caught in a complicated and dangerous world—and marks the debut of a raw, remarkable new voice.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425211366
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/05/2006
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 598,747
Product dimensions: 6.03(w) x 9.03(h) x 0.99(d)
Age Range: 18 - 17 Years

About the Author

Before enlisting in the U.S. Army at age twenty-six, Colby Buzzell lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. He served over two years, including a year in Iraq.

What People are Saying About This

Kurt Vonnegut

My nothing less than the soul of an extremely interesting human being at war on our behalf in Iraq.

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My War: Killing Time in Iraq 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for my son serving in Iraq. I flipped through it to see what it was about and could not put it down. This book details the life of our soldiers without the clouded media version. Any parent of a soldier or the soldiers themselves should read this book. Colby did not hold anything back and tells it like it is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Colby Buzzell's book was recommended to me by my history professor when I stated my interest in reading books about the Iraq War and I'm so glad it was recommended to me. I could not put the book down, Buzzell is a very talented author who conveyed his experience well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an amazing story. You get to read about who Colby is and understand his struggles  with reading his point of view of various stuff that happens around him. If you have thoughts of joining the  military then pick up this book and read about it. It will help you see what it is like in Afghanistan, and prepare you for any stress related issues whether if its at boot camp, or your fellow comrades playing games with you. I give this book 5 stars. It's a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Colby Buzzel; My War review Colby Buzzel, a slight alcoholic with a history of drug use with no where in particular to go, sitting around at the skate park or job hunting, he has next to nothing going on. He thus joins the military and his adventure begins over in Iraq he sees what life is like on the other side and experiences war for himself. All written as the truth. I loved this book because Colby writes it as he sees it, all in his own words. This includes his cursing as well as his views or opinion on things. He is a great writer making his story compelling. When I had finished the book I was annoyed that it wasn’t longer or that there wasn’t a whole lot more to read. He is dedicated to what he does and deserves what he has now. Anyone wanting a good read, the truth on the other side, a fellow opinion, or simply the fun of listening to an awesome writer and person, this is a great book for them. Another recommended book would be; Colby Buzzels; Lost in America, a Dead-End Journey. Also completely written in Colby’s voice, this is yet another amazing book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is is funny and yet a serious account of a love life type of guy. I walked into bn looking for a good book.and i found it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I went into B&N looking for a good book to read. I bought this book not knowning it was going to be one of the best books ive ever read. Soldiers like Colby make me proud to be an american. I loved how he said what he felt and said what he thought and didn't care what anyone else thinks. Im glad taht i bought this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Often gritty but true to life tale of teenager coming of age and trying to find one's self in the ranks of the US Army Infantry. A personal perspective that can be appreciated by anyone enlisted the short tales of deadend jobs to boot camp, to his first unit and off to Iraq are priceless and too often humorous as Buzzell trys to find enlightenment in many tragic and often frustrating days in the combat zone. A great read and definitely recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book really shows you the war that occuring in Iraq right now better than any of these documentaries on it.i couldnt put this thing down until i was done with it . I recomend it to anyone
Guest More than 1 year ago
couldn't put this book down - really gives you a view of what it's really like for these young soldiers & marines in Iraq.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When you read Colby Buzzell's book, it's just like you are there with him through all his experiences. It was so good that I had it read in just three days. He writes pretty much like the average guy talks - laced with profanity and all. That's why this book is so popular, because it is so down-to-earth. One guy and his story. But much of his experiences are just like ours. Drifting from one boring dead-end job to another for several years after high school, Buzzell surprises his parents (with whom he has lived off and on with during that time) by joining the army. If you've ever been in the military, then you will get a laugh out of his meeting with recruiters. Being a first-rate soldier is the first job he has ever taken seriously. He conscientiously reads his field manuals and learns how to be a gunner. After some quick training, his new experimental Stryker Brigade is deployed to Iraq. (The Stryker is an RPG/EID-resistant infantry combat vehicle that does indeed earn high praise from its users.) Buzzell then writes about his arrival in Kuwait, the drive up the highway of death to Baghdad, and then his unit deployment in Mosul. Most of the action takes place in Mosul, where his unit seems to drive around town trying to draw fire from insurgents. Some of his firefights are pretty intense - I couldn't put the book down then. This is real life, urban guerilla warfare - the kind of fighting most soldiers can expect to face in the future. He also talks with some of the local Iraqis and tries to get a feel for the actual situation of the civilians in Mosul. Apparently, the insurgents are often just angry, horny young muslim men trucked in from Iran and Syria looking to score their 70 virgins. All the while Buzzell is covertly writing and publishing his diary online under a pseudonym. But the word leaks out that he is the author and then the army decides to diplomatically but firmly clamp down on his online publishing activity. (Incidentally, I wonder that the military focuses so much effort on censorship instead of establishing a really effective secret police force to identify and detain the insurgents. I suppose they don't realize that many of the Iraqi officials are probably connected to the insurgents.) This is a great modern war diary.
TimBazzett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful: Fear & Loathing in the US Army. A self-proclaimed Hunter S. Thompson fan, as well as a once-aimless GenX-er, Colby Buzzell makes his own loathing of many things obvious from the get-go. The fear comes later, and is most vividly expressed nearly 200 pages into this memoir of the Iraq war. Here's his delayed reaction after being in one of the most hard-fought and fierce fire-fight he'd ever encountered on the streets of Mosul - "I was smoking like a chimney, one right after another. My nerves were completely shot and I was emotionally drained and I noticed that my hands were still kinda shaking ... I was thinking how lucky I was to be alive. I've never experienced anything like the fear I felt today ..." Stryker machine-gunner Buzzell is a curious character in his own story. Intelectually curious, he is a voracious reader of good books, yet he seems to find little to like in this world. Possessed of a wicked and ironically sly sense of humor, he uses it repeatedly to jab at our country's leaders, the war, politics, the media - just about everything, in fact, including himself. I found myself liking the guy in spite of myself. He made me laugh and he made me wince in recognition. His narrative, with its casual attitude towards porno, "spank" mags and masturbation among the troops, brought to mind Tony Swofford's book about the first Gulf war, JARHEAD - although Buzzell himself dismisses that book scornfully, and that first "war" as well. It was also very like Johnny Rico's fine memoir of the current war in Afghanistan, BLOOD MAKES THE GRASS GROW GREENER. It also flashed me back to my own war, the Cold War. Soldiers are the same, regardless of the setting or the era, it would seem. Nothing much changes. Buzzell's choice of a title for his memoir-cum-blog, MY WAR, is certainly not unique. It is the third military memoir I have read with this title. The others were both WWII memories from journalist Andy Rooney and artist Tracy Sugarman, both fine books. And so is this one. The army tried to call Buzzell back to active duty in 2008, but he was found to be unfit for service - PTSD. The physical, mental and emotional casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan continue to mount and multiply, and the ends to these wars are still not clearly in sight. Perhaps books like Buzzell's will help speed their resolutions. I hope so.
choochtriplem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A good story of how a lonely, disenfranchised youth from San Fransisco becomes a soldier in the US Army. The story is Colby Buzzell's first hand account from teenager to a US Army Spc. The story is slow in the begining, but is necessary as you learn more and more about the author. The author discusses his interests that make for a very funny yet insightful read. The invasion and occupation of Iraq are chronicled through the eyes of a grunt and the story that is told is vivid and extremely interesting to anyone seeking a soldiers opinion and overall mood during the war.
emed0s on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was a big fan/follower/avid reader, you name it, of the blog so I had no doubt that I would buy the book when Colby Buzzel made the first comment about it, IIRC it was about the same tame when the whole censoring debacle started. So I don't know if it was my love for the blog or if it's just that the new material, which is mixed with the original blog entries, it's not up to par and some of it was written with the sole purpose of completing all the chapters of the average military memoir, and I'm thinking specially of the chapter rewarding the enlisting and training.
lriley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting look at the current Iraq catastrophe from the point of a view of a machine gunner in a Stryker brigade. Buzzell takes his readers from the time right before he enlisted through boot camp and the various levels of training to his being sent to Iraq--the subsequent setting up of his own blogsite there--the harrassment by at least some of his superiors immediate or otherwise that culminates as that site becomes more and more popular--to his final honorable discharge when his term is up. The portraits of his fellow soldiers are very striking and well done--a kind of assortment of metalheads, rap lovers and punk rockers working together wheeling around the streets of Mosul looking for insurgents and sometimes finding them. On base--we learn a grunt can legally purchase Cuban cigars there--though no alcohol--we see them fighting off boredom listening to music, playing video games, fooling around with digital cameras, standing in long lines to call loved ones at home or to go on-line, smoking endless amounts of cigarettes and perusing porn magazines. Occasionally they even smuggle a little booze on base. Buzzell's--as a representative of the skateboarding punk rock world--prose is decidedly anti-PC--as are many of his observations. It might be called proudly profane. His descriptions of Iraqi's tend to be sympathetic--though there is no mistaking that a rather wide divide exists between the worldview of an American soldier and that of an Iraqi citizen. The main battle scene taken from the book he gleans from his own website was written on the spot and gives a palpable sense of chaos and his own fear. I'd like to particularly note that he tore up his election ballot when he found out that Ralph Nader wasn't on the California ticket. Go Colby. In any case I found this book entertaining despite the serious subject matter--much of the reason can be attributed to Colby's laconic and oftentimes sardonic outlook on life. It is at times even a very funny book. I would recommend it.
jdmays on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not much of a story line but strangely compelling anyway. The book was enjoyable because I felt like the author was just honestly telling his thoughts and experiences. It didn't seem like he was trying to sell me on a particular political view. In fact, at times, his views seem to contradict themselves and that's part of what makes his experiences seem so genuine.
NativeRoses on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The war in Iraq as told by a skater-dude who kept a blog during his deployment. Very real. Funny in a lot of places. Refreshingly non-PC. You get the feeling that if you met the author, he wouldn't bore you to death with the type of inane chit-chat you usually hear at parties.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once I started reading this book I couldn't put it down
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The content kept me turning pages. I am debating whether the book should have been polished up or left in its raw state. The flow felt like a car going from paved to bumpy dirty roads. There were moments that were genuinely funny that a non-medical reader would appreciate . And there are times where you really feel sad for a lot of people. I am glad to have read it, it was definitely a good read and recommend this to those who are interested in the military.
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