“I remember reading Colby's journal entries on the internet when he was filing them from Iraq and being amazed at how, besides how heavy the material was, how sharp and vividly intense his writing was. My War is the real deal reportage from the ground. There's no way any reporter could have brought this back. If you care about our brave soldiers in the fray and want to get an insight into what it's really like out there, My War is essential reading...I'll take Colby's word over a journalist's any day.” —Henry Rollins
“Soul-jarring observations and darkly comedic insights into what it really means to be fighting and idling in this war.” —Los Angeles Times Magazine
“Reminiscent of Michael Herr’s Dispatches.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Remarkably blunt, honest, and often hilarious.” —Chicago Sun-Times
“Profound, profane...told with irresistible gallows humor and anger devoid of self-consciousness. Give[s] us a much deeper understanding of war.” —Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“A style reminiscent of Hunter S. Thompson...fueled by an anti-authority, punk-rock attitude.” —Poets and Writers
“Striking...with a steeliness that’s both sincere and chilling.” —People
“If military recruitment is down now, wait till the kids read this book.” —Kirkus Reviews
“In gutsy, sometimes profane prose, he takes you on a soldier’s-eye view of the front lines of the war.” —Newsweek
“Captivating memoir about the year [Buzzell] spent serving as an army ‘trigger puller’ in Iraq....though the combat scenes are exciting, this book is actually more engrossing as a portrait of the day-to-day life of a young American soldier.” —Publishers Weekly
“My War is the story of a young grunt trying to survive...What you soon realize about this stranger at the bar, Colby Buzzell, is that he can knock you off your barstool at a moment’s notice with soul-jarring observations and darkly comedic insights into what it really means to be fighting and idling in this war.” —Los Angeles Times Magazine
“Provid[es] more truth than CNN or the army could or would.” —Library Journal
“Incredible accounts of combat from a grunt’s-eye view.” —Rolling Stone
“Funny, often surreal ‘What the @!%# am I doing here?’ account of military life.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Breathtaking...Buzzell’s self-awareness is total and unromantic, his instinct for what matters unrelenting, his writing lyrical, heartbreaking, hilarious, and essential.” —Robert Kurson, author of Shadow Divers
“Raw, sardonic, and thrashingly honest, My War is a stellar grunt’s-eye view of the Iraq war.” —Men’s Journal
Far from the stereotypical scribbling in a trench, this memoir began as a blog while Buzzell served as a machine gunner in Iraq. Tasked with locating and killing all noncompliant forces, this sardonic and witty nontraditional soldier finds himself part warrior, part journalist.
With this relentlessly cynical volume, Buzzell converts his widely read 2004 blog into an episodic but captivating memoir about the year he spent serving as an army "trigger puller" in Iraq. Posted to Mosul in late 2003, Buzzell's platoon was ordered "to locate, capture and kill all non compliant forces." Accordingly, his entries describe experiences pursuing elusive guerrillas (aka "men in black"); enduring sniping, rocket and mortar attacks; and witnessing the occasional car bomb. Face-to-face fighting almost never occurs. No matter: though the combat scenes are exciting, this book is actually more engrossing as a portrait of the day-to-day life of a young American soldier who has "read, and re-read, countless times, every single one of [Bukowski's] books." Like Bukowski, Buzzell appears to be a sentimental misanthrope; he pours scorn on everyone from cooks to generals to President Bush. He also despises the media, the antiwar movement and everyone who thinks they understand what's happening in Iraq. That his superiors kept their hands off his blog for several months, however, shows they understood that-despite its foul language, griping, insults directed at higher officers and occasional exposure of dirty linen-Buzzell's work never really wavers in its portrayal of American forces as the good guys in a dirty war. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
A slacker goes to war and returns no more fit for the workaday world than before, but with tales to tell. The recruiter didn't have to sell him hard: Buzzell, a young punk skateboarder, clearly bright but clearly unmotivated, was still living with his parents and doing data-entry temp work at the age of 26. The promise of a signing bonus and whatever job he wanted was enough for Buzzell, who wasn't alone in seeing the military as an escape from the doldrums; as he writes, "I was sick of living my life in oblivion where every fucking day was the same fucking thing as the day before, and the same fucking routine day in and day out." There's no end of routine in the Army, of course, but Buzzell's days were made interesting when he was put to work fighting the Iraqi insurgency. Buzzell is fond of quoting Full Metal Jacket, evidently the coin of the realm among his fellow soldiers, and if his narrative doesn't come close to matching the work of Michael Herr and Gustav Hasford, on which that movie was based, he does a good job of capturing the daily absurdities and occasional terrors of life on the front, where even a trip to the mess hall is likely to result in a wound. Some of the sharpest writing comes from the author's blog, which earned him celebrity beyond Iraq (and the chance to write this book) and got him in plenty of trouble with the brass. Without blog and book, his options would have been narrow: Toting a machine gun for a year didn't prepare him for much in the postwar world, and as for "having a boss yell at me for showing up to work five minutes late or tell me that I'm not smiling enough at the customers"-well, impossible. If military recruitment is down now, wait till the kidsread this book.