Book Review: "My War"
Just finished reading what I think is the first book to come out by a MilBlogger who served in Iraq. "My War", by Colby Buzzell, gives "the rest of the story" behind the hugely popular blog written by "CBFTW", a soldier in the "Stryker Brigade" who spent a year pulling occupation duty around Mosul.
If you want to read a book that tells you everything is going fine in Iraq, this isn't the book for you. Throughout the book, Buzzell cuts loose with both barrels against bureaucratic incompetence and the general drudgery of Army life. His is a story not of a man who sees himself on a grand mission to defend freedom, but of someone who wants to do his job, not let his buddies down, and get home in one piece. I would guess that there are probably more Colbys in today's Army than the "lifers" he mocks, so this book would be a good place to start to get a read about what the average soldier thinks and cares about.
Not that Colby is average -- he clearly has a literary gift. While he might not be happy with what he had to do in the Army, the service clearly gave him a direction in life that he hadn't previously had. His frequently humorous, yet poignant, descriptions of the frustrations caused by the limitations imposed on our forces makes this book worth the purchase price.
If you liked "Crusade" by Rick Atkinson, about the first Gulf War, or "Generation Kill" about the most recent one, you'll probably like "My War" -- being autobiographical, unlike the other two, it brings a sense of immediacy to the tale that you don't find in a third person account.
In the book, Buzzell complains, with considerable justification, about REMFs. As a disclaimer, I have to say that I was about as rear echelon as you could get during the events discussed in the book while still being actively engaged in the war-fighting effort. (I was at CENTCOM HQ in Tampa -- to be honest, it would have been hard for a submarine officer to get much closer.) I can't claim to know what Buzzell and his buddies went through, but after reading the book, I feel I have a better idea. Give this book a read -- you'll be glad you did.