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The Snake Eaters: An Unlikely Band of Brothers and the Battle for the Soul of Iraq
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The Snake Eaters: An Unlikely Band of Brothers and the Battle for the Soul of Iraq

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  47 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
In this riveting narrative, U.S. Marine and acclaimed novelist Owen West puts readers into the boots of an isolated band of American advisors and Iraqis fighting together in tumultuous Anbar Province, where the people they are trying to protect and the insurgents who are trying to kill them are indistinguishable.

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Simon & Schuster
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Mar 15, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: iraq-marines
The son emulates the father. Like his dad, Bing West, who served as an advisor to the South Vietnamese and wrote a primer about his experience so too has Owen West performed and contributed the same in Iraq. About the only thing that could be improved on this book is taking part of the subtitle, "Battle for the Soul of Iraq" and making it the primary title. This book truly was and is about the fight for the soul of Iraq. It is unlike other books about OIF in that we get to meet lots of Iraqis an ...more
Jul 28, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it

A fascinating look at the U.S. Advisor's role in Iraq.
Aug 07, 2012 Kent rated it really liked it
Shelves: war
A riveting account of the experiences of US military advisers to an Iraqi Army battalion in Anbar province, The Snake Eaters is fast paced and charged with urban combat action.

This story reveals the difficulties of central command structures that lack understanding of the situation at the point of enemy contact, the stupidity of politicians dictating war policy, and the amazing fortitude and commitment of fighting troops who believe in their cause, in spite of the mentioned failures of a central
Jan 30, 2013 Trish rated it it was amazing
This very powerful book personalized both American and Iraqi solders, bring both laughter and tears. Definitely not my usual read, but it caught my eye because I remember hearing interviews with Owen West on NPR. So glad I didn't pass it by, and I highly recommend it.
Oct 26, 2012 Jordan rated it liked it
'Snake eaters: an unlikely band of brothers and the battle for the soul of iraq' is exactly what the title says it is (the part after the semicolon of course). This book is about a small group of army reservists training a larger squad of jundis; basically Iraqi soldiers. The soldiers find trouble training the jundis, much because of the deprivation of training given to themselves. The two groups (being very different) argue plenty of times and have conflicts that sometimes can irritate the read ...more
Sep 15, 2012 Katinki rated it really liked it
short on time so i'll have to skimp the normal review, but this is a great book. the writing is a little "stiff" in places, but the action and realism is top-notch stuff. feels like you're right there and gives some interesting insight into what's going on a half a world away. entertaining but it also left me with a healthy dose of *additional* respect and admiration for our armed forces and all they do.
Mark Levandoski
Mar 30, 2016 Mark Levandoski rated it it was amazing
Fantastic narrative of a small piece of the struggle for Iraq. Takes the reader into the small unit tactical battle with insurgents for an area of Iraq, as well as touching on the larger picture. Mainly from the side of an Iraqi battalion, and the US advisors assigned to it, the effort to gain the trust of the locals of the area and rid it of insurgents,is told. Well written and seems to hold no punches in describing the difficulties and shortcomings involved.
Robert Kroskey
Mar 29, 2013 Robert Kroskey rated it really liked it
good read, interesting look at a different aspect of the war.
Mar 21, 2013 Jay marked it as abandoned
Shelves: military-war
A painfully slow read. Makes his point in the first pages. No reason to forge ahead.
Very readable and interesting. A good look at the necessary part of counterinsurgency, including how a failure of unity of effort can undo lots of good work.

Paul Anderson
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Jun 17, 2014
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Aug 26, 2013
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Jeffrey Norton rated it it was ok
May 01, 2012
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Feb 13, 2014
Teryl rated it it was amazing
Jun 16, 2012
Diane Dean
Aug 18, 2012 Diane Dean rated it really liked it
Great Read!
John Mccourt
John Mccourt rated it it was amazing
Oct 10, 2013
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Owen attended Harvard University on an ROTC scholarship and rowed for the nationally ranked varsity heavyweight crew team. He served for six years in the Marine Corps and led an infantry platoon, an infantry company, and a reconnaissance platoon before departing as a captain to attend Stanford Business School. Upon graduation, he joined Goldman, Sachs as an energy trader, and is presently a Managi ...more
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