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No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah
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No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  1,224 ratings  ·  57 reviews
"This is the face of war as only those who have fought it can describe it."âSenator John McCain

Fallujah: Iraqâs most dangerous city unexpectedly emerged as the major battleground of the Iraqi insurgency. For twenty months, one American battalion after another tried to quell the violence, culminating in a bloody, full-scale assault. Victory came at a terrible price: 151 Ame
Paperback, 378 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Bantam (first published 2004)
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In “The Iliad” a warrior in the front ranks turned to his companions and said, “Let us win glory, for ourselves, or yield it to others.” For Greek warriors, there was no true glory if they were not remembered afterward in poem or song. There will be no true glory for our soldiers in Iraq until they are recognized not as victims, but as aggressive warriors. Stories of their bravery deserved to be recorded and read by the next generation. Unsung, the noblest deed will die.

Those stories are recorde
This book was a good account of the battle for Fallujah. I enjoyed the fact that it mixed a look into the higher command and political aspects along with a look into the frontline men and events. In my opinion that is the ideal style because it gives you the context and reasons why everything is happening while also giving you an inside look into the "trenches" that humanizes the events. The maps and outline of people involved were useful references to go back to while reading. This was an easy ...more
Dec 12, 2007 James rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adolescents and adults
Bing West served as a Marine officer in Vietnam, then moved on to journalism. Here he accompanied some Marine units during the battle of Falujah and offered both his day-to-day account of their experiences and his observations on the higher level political maneuverings that shaped the events they lived through.
I was there for part of this battle (in 2004). This book details all the battles surrounding what was once the most dangerous city in Iraq.
I picked this up at the National Museum of the Marine Corps near Quantico, VA last weekend.

A detailed and in-depth account of the Marine's experiences in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. I loved the matter of fact style and the Marine's eye view that West uses to tell his story. Part personal narrative from the combatants point of view and part historical narrative of the military and civilian leaders, their decision making, and the operations as they unfolded. West is quite confident that his opinions a
Extremely well told story of the Battle for Fallujah. The first and second battle for Fallujah, which took place in April 04 and November 04 respectively. Bing West puts you into battle with the Marines and tells numerous harrowing tales of frontline bravery and valor. Bing West also tells of the events that occurred behind the scenes and the causes and propellants of the battle and of the political alliances, betrayals and compromises that shaped the battle and caused it to be split up into two ...more
Tin Wee
Another book I was inspired to read after FIASCO. This book outlines the consequences of policy screw ups on the average frontline grunt, and how a war changed because warriors were not allowed to fight as they were meant to because of other policy concerns. The takeaway of this book for me is that the heroism of many of the marines has been overshadowed by the american media which chose to focus on the family tragedies of the deaths of the marines, instead of their heroism in the field. As with ...more
Erikhart Hart
No True Glory provides a concise account of both battles for the Iraqi city of Fallujah, in April 2004 and December of 2004 respectively. West is an excellent author for this subject matter, providing a description from both the personal and tactical Lance Corporal while relating the operational and strategic context between events on the ground and on the home front.

Unfortunately, aside from the heroic sacrifices and mastery of modern urban combat displayed by our Marine Corps, the lesson that
No True Glory is an in-depth account of the battle for Fallujah during the Iraq war. My brother left for his 1st tour in March '03 and I remember watching CNN every minute I wasn't at work, hoping to get an idea of what the war was like. Thankfully he wasn't in Fallujah, because I remember hearing that Fallujah had the worst of the insurgency.

No True Glory explains why Fallujah was such a troubled city, and how media and politics influenced the military decisions that were made in response to t
"...let slip the dogs of war." Bing West has his finger on the pulse of the Corps with this one. Some of my buddies were in the battle for Fallujah in '04 and have given this book their seal of approval. Doesn't get more authentic than that.
Victoria Vane
Research reading for SHARP SHOOTER. Excellent book.
Jack Pando
Bing West explores the strategy and history that lead to Operation Phantom Fury, the Marines push to capture the city of Fallujah. It truly catches the many mistakes the U.S. Military and government made throughout the planning process. The first attempt was stalled by a long one-sided cease fire. To fix the violence the U.S. wanted to send in the Iraqi national guard, but no unit was ready for the fierce fighting in the city. Finally the military made a decision to send in the former Iraqi army ...more
Gayle Francis Moffet
If you can get through this one quickly, more power to you. After an initial sprint through the first section courtesy of a long plane ride, I had to take No True Glory a chapter at a time and sometimes less. It's not just that there's a lot of technical information to take in regarding how operations were set up in Iraq. It's not just there was a lot of information to take in in terms of the social structure of Fallujah and how it impacted the fighting there. It's that Bing West does a wonderfu ...more
Michael Burnam-fink
The Battle of Fallujah was the intense fighting American forces have faced in the 21st century, a Marine battle to stand with Okinawa and Hue for a tenacious enemy and destruction unleashed. Bing West has admirably recorded the heroism of the Marines who went into Fallujah, and the context of the battle in Iraq in 2004. The book's image of a Marine Division astride a shattered city, ruefully shaking its head and saying "Look at what you made me do", is not the most objective take. That image, li ...more
Brom Kim
This is fine military and political history around the battle for Fallujah, Iraq. The application of Halberstadt's journalistic, big picture/little picture style, covering makes this a relatively easy, fascinating read.

One of the book's main points is that the Arab, US, and other international media coverage of events in the city were very poorly covered, as the city became very dangerous for all but insurgency-approved arab reporters after the killing and mutilation of the US Blackwater milita
Good book for two reasons--

1) Explained bigger picture of Iraq war by using Fallujah as an example of how we managed both a military occupation and civil management (yes nation building but more details are included for such issues as infrastructure, politics, etc).

2) provided both tactical and strategical short story accounts. Large operations/missions were shorted into "page-turning" stories full of the who, what, when, where, why's... These stories were bloody and gory.

Overall, the book is a
From the book jacket:
"After four American contractors were brutally murdered, President Bush ordered an attack on the city–against the advice of the Marines. The assault sparked a political firestorm, and the Marines were forced to withdraw amid controversy and confusion–only to be ordered a second time to take a city that had become an inferno of hate and the lair of the archterrorist al-Zarqawi".

The book is based on interviews at every level, from senior policymakers to generals and soldiers a
Bing West gives a glimpse into Anbar province, Iraq as it was in 2003-2005, during 20 months of attempts to stop, or even slow, the violence in that region. The author served as a Marine in Vietnam and was Assistant Secretary if Defense in the Reagan years. He interviewed numerous soldiers and Marines to put together sometimes street by street accounts.

I was struck by the way that many smart folks tried plans to work the problem only to be held up, pulled back, and then forced forward by politi
Pete Nickeas
Great book. I was skeptical at first, thinking it may have been only an ode to the Marines that fought for Fallujah. I don't want to read propaganda or one-sided proclamations of American greatness.

This book told stories at ground level and infused chain of command information where relevant. The book detailed heroics and bravery of young men. What I questioned throughout the whole book ... to what end?

And, my read of the book was, it wasn't meant to say "we shouldn't have gone to Iraq." But r
Carol Storm
Fallujah is a name that has entered Marine Corps history, along with Guadalcanal and Belleau Wood. Bing West's detailed day by day account makes it clear that the key to victory is in the fighting spirit of the young Marines of today. In life and in death they have upheld the high standards set by the heroes of the past.
Charles Blumberg
Excellent account of the battle for Fallujah, house by house, block by block, street by street. It's the story of the courageous Marines that fought to control the city and the bureucrats and politians that screwed things up by holding the Marines back for a several month cease fire.

Good book for lessons to learned for the future including: (1) learning that the only way to win a war is to kill until the opposition accepts the terms of surrender rather than suffer more destruction (2) when send
This was a fascinating read. I knew very little about what the war in Iraq meant for our troops before reading this.
Great book telling about our current conflict in Iraq from the perspective of someone there. Details the events that lead up to the assault on Fallujah. Describes the failed attempts at diplomacy, failed attempts at letting the Iraqi's police themselves, the increase in terrorist activities when Fallujah was left unchecked. Am reading this book along with listening to State of Denial on CD. State of Denial covers roughly the same period, however it treats the political scene in Washington, where ...more
If "My War" is the ant eye view, "One bullet away," is the platoon leaders eye view, then this one is the over all view. It can give you the whole perspective of the war and what the higher ups are all thinking and the reasoning behind it. This book was compiled by a news reporter who got access to the whole marine movement on Fallujah. So you can see how it was all supposed to work out and then how it did.
Very interesting to see their interaction with the Iraqi people.
However...I would rather
Michael Lipford
It will genuinely make you want to kick someone in the teeth.
Tim Countryman
West needs no accolades to prove his value or experience. The first chapter felt like a bibliography for West. I learned much more about West as an author and his accomplishments, than I finally learned about the men and women in uniform and their incredible journey in blood, fear, and wrath. In contrast, West explains the intricacies of politics and the process of war in a fresh light. If nothing else, the author knows how to explain to the rest of us how pride and ignorance of our government m ...more
Very good book that really opened up the Iraq war for me. Although mostly focusing around the story of Fallujah, the author does a great job in making you understand the political vs military situation which was brewing in Iraq after "the end of major combat operations."

Most importantly though, the author does a fantastic job of making you feel like you are on the ground with the Marines during the battles and skirmishes. Its a very incredible story, and worth the read for anyone interested in g
Excellent book on both the April and November '04 assaults on Fallujah by the Marines and Army. Of particular note was the chain of command issues between civilian and military authorities. Al-Jazeera's role in wildly overstating the number of civilian casualties in April was unknown to me, though not surprising. This fact had a direct impact on the decision to halt Marine combat operations just as the city was on the verge of defeat. Revealing book with lessons applicable to future military act ...more
James Loftus
This is an exceptional book about the battle for Fallujah. It takes into account the views of the Marines from the ground up the command chain and also includes how policy making decisions translate out on the battlefield in modern war. On top of that the book recounts dozens of acts of extreme bravery and heroism in the face of a committed and fanatical enemy. No punches are pulled and the grim work of war in the 21st century is laid out in the open in a way that few other writers have dared to ...more
Jan 24, 2008 Colleen added it
Recommends it for: fans of Stephen Ambrose, anyone looking for information on Iraq, but not wanting to be bored.
Recommended to Colleen by: Clark
This was a thought provoking account of decisions made by military leaders and politicians where neither had both responsibility and power. The book explains the poor decisions made due to lack of communication and responsibility for the outcomes. Written in clear, descriptive language, the author describes battle scenes in full detail, but leaves out unnecissarily gory details. There was surprisingly no political slant or opinion of the war given.
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Francis J. "Bing" West is an author and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs during the Reagan Administration. His 2004 book The March Up: Taking Baghdad with the First Marine Division, written with United States Marine Corps General Ray L. Smith,was awarded the Marine Corps Heritage Prize for non-fiction, as well as the Colby Award.
More about Francis J. West Jr....
The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq The March Up: Taking Baghdad with the 1st Marine Division The Pepperdogs The Village Small Unit Action In Vietnam:  Summer 1966

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