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Blood Makes the Grass Grow Green: A Year in the Desert with Team America

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  243 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Outrageous, hilarious, and absolutely candid, Blood Makes the Grass Grow Green is Johnny Rico’s firsthand account of fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, a memoir that also reveals the universal truths about the madness of war.

No one would have picked Johnny Rico for a soldier. The son of an aging hippie father, Johnny was overeducated and hostile to all authority. But whe
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Paperback, 344 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by Presidio Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 421)
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Michael
I have to admit that my feelings on this one are a bit mixed. Not so much for the book itself. Johnny Rico does a good job of portraying his experiences during his year deployment to Afghanistan. His style of writing is self-critical, brutally honest, and self-deprecating. There's not a whole lot of sugarcoating going on here. And Rico does do a good job of pointing out the contradictions and errors with which the America War on Terror has been conducted.

It's just that the book I read immediate
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Kelly B
This was hilarious and sometimes, disturbingly hilarious, but hilarious all the same. From the cover, you would think this guy believes himself a total aggressive badass, but it is not so. He has two masters degrees and still decided to join the Army, leading him to spend a year in Afghanistan, experiencing the absurdity of the ways of the military. He was clearly heavily influenced by Catch-22 and Fight Club, which is just fine by me. I read this in a day and a half, and only felt a little sill ...more
Sarah
Let's just say I was disappointed in this adult war memoir. Looks pretty exciting by the cover and you can't beat the title, but the author is not someone I want to spend time with. Why? He's whiny and believed he needed to write a book about his year in Afghanistan with the C Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry of the 25th Infantry Division. I really can't believe it was published. I guess publishers are desperate for true war memoirs, but Johnny Rico doesn't deliver anything. I can't waiting ...more
Boozy
Wow, I personally am familiar with the areas, FOB's and units mentioned in this book as well as the authors tour. I have to say, GROSS changes in facts, what the author purports to be emails about missions and day to day activity to family back home would not have been allowed to be emailed simply because of the security risks involved. Also the picture the author paints of Infantry as dumb, uncaring and undisciplined is untrue, while some of the events may have happened they certainly would not ...more
Molly
This memoir was certainly engrossing and interesting, but also depressing. The author joined the Army because of his personal belief that one should not take citizenship for granted. A nice motivation, but he never expresses why, or even if, he loves his country. His descriptions of fellow soldiers seem like caricatures--they are ignorant rednecks, intelligent liberals who joined for the benefits, or empty-headed testosterone-filled warmongers. In his two years of active duty, were there no real ...more
Phoebe223
Very candid nice style of writing. And I liked this paragraph enough to retype it here:

"Donkeys...I've decided that donkeys are universally cute. Really cute. So cute that donkeys defy any arguments of preferences being relative. When you pet their noses, they blink their eyes and bashfully look away as if embarrassed. And when donkeys hee-haw, they have their mouths and lips curled up as if they are smiling. Boyfriend and girlfriend donkeys rest their heads on each other's rumps and fan each ot
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Jeff
Few passages in the book felt anything more than contrived. The emails to his parents included between chapters are probably the best and most candid parts of the book, where he's not trying to impress his audience with his wit (and thus he comes off as far more witty than in the rest of the book) nor does he attempt to shove any grandiose statements down the throat of his reader (and thus comes off as far more poignant). If he had just compiled all of the emails he wrote back to the states I th ...more
Jacqueline
I liked this book. It was raw, funny and realistic. Not every soldier is the best this or most decorated that. A lot of ordinary guys and gals go and do their time and serve their country. Maybe they don't get involved in anything heroic other than that they stepped up and said I'm willing to serve and I accept that I might die for my country. Being ordinary people like most of us, they hope they don't have to. Their stories are just as valid as anyone else's. Johnny Rico's is funnier than most ...more
Papalodge
Kennedy's 'Bay of Pigs' messed up my generation's plans for their future.
Bush's whatever messed up everybodys past, present and future; of course he's against reinstating the draft as he would have to face his own dodging - didn't join up until he could play at being commander in cheat, yes cheat.
Enjoyed the book, same old military nonsense. For further laughs check out 'No Time for Sergeants' and 'Biloxi Blues' and of course'MASH'. If your pressed for time, watch the movies.
Denise
It's a military book so I expect the language, I was even prepared for the "guy talk" that goes along with a bunch of men spending time together. However, the book is a great injustice to what the military really does, and I think the author should evaluate himself so harshly. If the whole book had been as good as the last chapter then it may not have been A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME.
Tristan Sylvester
Pretty immature writing, mimicking other popular writers from my generation. Entertaining, though. (I'm 30.)
Wylothar
I currently finished this book. I believe it has a very honest tone to. Being prior service and knowing how people where I think this is a very honest portrayal of a serviceman in regular service in Afghanistan. this isn't a glory book of Rambo stories its honest.
Gregg
It was alright. It irked me though that he said from the beginning that he embellished stuff, but also said that things that seemed like they had to be embellished weren't. After reading Generation Kill and Blackhawk Down, it just wasn't up to snuff
Pat
Its kinda like Holden Caufield goes to war.
C
Dec 16, 2014 C added it
Shelves: abandoned

What I read so far was a pretty blunt - sometimes a bit forced - account of this guy's experience joining the military at 26. He's the odd man out in so many ways, and he doesn't try to polish this up. Some of the things he's said about human nature and behavior, I'm right on the same page.

I just can't read this right now. I had a feeling when the kitten was introduced earlier on that he wasn't going to be long-lived, but reading the reviews, I ended up inadvertently reading the details and I w
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Carl
I fully appreciated this book for what it was meant to be: brutally honest, yet entertaining. Were things exaggerated for comical effect? Probably. Accuracy aside, I felt as if the author went deep into something rarely explored which is the political aspect from the view point of an enlisted soldier; a grunt if you will. Politicians, generals, academics, and journalists have all written scores of volumes on the political side of war, and there have been scores upon scores of a “what war is like ...more
Krissy
-I hope the Army isn't filled with nearly as much unintelligent chaos as Rico states, though in all probability it is. Institutions that uphold rules over common sense seem to be full of unintelligent chaos.

-The chapter on the kitten just filled me with disgust. Anyone that cruel to animals deserves to be hit by an IED. That's probably unpatriotic of me to say, but whatever. That poor kitten did not deserve to be violently thrown against a wall for the amusement of a couple of bored soldiers.

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Jeffrey Rice
I've read a lot of first person military history this one was by far the most ammusing. He didn't just talk about the talk about the positive aspects of the military and warfare, in fact he barley mentioned them, instead he wrote about the stupid crap that people do every day. It brought a smile to my face reading about his experiences and rememberig all the stupid stuff me and the people I served with did while I served and was deployed. This book is a great look at the real and not quite as "c ...more
Kaite Stover
This book is on my top ten for 2007. And not because my brother is in the Army and deployed godknowswheretheywon'ttellhisfamily. But because when my brother tells Army stories, these are the stories he tells and everyone in the family is alternately gasping in disbelief and howling with laughter, even the tweenies.

I love Rico's tone, his appreciation for the job he's doing and his fellow soldiers and his honest depictions of what life is like. I think teens with an interest in the service would
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Joel Warren
Great read! Rico's perspective on the war is one that is more common with our generation. Educated and intelligent, paired with the ability to enjoy the absurd moments that come along while deployed (in the military in general). Our generation's concept of war is so drastically different than previous generations...this book does a wonderful job of laying that out in a real, and truthful manner, all while making it both thought provoking and hilarious.

Vets and non-vets alike will enjoy this boo
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Allan
First things first. If you have never served, you will not like this book. If you have served but were not Infantry, but one of the support services, you will not like this book. I served 8 years as a 11B. This book is funny!!! It is also way too realistic. I thank the God's that I never served with such a outfit as the author, but I whole heartedly believe the politic's from the higher up's. It's not called hurry up and wait for nothing.
If you are the wife or girlfriend of a ground pounder, thi
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Don
Not as spellbinding as the book written by the Russian WWII soldier(which title I can't remember), but interesting nontheless. It was nice to finish this depiction of mostly dysfunctional infantrymen then turn on the news and hear of the navy seals sharpshooters pegging the Somali pirates. This is just one picture of the military, and it's not a pretty one. These soldiers seem to make their own hell in bowing to the least common denominator, though Rico seems thoughtful enough and tries to maint ...more
Roadhouse
Interesting book.

It starts out slow, but picks up.

Most books about the war in Afghanistan are positive and pro military, not his book.

This book has entertaining stories about the army. Also, this book involves a dead kitten, but there are no pictures of the dead kitten. If you an animal lover, it is OK to read it, just skip the part of the dead kitten. If I remember correctly, the kitten's name was Brian. Who names a cat Brian? The same guy that writes a 4 out of 5 star book!
Suzie Quint
This is an interesting book and, like some other reviewers, I have mixed emotions about this book. I'm not convinced the author is a reliable narrator. I suspect some things are exaggerated for, I don't know, dramatic effect? There are places where it feels farcical. Other things come through as solid and real, such as his fear when he believes he's about to die. If you decide to read it, I recommend taking it with a grain of salt.
Topher
Liberal decides to become combat infantry killer, documents absurdity of Army life (ie, not given any ammo after they are attacked to help prevent future attacks; needing to buy an extra $25K in life insurance for the final 30 minutes of army career because the computer doesn't believe he has enough)

Amusing.
Darius DP3 Perry
i gave 5this book a 5 rating because i thought that it was very detailed and gave a lot of info. i liked how he used a lot of of hyperboles and similes to really describe things. i would recommend this book to people who like army and fighting books
Fiorella Cecilia
Loved this book because it showed me what someone close to me went through while deployed. He was on his same unit and knew the author and it was good that I read the book because it helped me understand what he went through over there.
Joe
Very interesting book to say the least. Not a typical book about the Afghan conflict. I believe that the authors opinion is shared by other soldiers as well. We need to bring them home. Peace!
Steven Monroy
May 31, 2011 Steven Monroy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoyed Catch-22
Shelves: memoir
Funny and honest memoir of a soldier's year in Afghanistan and the absurdity of the modern Army. It draws inspiration from Catch-22, but sometimes truth is even stranger than fiction.
Joshua
About a marine who is too smart for his own good. Actually changes his birth name to Johnny Rico. What a douche.

Still it is entertaining albeit Rico is a bit of a smart ass.
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“Donkeys...I've decided that donkeys are universally cute. Really cute. So cute that donkeys defy any arguments of preferences being relative. When you pet their noses, they blink their eyes and bashfully look away as if embarrassed. And when donkeys hee-haw, they have their mouths and lips curled up as if they are smiling. Boyfriend and girlfriend donkeys rest their heads on each other's rumpt and fan each other's faces with their tails. And kid donkeys, the size of an average dog, trot around with big smiles on their faces and floppy, dangly, long donkey ears. Too cute.” 2 likes
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