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Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America, and the New Face of American War

4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  13,090 Ratings  ·  732 Reviews
Another nameless town, another target for First Recon. It's only five in the afternoon, but a sandtorm has plunged everything into a hellish twilight of murky, red dust. On rooftops, in alleyways lurk militiamen with machine guns, AK rifles and the odd rocket-propelled grenade. Artillery bombardment has shattered the town's sewers and rubble is piled up in lagoons of huma
Paperback, 354 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Berkley Caliber (first published June 17th 2004)
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Tommy It's pretty straight forward and could be read either way. It probably won't change anyone's beliefs on the war but it does a really good job…moreIt's pretty straight forward and could be read either way. It probably won't change anyone's beliefs on the war but it does a really good job humanizing the actors involved, along with their interactions among each other and the Iraqis they encounter. As one would expect from the complexities of the engagement and the struggles many soldiers have encountered upon return to civilian life, these interactions were complicated and often difficult to pass judgement on. (less)
Liza Boyd Not a work of fiction. True story. Evan Wright was hired by Rolling Stone to report on the invasion of Iraq. He joined this platoon and rode with them…moreNot a work of fiction. True story. Evan Wright was hired by Rolling Stone to report on the invasion of Iraq. He joined this platoon and rode with them to Baghdad. This book is based on three magazine pieces he filed with Rolling Stone in the spring/summer of 2003.(less)

Community Reviews

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Landry Smith
Oct 17, 2013 Landry Smith rated it it was amazing
Generation Kill by Evan Wright is a firsthand account of a reporter embedded with the Marines of Force Recon Battalion during the invasion of Iraq. Jam-packed with details,this novel portrays the struggles and terrors that the marines face in the war.From weapons malfunctioning to choices that the higher ranking officers have caused,Evan Wright explains everything that happened during his two months with the marines.
Throughout the story, the marines encounter problems with their enemies.Someti
Apr 20, 2017 HFK rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone walks around in skivvies, scratching their balls. Vigorous public ball scratching is common in the combat-arms side of the Marine Corps, even among high-level officers in the midst of briefings.

Beautiful. I am very touched by the above, and I am not even being sarcastic while writing it down. It is a sign that I have just spend ten hours reading about belonging and brotherhood that can only be seen inside war zones, inside shared life-and-death situations. The dynamic and the hierarch
Ten things I learned from Generation Kill that I really should have known already:

10.) A shamal is a wind blowing over Iraq and the Persian Gulf that can cause horrible dust storms. The resulting weather can make things like driving, sleeping in the open, and not getting putrid, red eye infections difficult.

9.) Sabka is a geological phenomenon particular to the Middle East which appears to be plain desert, with a crust of sand about an inch thick, but beneath that crust is quicksand made of ta
US Marines. Jarheads. Devil Dogs. Many names to call them but none could really embody the essence and the spirit. Compared with the other military branches in the US Armed Forces, I think this one is the most unique, and thus most intriguing. This memoir told a story about the marines based on direct view from a reporter (from Rolling Stones magazine) who was embedded in the First Recon Battalion, one of the first units deployed in and entering Iraq in 2003. Cynics or critics may say this is a ...more
Apr 11, 2009 Daniel rated it it was amazing
There is something that Evan Wright was able to do in writing this book that the other authors, even the award winners like Dexter Filkins and Steve Fainaru, were not able to do and that is extricate himself from the story and allow it to be solely about the men. Wright is so invisible in the mix that you forget he is riding along in the humvee with the rest of the recon marines. He is able to so skillfully express who these men were and what they are all about, that the entire work reads like f ...more
Dec 15, 2008 Hayley rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers curious about Iraq invasion or Marines, Readers who like dark humor and grit
I knew virtually nothing about the Iraq invasion--especially the conditions on the ground. This book made much of the military strategy (and some of the most shocking, sad, and funny moments) quite real to me. It did so without losing me in military terminology, or seeming patronizing by dumbing it down *too* much. The author's tone was appropriately masculine and efficient.

My greatest commendation goes to the author's contrast between the inexperienced young men going in and their more jaded se
Oct 24, 2013 Lightreads rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
I had no idea this book would be so funny, but for real, it's hilarious. Also exhausting and enraging and painful. And truly excellent, for the record.

For anyone who doesn't remember, this is the account of a reporter embedded in a marine recon unit during the invasion of Iraq. And by "embedded" I mean he rode in the lead car that was repeatedly the northernmost American presence in Iraq, and the very tip of the invading spear. There are a lot of firefights recounted – or more accurately, a lot
Nov 07, 2008 Kathy rated it it was amazing
I am still digesting this book and will for awhile, I suspect. The author was an embedded reporter in First Recon Marine battalion in the early days of the Iraq war. First Recon Marines do just that---go in first, before anybody else, and open up the way. The descriptions are brutal, graphic and sometimes unbearable. As a woman and a mother, I was devastated at the sights and sounds and experiences of these young men. Iraq is hell for everyone--soldiers and Iraqi citizens alike. For the American ...more
Jan 29, 2009 Visha rated it did not like it
Disclaimer: This reviewer is a gentle and peaceful person. Truly.
Interestingly, although I posted this review almost a year ago, I haven't heard from a goodreads person ("community manager") until now about it. Possibly because Evan Wright has become a "goodreads author"? Maybe that has nothing to do with it, but possibly goodreads wants to become "Lifetime Books" or literally, "Good Reads" - they don't want critical reviews or anything negative written about their "goodreads authors". In the s
Sep 10, 2008 Xon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Xon by: Marines
Shelves: war
A couple of Marines who were in Iraq told me to read this book because it accurately described a bunch of young kids invading Iraq. So I guess the fact that I thought the book was just OK would be more of how I feel about Iraq than how the well the book is written. These marines go into Iraq and meet very little resistance. There are no major battles, no overcoming of impossible odds, and no stories of heroism. I have become accustomed to being overwhelmed with bravery and heroic acts when I rea ...more
Decent 3 Stars account of the US Marine Recon "tip of the spear" on the eastern flank of the invasion of Iraq. Good companion to One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer
Don Mitchell
Nov 21, 2009 Don Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: I'm a virulent peacenik who believes the only just US military actions in the past 50 years were Bosnia and the initial Afghanistan liberation, and both for the same reason—stopping totalitarian genocide (Afghani misogynistic tyranny). I believe we use the military career as a means to pacify our permanent underclass—their only hope for the true opportunity we won't give them otherwise. I am so radical that I believe we should reduce our military by 60%.

I listened to this book becaus
Feb 11, 2009 Speedtribes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, military
I saw the HBO miniseries first, and then rushed out to find the book as soon as I could. The book gives a broader view of events than the series, as the writer goes out for extra interviews/research/reporting to get more information. He explains a lot of the 'whys?' I ended up with while watching the story play out on tv. The book turns out as readable as the series is watchable, coming across as a not-so family friendly road trip set in the backdrop of a war.

I loved this book. So. Much. The sol
Jan 23, 2009 Nicola rated it really liked it
Wright, a Rolling Stone journalist joins the Marine Corps First Recon (special-ops-trained warriors programmed to kill) as they become the first men on the ground during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

I’ve tried to read Dispatches and A Rumor Of War before and never made it past the first few chapters – they were too disheartening, too leaden for a wine-sipping liberal like me to get much out of. By contrast, I found myself utterly immersed in Generation Kill and always eager to pick it up again wh
Oct 17, 2011 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible book of combat and the "fog of war." The book reads like such great fiction that if he didn't mention it you wouldn't realize that the author was there for the whole thing. The narratives of combat are enthralling, sobering, and thought-provoking. Two of the most fascinating things about this book are: (1) the "fog of war" aspect, where even though these soldiers are incredibly eager to get into combat, when they do they seem disillusioned by the fact that, sometimes, the p ...more
Apr 27, 2009 Mickey rated it liked it
The book's title hints at exploring differences between this generation and previous generations as to how they approach and perform in war. The author explored this theme just a little bit early in the book, but then sets it aside in favor of a traditional war correspondent's diary. I didn't really hear a compelling argument as to how these young men were fundamentally different than their American counterparts in other wars. Apart from the weapons technology, I might just as easily have been l ...more
This book is not for everyone. It is a confronting and blunt tale, but I got a lot out of it. Hence, the five stars I gave it.
Evan Wright does not censor himself and nor should he. It is real, very real, to censor it would just be wrong. I came to this book after watching the mini series. I wanted to see how different they were. I found out that they are not different at all. What happens, and what is said, in the mini series, happens in the book. Well done Evan Wright.
Apr 24, 2015 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Wow. This was an incredible book. It was funny and yet heart-wrenching, and it was extremely difficult to put down when I needed to be doing other things like studying for exams. Evan Wright actually has a lot in common with Bill Bryson when it comes to his writing style. Instead of Katz providing essential humor in Walk in the Woods, Wright has every American soldier in the group to add those jaw-dropping "wait, did that actually happen?!" moments.

Loved it, highly recommend.
Sep 14, 2008 Kerry rated it really liked it
Dear Penthouse,
I never thought I'd actually read (or like) a book by one of your former writers. However, I found Generation Kill to be both alarming and humorous at the same time...
Apr 14, 2012 Ensiform rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, war
The author, a journalist at “Rolling Stone,” rides fully embedded with Marines of the First Recon Battalion as they spearhead the initial drive into Iraq, blazing through small towns and dealing with jihadists, fayadeen, and forward observers disguised as civilians. They sleep in “Ranger graves” (small holes in the sand) and talk nonchalantly as tracers whizz by overhead. With a keen ear for rough dialogue and a flair for making his subjects seem real and three-dimensional, Wright depicts the yo ...more
Jun 22, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it
This book touts itself as not merely a gritty account of the Iraq invasion (because, let's face it! These are a dime a dozen, especially from reporters) but as a window into understanding the generation of soldiers who voluntarily took part in what is now widely acknowledged as an ineffective and unnecessary war. While it does an excellent job of providing riveting, boots-on-the-ground perspective from a journalist embedded with a platoon repeatedly placed at the "tippety-tip" of America's letha ...more
Gayle Francis Moffet
Evan Wright was a reporter from Rolling Stone who got into the back of a Humvee with a group of Recon Marines and wrote about them tearing through Iraq in the early days of "Operation Iraqi Freedom." The book is equal parts astounding, shocking, and hilariously funny. Wright doesn't pull any punches regarding the men he's covering. They swear (a lot). They talk about how they enjoy killing (a lot). They bitch and moan and even get mildly mutinous at their superiors.

The result is a book that's s
Jul 28, 2011 Dave added it
Twenty-five years from now, this book will be the defining piece on the average grunts in the run up and initial invasion of Iraq. It started as a series of articles that the author, who was embedded with a company of Marines, did for Rolling Stone (ironically, it was a Marine Recon unit, which is the rough equivalent to the Army Rangers in the Marines, but they get stuck driving north in Humvees just like everyone else). The articles evolved into something more and this book in the result. Like ...more
Aug 12, 2009 Pete rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009, usa
Giving "Generation Kill" a full 5-star rating after giving "As I Lay Dying" and "Slaughterhouse 5" 4-star ratings feels a tad lazy, really. I could pretend to be fancier than I am, and claim that I enjoyed my first foray (!) into Faulkner and Vonnegut more than I enjoyed this 350 page, easily digestible account of some totally bad ass Marines fighting in Iraq, but I won't. I liked the Faulkner and Vonnegut books, sure, and I intend to read more by each author, but "Generation Kill" resonates mor ...more
Generation Kill was the last of HBO's war mini-series I had to watch. I left it for last because I figured I wasn't going to like it. I ended up absolutely loving it, however, and therefore wanted to read the book it was based off of. I found that the mini-series was actually quite close to the book, which makes the series even more impressive, but doesn't make for such great reading. It was so close that I felt like I wasn't getting much of anything new from the book. I was also having difficul ...more
Jack Pando
I really enjoyed this book. It really personified the individuals who went in during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the hardships that they had to endure. I believe that one of the most important ideas or theme in this book is the impact of decisions made by high up commissioned officers and the effect that they have on enlisted Marines. When they decide to charge through hostile areas with limited equipment and therefore change the Rules of Engagement and the Marines on the front lines have to f ...more
Feb 05, 2010 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military, non-fiction
Evan Wright, a journalist, joined a group of Recon Marines for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The book tells their and his story. Sometimes the soldiers come across as complete arses but at other times their humanity shows when they cry about injured children and adhere to the 'warrior code' by not shooting civilians if they can help it. It's also interesting to see the invasion from Wright's POV as a civilian and how he copes with the Marines' lifestyle. It's not a stuffy political book but quit ...more
Dec 02, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book was fascinating and terrifying and heartbreaking and obnoxious and shocking and predictable all at the same time. I read it as fast as I could.

The best part of the book is getting to know the men of the unit. Quite a lot of them are just weird. Not necessarily psycho (although some of them were - Trombley seriously seemed like a sociopath, and Captain America seemed both unintelligent and unhinged), but most of them were just really odd. Besides the usual obnoxious obsession with "male
Dec 26, 2011 Katie rated it it was amazing
If I could sum this book up with one word it would be OUTSTANDING! There are several reasons that I say this. I'm sorry to say that none of these reasons involve giving credit to Evan Wright for actually writing this book. Sorry Mr. Wright but I've got to give credit where it's due. Don't get me wrong, I give Evan Wright huge props for bravery by traveling along with the Marines elite during the first part of the invasion in Iraq. I also think he did a great job writing this book. But the real c ...more
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  • The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier's Account of the War in Iraq
  • Imperial Grunts: On the Ground with the American Military, from Mongolia to the Philippines to Iraq and Beyond
  • Chasing Ghosts: Failures and Facades in Iraq: A Soldier's Perspective
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  • The Good Soldiers
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That "author's photo" of me is an illustration done by my friend Hawk Krall, an awesome artist from Philly.

I had an odd path to writing which I describe in the first chapter of Hella Nation.

For the most part, my biography is contained in the books and articles I publish.
More about Evan Wright...

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“We're like America's little pit bull. They beat it, starve it, mistreat it, and once in a while they let it out to attack somebody.” 47 likes
“You know what happens when you get out of the Marine Corps," Person continues. "you get you brains back.” 20 likes
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