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My War: Killing Time in Iraq
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My War: Killing Time in Iraq

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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  818 ratings  ·  98 reviews
An underemployed, skateboarding party animal, Colby Buzzell traded a dead-end future for the army—and ended up as a machine gunner in Iraq. To make sense of the absurd and frightening events surrounding him, he started writing a blog about the war—and how it differed from the government’s official version. But as his blog’s popularity grew, Buzzell became the embedded repo...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by Berkley Trade (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,286)
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RandomAnthony
Colby Buzzell’s My War is very good. Buzzell manages to write without pretension; he doesn’t seem to engage in scenes in order to write about them, nor does he seem to exaggerate to make himself look authorly. This is a harder trick, I imagine, that it looks. I’ve never been in the military, so I can’t speak to the realistic/unrealistic question related to My War, but I appreciate how honest Buzzell sounds. He’s patriotic without fanaticism, critical without self-righteousness, and humble withou...more
Lauren
Colby Buzzell is a California slacker turned soldier turned professional writier. His hold on literary technique is astounding. He is a natural writer.

This book is the story of a slacker's search for change and excitement, his experience as a soldier in Iraq, and his thoughts on the operation of the Army and the war in Iraq. The images of war he creates in the reader's mind are like those written in great war novels - but then you realize that this stuff really happened and still happens every...more
Nathan
Dec 21, 2007 Nathan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: war voyeurs
My War is an autobiographical collection of blog entries, anecdotes and musings about life in the US army in Iraq. The writing is not amazing, but the guy's got a really solid voice and his story-telling is very honest and funny.

Colby, on the subject of a fellow soldier insisting that he give is machine gun a name:

I thought about it for a second, and then I told him that I would name my M240 "Rosebud." He said that was a cool name, and then with a smile asked me, "So who's Rosebud?" I could t...more
Joanna
Based on his blog (of the same title and that caused great controversy a few years back when the Army got all pissed off about it) this book is a first hand account of life as a foot solider in Iraq. Buzzell captures the sentiments of someone in transition--he joined the army not out of patriotism but as a means to escape his going nowhere life back in the States. As his story progresses he begins to question the sanity of the Army and the legality of the Iraq war. What's being reported on the m...more
Tammy
Just one of the many first person accounts written about the war in Iraq. Many are good, or even great. This one is not one of those, in my opinion. While I admire the author for wanting to serve his country, even to get out of a "going nowhere, no good" situation, I think this may be part of why he portrays his time in Iraq in such a negative way.
War isn't any fun, and a soldier is most likely going to have to kill someone to save his/her own life. It doesn't seem like the author was prepared...more
Outoftunetoo
Cool unbiased look at the war in Iraq by a soldier who kind of brought the "blogging while at war" deal to the forefront.
Pris robichaud

Colby Buzzell, Fuck The War: CBFTW, 17 Jun 2007


My War by Colby Buzzell is nothing less than the soul of an extremely interesting human being at war on our behalf in Iraq."
-Kurt Vonnegut

Colby Buzzell, aged 26, in and out of meaningless jobs, drugging, drinking and tired of life went to a Marine recruiting station in San Francisco. He wanted to join and fight the war. Incredibly, he was told that there were no openings that month, to wait and come back. As he left the recriuters office, the Arm...more
MentorPublicLibrary
The author, Colby Buzzell, was one of the first soldiers to blog about his experiences during his year long tour in Iraq, and these blogs grew into "My War." It's a great read if you want the details of an army soldier's life in Iraq. He adds a nice element with his first-hand descriptions of battles, laid out in stark contrast to the sanitized versions that the army had published. In addition to his battle descriptions, he fills us in on the boring stretches that dominate army life, his fellow...more
Erik
This book kicked ass. It's a really quick read. The "Men in Black" section had me glued and in complete suspense. True stories always strike closer to home for me. The book really affected me, because I am a contemporary of this soldier. All the protests I went to in my early 20's can't compare to the revelations I got from reading actual reports from the battlefield. You can argue the politics until you're blue in the face, but Buzzell's book reveals the flesh and blood behind the big words of...more
Becky
Sep 25, 2008 Becky rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
what struck me most about this book was the realness of it. real and raw in the ways that he described himself, his fellow soldiers, his emotions...he didn't try to be a hero, he didn't try to glorify himself - that needs to be shown. a lot of these guys don't feel that they've done anything heroic - they feel that they're doing their jobs. i'm married to an enlisted soldier and while reading colby buzzell's words and experiences, i smiled a little as he told it how it is. as he said, "you do it...more
Sean McLachlan
I read Buzzell's famous memoir in preparation for my own trip to Iraq. While I was going as a tourist and not a soldier, I found this book to be really informative.

For example, Buzzell says, "[the women] would stare at us but as soon as you made eye contact, they would look away. The Iraqi men were a little different. They stare too, but don't look away, and if you wave, which is something they never initiate, they wave back, nervously."

That was 2003-4. In October 2012 the women still look away,...more
Peter Buren
One of many first-person accounts of the current Iraq War. These books have their place in presenting the raw material of history; unlike previous wars stretching back to ancient times, today’s war is documented in detail and with immediacy unknown previously. There is no need to sit around and wait for Thucydides to jot down what happened anymore, as real soldiers blog in real time about what is going on. The down side of course is Thucydides, by virtue of time and intellect, had a helluva lot...more
Sasha
You can check out some of my other reviews on my blog The Dancing Nerd Writes Again or see my full review of My War by clicking here .

Initial Thoughts:

I read this book for my Literature and War class.

I was excited, perhaps the more correct term is intrigued, to start reading a first hand account on the war in Iraq. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much about the war in Iraq and still don’t claim to be any sort of expert. It was a subject I decided to stay blissfully ignorant of but I am happy I...more
Becky
In twenty or thirty years, when we look back and decide what books truly defined the Iraq War, I have a feeling this one is going to be near the top of the list. Why? Partly because Colby Buzzell doesn't write like a guy who set out to write the Great Iraq War Memoir—so it has an authenticity that kicks you in the gut. You feel like Buzzell could be a guy you went to high school with.

But he's also a much better writer than most of the guys I went to high school with. He tells his own story in st...more
Tinea
A shaky three stars.

This is good for what it is: a primary source, the self-consciously expanded version of an infantryman's blog. Honestly, it made my stomach turn for how good a snapshot this was of my generation. The author is a kid out of high school for years, working crap job after crap job, friends to party with but not much else, who is pissed off at the world, full of energy but lacking motivation. He's my brother, ya know, the one who joined the Air Force? So this book is about his tim...more
01matts master chief
my war is an autobiography of colby buzzell, a skate boarding slacker from california. he decides that his life is not going in any real direction so he reluctlantly at first joins the army. after almos a year he is deployed to iraq as a heavy machine gunner in the first ever stryker brigade. after his first battle he decideds that the media is not telling the whole story so he obens up a blog and he tells the whole story the way he sees it. then the army decides that they dont like that sooo......more
Eric
I liked this book quite a bit. The author fought with the US Army in Iraq in the first years of that conflict. He gained notoriety for a blog he began while serving which was hailed for presenting an unvarnished view of the conflict that the media was unable to capture. The book largely contains posts from his blog, which are vulgar, honest, humorous, and moving. At times some of these feel a bit undigested as well, particularly long passages from military statements, media articles, letters, et...more
Kevin Tole
Pretty much what it says on the tin - word as spoken blog from a pretty regular member of generation x drawn into the army for the usual reasons (ie dead end / no future in civvy street, a growing reaisation that life was passing him by, some immediately graspable attempt to find some personal meaning) and sent to Iraq. Its also the story of how a Dead Kennedys / Stalker / metal fan ended up s a machine gunner (and by all accounts) pretty good soldier in Iraq. Its a well different slant from the...more
Michael Lawrie
To say this was a good story isn't really giving it justice. While Buzzell isn't as articulate as some of the great "literary" war authors (Orwell, Hemmingway) he does a great job of really telling it like it is for the current generation of kids over there fighting in Iraq.

This is a real no bullshit story. There is no titillating blood and gore, no enhanced heroics. It's the real deal.

I'm reminded of Thoreau's "A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers." In that story Toreau never once commen...more
Dolanej
This book is a blunt, unapologetic and often hilarious account of an infantryman in Iraq during the middle of the war on terror. Buzzell is intelligent in his writing as well, dishing out equal parts serious contemplation as well as brutal honesty.
Benzo
I know it's supposed to be very good, and as far as I'd say it's a very honest account of war (reminded me of Old Man and the Sea in that it was so tedious at points- obviously being a soldier is a lot more boring than the movies/tv suggests), but it didn't resonate for me the way I'd hoped it would. What Buzzell did was awesome, and it wasn't a bad read; it's more that I have no inclination to reread it and that no part of it kicked my ass or wowed me. With out having read anything else about t...more
Kristy
Apparently they will let any yahoo publish a book about deployment. War has never been so boring and immature. Just publish it as a series of excerpts in Maxim magazine and quit wasting paper.

Not to minimize this guy's experience...anyone who goes over there and risks their life has valuable lessons and stories to tell. I will likely be one of these people coming up soon, but if someone wants to read about this war, would not recommend this book. I really haven't found one that I would endorse....more
Dalleer
Quite simply an interesting book about a guy who ends up in the US army through one way or the other, and the gets his ass shipped into Iraq. From there on, the book becomes a realistic portrayal of simple survival in an extremely hostile enviroment.

I liked the "Generation X goes to war"-take of the book, since that's really something that has not been done that much so far, at least. Though, naturally there is Anthony Swofford's Jarhead, but that one was about a war fought almost twenty years...more
Katherine
Buzzell's honesty was refreshing. The book makes the reader feel like they are getting a straightforward account of what really went on, day-to-day, in Iraq. Buzzell did not seem to have either an anti-administration or pro-administration agenda and that seems to make his account seem even more credible. The book is essentially short stories in chronological order and so it was easy to get pulled away into other books I was reading. Plus, some of it was so raw and disheartening that I was reluct...more
Gurvan
Excellent book about war, life as a slacker and how to write a military blog while fighting In Irak. Loved it !
Ben The Liberal
This was an excellent read. Once I got past my own issues with the over-explanation of military terms and music references, the storyline was very upbeat and intriguing. The fact that there are other people in the armed forces that feel the same way I do about certain things is quite comforting. As for the story, it's the first book in a while that I had to finish before returning to my laundry list of currently-reading items. Sadly, I must return to that list now in hopes that one of them will...more
Jaspreet
had started it and noticed that at first the chapters were short and very easy to read. The author's enthusiasm and awe at the newness of things was contagious. As the book went on, much like the war itself, the chapters go longer and the writing was more complicated. At least one other reader talked about skimming parts of the book. I bet that a lot of us in the United States (at least) have been skimming the war coverage. Overall, I was glad to read this book. It provided an insightful, first...more
Rebecca
If you find it too depressing or political to read about the war, this is the book for you. Buzzell is both a dedicated soldier and an irreverant punk. His straight-talk about what it's like to serve over there really lays out America's love/hate relationship with war. Of course I'm a sucker for the whole literary coming of age tale, how he went from getting drunk and watching war movies to studying classic military writing while deployed to becoming one of the most important war reporters of hi...more
Miguel
Buzzel maintained a blog from his base ("FOB Marez get mortared a lot.") in Iraq, not the first one but probably the best one it gained popularity till Buzzel chain of command noticed and proceded to censure his work. He could have kept on writing but decided not to.

The book is roughly half part the blog materials and half part added stories ... sadly the added parts are not on par with the blog. Still put a brilliant minded individual in a situation like a war and the results are really worth r...more
Kevin Summers
I have read Anthony Swofford's 'Jarhead' and 'My War' reminded me a lot of Swofford's book. The big difference between the two books is that Buzzell's writing style is more realistic and less literary than Swofford's style.

Sample quote: "There are only two times that I've had second thoughts about the Army. One was the time in Iraq when I definitely thought I was going to get killed, and the other time was my first day of basic training."
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Technique? 1 7 Jul 02, 2010 02:34PM  
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