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My War

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  1,076 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews

Skateboarding party animal Colby Buzzell traded a dead-end future for the army-and ended up a machine gunner in Iraq. To make sense of the bloody insanity surrounding him, he started a blog about the war and how it differed from the government's official version. As his blog's popularity grew, Buzzell became the embedded reporter the Army couldn't control-despite its often

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 6th 2005 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published 2005)
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Jul 24, 2014 RandomAnthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 21, 2007 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 02, 2008 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 16, 2016 Elena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Che bello! Non ho letto molti altri libri di guerra quindi non posso fare un paragone vero e proprio però mi è piaciuto moltissimo.
Nelle descrizioni Colby è immediato, efficace, senza fronzoli, come dovrebbero essere tutte le testimonianze sulla guerra.
Descrive molto bene le missioni e le impressioni di quella che è la maggior parte dei soldati che partono senza veramente sapere cosa si aspettano. Perché la vera guerra non è quella dei film e se c'è un modo per avvicinarsi a capire come sia se
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,
Sep 13, 2007 Joanna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: iraqwar
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
Aug 12, 2008 Outoftunetoo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cool unbiased look at the war in Iraq by a soldier who kind of brought the "blogging while at war" deal to the forefront.
Andy Getch
Jan 02, 2017 Andy Getch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A worthwhile read with excerpts from a blog/diary written from the POV of an infantry soldier
Sep 22, 2016 Ailsa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 31, 2012 Sasha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Pris robichaud
Jan 04, 2009 Pris robichaud rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Jul 14, 2013 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 20, 2015 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in joining the armed forces, those interested in the War on Terror
Colby Buzzell just was a fuckup stoner living in LA when he decided to join the U.S. Army for both a job and the adventure. And that's how he ended up in Iraq with a Stryker vehicle combat brigade. He always kept a journal, so he decided to start a blog, My War, to share his experiences in Mosul, Iraq with the rest of the world. This book has both excerpts from his blog and his memories of his military experience. It is an interesting view on the Iraq War from this M240B machine gunner who was g ...more
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
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
Peter Buren
Apr 07, 2011 Peter Buren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 16, 2008 Erik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 25, 2008 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 01, 2015 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book perhaps for the most part due to the author. He is not egotistical or arrogant, gung-ho, etc. He portrays himself as more of a "bum" almost (sorry Buzzell if you read this!). He's gone from nothing jobs to nothing jobs, he's done drugs, he's 26, and seems like the
quintessential postmodern guy just making it through without really a care or purpose. Again, maybe
a little too harsh. Although Buzzell doesn't quite turn out to be like this: he is considerate (reflecting on validi
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
Aug 18, 2013 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 06, 2013 Michael Lawrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
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
Mar 27, 2014 Tammy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 16, 2012 Benzo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 25, 2012 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 13, 2010 Dalleer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 02, 2011 Kristy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 03, 2007 Miguel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: militarymemoirs
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
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
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Technique? 2 8 Oct 12, 2016 12:10AM  
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Colby Buzzell is the author of My War: Killing Time in Iraq, Lost In America: A Dead End Journey, and Thank You For Being Expendable & Other Experiences. Buzzell served as an infantryman in the United States Army during the Iraq War. Assigned to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team in 2003, Buzzell blogged from the front lines of Iraq as a replacement for his habitual journaling back in the states. I ...more
More about Colby Buzzell...

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