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In the Company of Soldiers: A Chronicle of Combat

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  975 ratings  ·  73 reviews
From Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author Rick Atkinson comes an eyewitness account of the war against Iraq and a vivid portrait of a remarkable group of soldiers

For soldiers in the 101st Airborne Division, the road to Baghdad began with a midnight flight out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in late February 2003. For Rick Atkinson, who would spend nearly two months co
ebook, 336 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published January 1st 2004)
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In In the Company of Soldiers Rick Atkinson chronicles his experiences as an embedded reporter with the 101st Airborne Division (air assault) during the Iraq war in 2003. His book brings back the concerns and fears of that war that have become somewhat blurred by time. I didn't find this book to be quite as engrossing as Atkinson's earlier The Long Gray Line, perhaps because In the Company of Soldiers is in fact a chronicle -- a diary of events as it were -- without a strong core theme. Other th ...more
The author shadows David Petraeus during the invasion of Iraq, and after each recounted episode contrasts the competence and integrity of the soldiers with that of the Bush administration.

Lots of minutiae about somewhat random things, like discussions over whether to tape or paint helicopter blades to protect them from the sand. Those particular details weren't completely random, the vulnerability of helicopters to ground fire and sand is mentioned repeatedly.

The story of the looting is interes
I found the book interesting, though not as engaging as Generation Kill. I suspect in part this is due to the strategic-level perspective of much of the book. I found my interest to be greatest when he was discussing his experiences and those of the people around him. It may be that for those that followed the invasion, the strategy is well known and what's interesting is the experience of the people, American and Iraqi, living through it.

I think the book also paints an interesting view of Gene
Christopher Blain
I loved the book. I was In D company 3/502INF 101st and I can tell you it is correct in every way. From those cold nights at Campbell loading trains to the hot hell of Karbala, it is those little details that civilians see as boring that saves our lives. Moving the 101st from Ft Campbell to Kuwait in a month and then invading a country is no easy task. 99% of what we do is boring, but it is that 1% that they write books about. We sit in that hot seat and make those life and death commands when o ...more
This is a real solid read. This book chronicles the Second Gulf war from the prep to the execution as the author spends the bulk of the book riding/flying etc. on the hip of Gen. Petraeus as He commands the US forces.

The book has a nice flow and is really focused on the leadership, and the headquarters perspective of the conflict including several interesting aspects related to the supply chain, and equipment considerations.

This book does not dive into a bunch of detail on the individual soldie
I have read a number of books by Rick Atkinson, and I am actually a big fan of his. However, this chronicle of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, as Atkinson was "embedded" with the staff of General David Petraeus of the 101st Airborne, was hard slogging for me. It did not keep my attention and I found myself oftentimes reluctant to return to it. I finally persevered and finished it.

Attached personally with Petraeus, Atkinson was allowed almost unprecedented access to the general, his meetings and hi

Based on the title, I was expecting a book detailing the grit of soldiers in battle but instead Atkinson writes about the time he spent with the 101 division leader General Patraeus and the upper commanding officers. There's more talk of logistics and strategy than men on the field. This was not what I was expecting and found it hard at times to keep my attention. I trudged through and in the end found that this was a tough read and yet had moments of glory.

It was interesting to read his descri
Joshua Emil
I'm a bit disappointed that I bought this in a second-hand bookstore. It might be worth the buy because (how I say), "the relationship would work".

In the Company of Soldiers by Rick Atkinson is the documentation of being "embedded" with an active combat infantry division. I had the expectation that he's not just going to focus on the 'top brass' or the senior officers who sit around and file reports; I thought more on frontline duty, patrols with the combat soldiers or simply, frontline action.
This is the story of one of the embedded journalists in the early days of the Iraq war. Rick Atkinson has written about war before (he found out one of his books won the Pulitzer while he was in Iraq) so his writing is a bit more sophisticated than some of the journalists who were embedded.

The book is divided into two parts, before and during. I was more interested in the before section. It was amazing to me to find out that, with all the money the US spends on intelligence, nobody had figured
A very interesting account of the invasion of Iraq. The author follows the 101st Airborne lead by current Head of Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Petraeous, in the lead up and the intial faze of the war in Iraq. You meet many of the officers involved in the planning and execution of the invasion plan. The behind-the-scenes look at how the invasion plan changes from hour to hour is most profound aspect of the book. It is not so much a infantry story, most of the novel is spent with the officers di ...more
Nov 05, 2007 Louis rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone wondering what modern war is like
Shelves: military, history
Rick Atkinson is a historian, who sometimes works for the Washington Post. He took a break from writing his WWII trilogy to be embedded with the U.S. 101 Airborne Division with then Major General Petraeus during the U.S. led invasion of Iraq during 2003.

It is an engrossing picture of a military commander in the midst of a war. The emphasis on logistics (his subordinate commands have to deal with tactics). All the little things that need to be ready. The things that an army prepares out of practi
Without doubt, Rick Atkinson is a fine war reporter. His book offers a fascinating insight into the 101st Airborne's war against terror..... or weapons of mass destruction .... or whatever this was about. If you require evidence beyond the prose then consider the author's apparently unlimited access to such a high status operator as General David Howell Petraeus. This is a tale of strategy, tactics and leadership.

Ironically, this is why I have rated the book as a 3, when I will be rating Generat
Dewayne Stark
Lots of details in the logistics of moving an army into battle. The author follows General Petraeus from a close observation point as he manages his command and I as a reader had forgotten his recent fall from leadership of the CIA. The Generals close connection to his running partners must have been the start of his Paula Broadwell matchup.
Grindy Stone
Atkinson again superimposes the US Army on the classical world, and gets to play the Ernie Pyle role for the Iraq War. Not as compelling as An Army at Dawn, though.

Pyle spent his time with the GIs while Atkinson spent his time with David Petraeus. Best piece of foreshadowing is the general losing his wedding ring.
This book is exceedingly well written, by a Pulitzer Prize winning author. I love books that send me to the dictionary to look up words. It's a straightforward account of a journalist embedded with General Petraeus during the Iraq war. Fascinating, both for those who've never been to war and those who have. For me, this wasn't a book I couldn't put down. It's not a novel; it's an account of what happened, and a very good one. It brings new understanding of the problems and logistics encountered ...more
Jan 07, 2008 Anthony rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This book provided a detailed and interesting history and perspective as written by Rich Atkinson as he was imbedded with the 101st Airborne Division. Atkinson's unique relationship with the 101st leadership walks you through the challenges of war from the complex logistical deployment in the beginning, to the lighning fast push to Baghdad, to the final occupation of the city.

This book isn't a shoot'em up adventure book, but more of an attempt to accurately depict the challenges and uncertainti
Rich Cranford
Very well written and engaging account of the 101st during the deployment and invasion portions of the Iraq war. Atkinson's access to the Division Commanders and his deputy commanders as well as the next higher and subordinate commanders provide a great narrative of the war from the senior tactical and operational leadership perspectives. This is not a tactical account of every engagement fought by the 101st or a sharp critique of the war justification and execution. Atkinson does express his do ...more
Chelsey Langland
Really 3.5. He is a great writer, no doubt. But he inserted too much of himself here, and it came across as an ego trip. The book is 10 years old and he made great predictions, and there is interesting stuff about logistics that I find fascinating. But again, too much Rick here.
Atkinson was an inbedded journalist with the 101st Airborn as it prepared and then invaded Iraq. He chose to stay at the division level and thus provides a broad view of the leadership, logistics and decisions of the early part of the war.

Why I picked it up: I love An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa and the rest of the WWII trilogy and I was eager to see what he would write in the modern war.

Why I finished it: Like the liberation trilogy's this book focused on the commanders and only had g
Jesper Jorgensen
In my humble opinion Rick Atkinsons book is in the same league as Max Hastings' 'Going to wars'
This account is vivid and I felt enlightened in many levels after reading it.
Frankly, this book is really bad and is interesting only insofar as it unwittingly shows how poorly the national media covered Iraq.

Rick Atkinson of The Washington Post was attached to General David Petraeus' command during the 2003 invasion, a posting that apparently gave him little insight into the war. Though he writes repeatedly of carrying a gas mask, it is only in the afterward that he manages to show introspection into the war's aims -- that is only after the Bush Administration was emba
Kunni Biener
The only negative is that I would have like a later afterword after the Petraeus resignation, to tie that into the man that he chronicled.
Found it a bit boring to be honest!

I love books about the Gulf Wars, hearing about the battles etc but this book was just so slow!

Really struggled to get into it at all.
I listened to an abridged version. I don't think I would have finished this book had it not been shortened. Might have been interesting when it was published.
I had read one book of Atkinson's (An Army at Dawn) previously and liked it. But after reading THIS book I will probably not be reading Atkinson again. I've read a lot of books about the Iraq War (as you can see)...not all of them necessarily complementary of the way we conducted ourselves there, and some outright critical of key strategic moves. But this author stands alone in his over-inflated ego combined with his hatred of anything associated with the Bush administration, both of which have ...more
Before Rick Atkinson was embedded into the 101st Airborne division, he had written a Pulitzer Prize winning book on the Second World War. Unlike other embeds, Atkinson had the military perspective that most of the reporters lacked. He manages to have both tactical and strategic (from the divisional level) perspective of the Iraq. He also gives us a view of the young(er) Gen Petraeus as he leads his division into battle against mostly the Saddam Fedayeen. The book does feel a bit like a blog at t ...more
Bill Slover
Read this some time ago, but the usual great read from Rick Atkinson
Atkinson is a talented journalist and has a gift as a war correspondent. There were, however, two problems I had with this book. Sometimes I got the sense that his ego shone through his writing and more importantly he allowed his political views to effect his story. I wanted to hear a first person account of the war in Iraq, not whether or not we should be there and whose fault it is that men die in Iraq.
Despite these negatives I would recommend this book for anyone interested in an accurate de
A mere 6 hour listen, short for me, but could only obtain abridged version from Library. I normally HATE abridged anything, but this was very well produced. Read by the author, Rick Atkinson, in the unabridged parts, and then a female voice read the abridgement summaries of chapters. Never heard one like that and found it throughly enjoyable.
The content of the story was about combat in Iraq and it was more readable than I thought it would be since basically I don't read recent history.
If you ar
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Born in Munich, in the Federal Republic of Germany, Atkinson is the son of a U.S. Army officer and grew up on military posts. He holds a master of arts degree in English literature from the University of Chicago. He is the best-selling author of The Long Gray Line, a narrative account about West Point’s class of 1966; Crusade, a narrative history of the Persian Gulf War; and An Army at Dawn , the ...more
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