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Jarhead: A Solder's Story of Modern War
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Jarhead: A Solder's Story of Modern War

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  6,635 ratings  ·  472 reviews
In his "New York Times" bestselling chronicle of military life, Anthony Swofford weaves his experiences in war with vivid accounts of boot camp, reflections on the mythos of the marines, and remembrances of battles with lovers and family.When the U.S. Marines--or "jarheads"--were sent to Saudi Arabia in 1990 for the Gulf War, Anthony Swofford was there. He lived in sand fo ...more
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Published January 3rd 2006 by Scribner (first published January 1st 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Shovelmonkey1
Jan 09, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who passed an opinion on that war
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: saw the film and liked it. Read the book same goes
Ahoy. So listen up grunts...

I'm lying on my rack in my skivvies and I'm paging through this book with my dick-skinners while occasionally stopping to pop a rhubarb and custard sweet into my cum receptacle. This is not the suck. It is merely a book about the suck. You'll be able to tell the difference because you will not be getting friendly fucked whilst reading this book and there should be a distinct lack of sand, gasoline or a 120 degree temperature. Obviously if you have chosen to read this
...more
Aaron
A few years ago I watched the movie Jarhead and was pleased to find the book was much better. I don't think this book is for everyone, but speaking for myself it is among the best autobiographies I have come across, regardless of the style or subject matter. Rather than sell his story or this work, I'd like to respond to two of the general themes that I see in the reviews.

First, I feel the book was very carefully organized, perhaps I could say crafted. Swofford does not tell his story strictly
...more
Silvana
Welcome to the Suck.

Being a jarhead is frustrating. At least, that's what been described so vividly by Anthony Swofford.

Jarhead means a member of the United States Marine Corps. When used by civilians it could be considered derogatory, but it is used often among Marines. The term originates from the "high and tight" haircut that many Marines have, which makes their head look like a jar. It did NOT originate from their uniform or cover.

This book reminded me of another novel, Catch-22, although no
...more
Jessie
This book and the movie it inspired will always be at the top of my list. This is the most realistic look at war from the viewpoint of any service member. You join the military thinking I'm gonna go kick doors in, blow stuff up, and end human lives when in all actuality most service members never see combat of any type. Mind you in this book and in the movie the author and his unit get mortared and shot at a couple of times but nothing major. The biggest thing that I love to point out about this ...more
Damson
Having seen the film years ago, I'd always wanted to read the book. Would it bring a different perspective? Would it add to what I saw and understood from the film?

Yes. Yes it would. Yes it did.

I've always been one of those girls who's pretty vocal about not understanding why men choose to join the military; who tries to argue that surely there's a better way out of whatever it is you're escaping than fighting other men? I never understood what was going through a man's head to want to kill.

But
...more
Greg
If I could give this book zero stars I would. This has nothing to do with the 1st gulf war. It has to do with the ramblings of an immoral, narcissistic misogynist with a chip on his shoulder who should have been kicked out of the Marine Corps during 1st phase. He comes across as being one of those Marines we called the bottom 10% who made life hard for everyone else.

Swofford exaggerates or flat-out lies about many of his experiences, i.e. peeing his pants multiple times in boot camp, holding a g
...more
Terri
If you go into this book expecting fire fights, skirmishes, battles and sorties, then you are coming at this book from the wrong direction, or you have the wrong book.
Jarhead is what the title says it is. A book about a Jarhead. A young man in the service of the United States Marine Corp. Don't go into the book expecting anything but that. It concerns a Marine's journey towards becoming a Marine and a Sniper and who then joins the boots on the ground in the Middle east for the Gulf War conflict
...more
Benjamin Solah
This is by no means an explicitly anti-war novel. It’s more an honest account and because the honest truth is that war is vicious and atrocious, an anti-war message cannot be hidden except through lies.

Anthony Swofford was a U.S. sniper during the first Gulf War and Jarhead tells his story of life in the Marines and fighting in this war. His whole experience in coloured by power-hungry and vicious officers, rowdy nights out with fellow Marines and of course, the in your face brutality of killing
...more
TBML
Jul 09, 2009 TBML rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This is some of the very best war writing, and hence reading, I have ever encountered. An added bonus for me was listening to the Recorded Books, LLC version with Swofford himself narrating. Unlike some (even outstanding) authors, Mr. Swofford is a superbly accomplished reader as well, which made hearing the author's presentation of his work doubly enjoyable.

Swofford was a Marine sniper in the first Gulf War. He is unflinchingly honest in examining everything about the whole experience from boot
...more
Alex
Anthony Swofford's memoir of being a Marine grunt/sniper in the Gulf War is a tedious read. The depiction of the Gulf War feels correct: an over-hyped, oil-driven war that turned out to be completely anti-climactic. Swofford and his fellow marines (did I almost write "machines"?) felt cheated, in the end, because instead of the death, danger, and glory they were promised, the Gulf War didn't end up being an infantry war at all —it was an air-and-armor turkey-shoot, and ended in far less time tha ...more
Renee
{Warning: Strong language} Once upon a time I read a review of the book Jarhead, by Anthony Swofford, which peaked my interest. DH Jeff was thoughtful enough to pick me up a copy. I'm glad he's not a marine, or at least anyone like Mr. Swofford. Honestly, I kept thinking, "what a horse's a-- this guy (Swofford) is." And, did I need any reminders that so many of our young marines will screw anything around - and I do mean anything? Especially while they're bemoaning their unfaithful women at home ...more
Brianna Jensen
This review is for Jarhead by Anthony Swofford; published by POCKET BOOKS in 2005 at 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. After reading this memoir of Anthony Swofford I found that I can definitely recommend this book to others. Overall this text gives the reader an insight into a Marine’s preparation for war, and more specifically into their preparation for Operation Desert Storm. In my own opinion, I would say that this novel has it’s moments of excitement in the plot and other ti ...more
Ziad Mougharbel
A Marine’s Chronicle Of The Gulf War And Other Battles
by Anthony Swofford
Pub Date: Mar. 4th, 2003
ISBN-13:978-1-4165-1340-7
Publisher: Scribner

The memoir Jarhead by Anthony Swofford is a great authentic representation of what happened during the Gulf War from the perspective of a marine.

Due to the nature of the Gulf War it was much less gruesome, nevertheless it was still a war. Jarhead was a memoir and it talked a lot about the main character’s experience as a Marine in the Gulf War. The book ex
...more
Leslie Montes
Apr 14, 2015 Leslie Montes rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers who enjoy war books
Recommended to Leslie by: My senior English teacher
Jarhead by Anthony Swofford

A Marine’s Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles
by Anthony Swofford
Published: 2003
ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-1340-7
ISBN-10: 1-4165-1340-X
Publisher: Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

This memoir written by Anthony Swofford tells the story of his life on the front-lines of the first Gulf War from August 1990- April 1991, while he was a part of the U.S. Marines Surveillance and Target Acquisition Platoon, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines. It is a rivet
...more
Chana
I don't know.
#1 How much of it was true?
#2 Is this crude language and behavior just part of being a Marine? The drill instructor in basic screams in his ear "faggot, addict, cum-sucker, bitchmaster, dickskinner, dickfuck, fuckforbrains, no pecker, and lilywhitebitch"; pornography is rampant, going to bars and "screwing whores" seems like a goal most of the Marines have, drinking is worse than in a frat house, the dead enemies are desecrated and stolen from, the leadership is not trusted nor trus
...more
James Korsmo
This is not an easy book to read. That doesn't mean it isn't well-written, which it is, or that it lacks action, because it doesn't. Instead, it is an often uncomfortable book. It dispels the illusion we all harbor to one degree or another that war is noble and that warriors are likewise noble. Instead, Swofford recounts his own experience in the Marine Corps, first as a line grunt in training and then as a member of the elite Surveillance and Target Acquisition Platoon (that is, a member of the ...more
Hank
I've heard a number of enlisted Marines talk about how "realistic" this movie/ book is. Perhaps I'm a bit idealistic, but I think Mr. Swofford exaggerates in a very sincere seeming way in order to draw the reader to a familiar Vietnam-victimized-unknowing soldier being taken advantage of by the privileged few.

Yes, some of the urban-myths that Swofford claims to have occurred in his unit may have happened over time and among the hundreds of thousands of short & long Marine careers. But I dou
...more
Tung
The acclaimed memoir from a Marine who served in Operation Desert Storm. This book irritated the heck out of me; I found it completely overrated. The only compliments I can pay this book are twofold: first, it’s very readable – you should finish this in a sitting; secondly, there are moments where the book overcomes its myriad problems and provides clear insight into the thought processes and feelings that a Marine probably experiences. For instance, Swofford describes a moment after the war has ...more
David Schroeder
Jarhead is a very realistic imagery story about being a Marine during the Gulf War, and the effect the war had on them. I rated Jarhead with a 3 because it was an exciting story, but didn't give a very good image for the Marine Corps. It made all soldiers look like drunks who have no self-control and didn't care about American values in any way, when in reality, most soldiers don't feel this way at all.

This book has quite a few strengths; it is exciting, and catches your attention quickly. The c
...more
Judith Johnson
I first heard of this book when I listened to Anthony Swofford guesting on Libby Purves' BBC Radio 4 programme Midweek. He sounded like a really thoughtful, decent person and I bought his book some time later. It sat on my to read shelf until a week or so ago when I was heading out to Paris for a visit to the Marne Battlefields (World War One). I've read a lot of WW1 memoirs, and it struck me this would be a good book to take out there - that we all owe it to modern soldiers to learn something o ...more
Sam
A very candid and open account of life during the first Gulf war. The book is written as though the author is there in front of you telling you his story. His description of life in the Desert and how people passed the time and coped with the seemingly never-ending waiting is interesting, enlighting and slightly disturbing. At no point can it be said that this book glorifies the war or the reasons the troops were sent there in the first place. A very valuable insight into the mind of a Marine an ...more
Gerry
This is a classic case of book being better than movie. I read the book before I saw the movie and the movie was disappointing. I have praise for Swofford on his ability and it was good to see a fellow Marine (though I don't know him personally) write an account of Operation Desert Shield and Storm. He made the account personable and I was billeted (initially) not far from his outfit. I recall the fight that broke out after the unfortunate event with the Marine and the video of his wife with ano ...more
Tom George
Jarhead is an account of the first Gulf war in 1991, by one of its combatants - US marine Anthony Swofford. In war book terms, we’re talking Catch 22 rather than Bravo Two-Zero territory, and considering its merit, it may well end up in the literary canon (cannon?) along with Joseph Heller’s work.

The term ‘Jarhead’ refers to the style of crew-cut favoured by US marines, which results in a head that looks like a jar. Key traits of the Jarhead according to Swofford are stupidity and violence, whet
...more
Deanna
Jarhead
Anthony Swofford
Publisher: Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Place of Publication: 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
Published: 2003

Jarhead, a memoir of gruesome occasions marines conquered in Iraq during the first Gulf War explicitly showed the hardships soldiers went through.

Anthony Swofford tells his story of marines in Iraq who suffered not only emotionally, but physically. Camped in the dry deserts of the middle east, soldiers attempted to live a nor
...more
Alyssa Montgomery
Jarhead
Anthony Swofford
Publisher: Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Place of Publication: 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
Published: 2003

The war memoir, Jarhead, by Anthony Swofford is a book about the experiences of marines and the hardships that they go through. It’s narrated by the author, Anthony Swofford, who is a marine himself. This is why the book is so effective, because it is all a true story. He therefore knows personally how painful war can be, and
...more
Blake Kirkham
Jarhead: A Marine’s Chronicles of the Gulf War and Other Battles
By Anthony Swofford
Pub Date: March 4th, 2003
ISBN: 0743287215
Publisher: Scribner Book Company

Anthony Swofford has illustrated the complex thoughts and demons of a common soldier (Jarhead). Anthony born into a military family had always tried to live up to his heritage of fighting with his father participating in the vietnam war and Grandfather in World War II. As he turned 18 terrified of the possible failure of his life he enlisted
...more
James
I've only read a handful of military memoirs - in fact, this is my third. And less by choice than by chance they all involved modern US soldiers. The first was One Bullet Away, Nate Fick's memoir about the most recent Iraq war, and the second American Sniper, the infamous account of Chris Kyle. I read Fick's book on a recommendation and Kyle's as a matter of curiosity when it was released. Both flow easily, speak frankly and are surprisingly blunt and spartan. Both were also an exercise of catha ...more
Keith Hill
As a Marine veteran of the Iraq war, I recommend this book. I sort of wish I hadn't read it while deployed to Iraq though. I was there in 2003 for eight months with 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, in an infantry battalion. We invaded Baghdad and occupied the city of Najaf for another five months afterward. I saw limited combat and earned my Combat Action Ribbon, like Swofford.

In fact, I even served in one of the battalions he did.

With that being said, the reason why I wish I hadn't read it is that w
...more
Jared Della Rocca
A number of books over the years have tried to exemplify the life of the grunt/boot/cannon fodder. Written from both the first-person and third-person perspective, they have often blended fiction and non-fiction. Much like the fog of war, it's hard to draw the line, even in non-fiction, which is actual fact and which has become either hyperbolized or some sort of composite of truth.
Jarhead, with Black Hawk Down, has become my generation's account of war, focusing particularly on the first Gulf W
...more
Ethan Verebelyi
Jarhead by Anthony Swofford
Publication info: Scribner, New York, 2004
ISBN: 978-0-7432-4491-6

*possible spoilers ahead*
Jarhead is the memoir of Anthony Swofford during his time in the United States Marines. The book tells his story from the beginning of training through the end of his time in the middle east and focuses in on the physical and psychological demands that soldiers face during war. Anthony doesn’t just face enemy fire, he also has to deal with a host of psychological traumas least of
...more
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Anthony Swofford is a former United States Marine and author of the book Jarhead, published in 2003, which is primarily based on his accounts of various situations encountered in the first Gulf War.
More about Anthony Swofford...
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