Oceana2602's Reviews > Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America, and the New Face of American War

Generation Kill by Evan Wright
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Dec 31, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: english, male-writers, 2011, military
Read from December 31, 2010 to January 07, 2011

So, Generation Kill.

I've been wanting to read this book for a long time, for various reasons, and I wasn't disappointed. I'm not sure it really "deserves" four stars from a literary POV, but I enjoyed it very very much, hence the four stars.

I'm using the word "enjoyed" very carefully - yes, I liked reading Generation Kill, I would read it again, and I would recommend it as reading material. But due to its subject (for those of you who don't know, it's about the US's 2003 invasion of Iraq), it certainly isn't an "enjoyable" read as such. The horrors of war are very present in the book, although it doesn't focus on it (maybe wrongly so, some will say). I'm sure that for someone like me who doesn't watch regular tv (like the news) and gets all her news from the papers and the internet, it is less horrible than for people who see pictures with what they are reading. Still, there are quite a few scenes in this book that I consciously had to avoid picturing, because those were pictures I just didn't want to see.

Still, as far as war reporting goes, I would consider this book pretty harmnless - especially in the way it doesn't judge. Actually, it sometimes seems as if the author is too passive, too neutral. But I guess his intent wasn't to talk about the war or the US-involvement in Iraq, but about the people he acoompanied during his time there - and he did an excellent job doing just that, and by that painting the picture of what he calls "Generation Kill" - young men who have chosen a career as marines for various reasons, who come from very different backgrounds and who will end up doing very different things when they return from Iraq - but who all have in common that they have been trained to kill and are expected, ordered to kill - to do things that, as one persons says in the book, would land them in jail if they were doing them at home.

I found it a fascinating read that I will think about for quite some time, but beware - this is not a political or critical book - I think it targets the same audience that it describes - an MTV generation with a short attention span. But I found it even more interesting because of that - you just have to take it for what it is.
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