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The Hooligans of Kandahar

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  537 ratings  ·  61 reviews
During the peak of the Afghanistan War, a group of soldiers is dropped by helicopter into the remote mountains outside of Kandahar City. Mismanaged and overlooked by command, the squad must rely on each other to survive.

Their mission is to train and advise the Afghan National Police and help rebuild the country of Afghanistan. The Afghan Police station they are assigned to
ebook, 218 pages
Published August 19th 2018 by TCK (first published June 10th 2017)
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Stephen Clynes
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joseph is a soldier in the US Army and was deployed for a tour of duty based around Kandahar in Afghanistan. Follow Joseph and learn what it is like to serve as an American soldier in a combat zone.

The Hooligans of Kandahar is a very personal memoir and as Joseph explains at the start of his book…

All stories in this book are based on events that happened between May 2011 and May 2012 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Times, places, details and names have been altered to protect my fellow soldiers from a
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
‘The Hooligans of Kandahar’ is the war story that needs to be told, but which the U.S. government doesn’t want you to see. This is a true story of the war in Afghanistan told from a grunts-eye view. It is not just a story of war. More so, it is a story of young people struggling to preserve their lives, their sanity, and their humanity.

I have read many war memoirs in my time, covering periods ranging from the Civil War up to Operation Enduring Freedom. Many of these are written by retired colone
Robyn Bennis
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Hooligans of Kandahar feels honest to a degree that few war novels do—even among firsthand, nonfiction accounts. It doesn’t appear to have an agenda apart from putting down the facts as seen through one soldier’s eyes. Assignments and ops play out sans the usual narrative tendency to validate the author’s notions or bend to an overarching theme. Even the author’s flaws, toxic behavior, and outright screw-ups are presented without apology or reserve. That requires a bravery of its own—perhaps ...more
Dec 10, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I desperately wanted to give this book 5-stars, but—

I don’t like writing reviews about books I don’t like.

I wanted to like this book. I wanted it to be worthy of 5-stars. I wanted it to be an eye-opening read highlighting the travesties of war. I wanted it to shout out about how insane it is to send children to another land to fight a battle against other children, to make the world a safer place—regardless of the “reality” of the causes they are protecting us f
Book Review originally published here:

In The Hooligans of Kandahar, author Joseph Kassabian talks about his time as a soldier during the war in Afghanistan. A group of soldiers is dropped by a helicopter into the remote mountains outside of Kandahar City. Overlooked by command, and mismanaged, their survival is entirely up to them. Some lose their sanity, some their humanity, but no one leaves unscathed.

The story isn’t sensationalized, nothing like Rambo
Jan 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised about this novel, never having heard of it before I saw it on Amazon. In many ways it reminded me of Catch 22, although not as comprehensive. But this book clearly focuses on the absurdities inherent in war and the impact it can have on those involved. While reading I kept wondering how much was fiction and how much was memoir, but all of it was believable.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Boom, baby!

Is that what you expect? Yeah, you'll have lots of explosions in this story too. The difference is that you will not find those super-soldiers glorified in movies or in adventure novels. You will not find anything glamorous or sensational, and if you expect adventures in which the heroes are like those you have been used to, such as SEAL, Rangers, Delta or others like them, I tell you: you didn’t find the right book.

Joseph Kassabian's book does not want to praise the war or the civili
Nate Granzow
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A powerful indictment of the GWOT from the ground-level perspective of a U.S. Army infantryman. Often grim, though at times bleakly humorous, this memoir reads easily and gives a pleasant alternative to the sometimes bombastic accounts written by special operations veterans.
Scott Skipper
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Joe has been in the Army for five years. At twenty-two, he is deployed to Afghanistan with a squad of misfits who he loves and hates. The living conditions are squalid, the Army can do nothing right, the Afghans want them dead, the Afghan police refuse to do anything, and his squad leader is insane. The summers are blisteringly hot, the winters are numbingly cold. The sanitation in camp is deplorable, and outside, it’s worse. Second Squad is sent on endless missions with no point but to stumble ...more
Colby Spencer
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not your stereotypical "war memoir". It's not meant to glorify or sensationalize; but you are unlikely to get a more true and personal look in to the lives and experiences of an American Solider sent to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. It's exceptionally well written, especially for it being this writer's first published work. It stays engaging. A certain "dark sense of humor", often attributed to that of the American Soldier, helps keep you laughing while still remaining concerned fo ...more
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Very accurate and weirdly similar to my deployment to Afghanistan even though I was in a different branch and went 2 years before his deployment. Seems like the country didnt change after I left lol.
Timothy D. Cook, Jr.
Great true account of a soldiers experience in Afghanistan

This book was a sometimes sad and sometimes humorous account of the authors experience in Afghanistan. Having served there myself in 2002/2003, the book definitely brings back some memories.
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.5. Four stars for content, three for presentation.

The danger and the everyday living conditions and the lack of danger and the excessive boredom didn't surprise me. The multiple descriptions of vomit and diarrhea and masturbation didn't shock me. The varying chronology was fine because each chapter is theme-based, and the majority of the story reads chronologically. And I can easily imagine Kassabian speaking and reading his work.

It's the way certain (i.e., not white and/or not male) p
Nadishka Aloysius
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember watching Tour of Duty and MASH when I was young. Since then, however, I haven't really watched or read many war-based stories. I guess after 9/11 truth got stranger than fiction! Also, having lived through a 30 year old civil war in my own country of Sri Lanka, and coming from a service-family myself with both parents in the Air Force (my father died in combat), I haven't read much non-fiction on the subject. Anyway, this is my first book about the war on terror.
What prompted me to bu
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Episodic and raw, Hooligans is a memoir to be read in spurts. I really appreciated Kassabian’s honest style and storytelling, it felt like hearing a friends stories at a bar. After the conclusion (?) my main takeaway is that I hope the author has found some place with this experience and himself. Solid recommend.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably one of the most amazing stories I have read in a long time... Joe's story telling made me feel as if I was there with his descriptions of the dust, unforgiving heat, and the bullshit. Especially the bullshit... There were times I had to put the book down, and just process the absolute stupidity of this unit's leadership. And honestly as a veteran myself, I shouldn't be surprised, but damn.... ...more
jacob precht
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Breathtakingly accurate

Joe, outstanding depiction. Having been on the east side with Bravo Spirit, and the hearing the accounts of Grizzly soldiers back in the rear, you nailed it brother. I wasn’t there with you guys, but reading this was like being next to you and the other Hooligans. Well done!
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably the most authentic account of life at a smaller patrol base in Afghanistan from the perspective of a young enlisted soldier. Not unbelievably heroic, not sterile and sanitized, and not full of the kind of inauthentic speculation about life, war, etc. that some people (who have never been to a place like that) would expect, but facts, first-hand experiences, interpersonal drama, and the minor and major challenges which are life when deployed. (I worked as a contractor for years in Iraq a ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Hooligans of Kandahar is the best war memoir I've ever read. It succeeds where some many others fail. It tells the truth of what war is in this modern day world. Confusing, drudgery, and forever changing. But it also tells of the military truthful. Not as some noble collection of battle harden brothers in arms, but as well people. Some you hate. Some you like. Some you love. It shows the oftentimes lack of sense or reason, but also the glimpses of true leadership. Hooligans succeeds because ...more
Carl Nelson
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The realism of this book hooked me early and kept me reading til it was done. I wish it could have gone on. I think that people sometimes think that a military story has to be non-stop action with bullets flying and shit blowing up in order to keep readers interested. But sometimes it's those quiet moments that are the most meaningful. The times that are spent clowning and getting shit-faced and acting a fool and leaving the violence behind if only for a little while.
Kudos on this wor
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Want to read a war book? Forget all of those flavor-of-the-month SEAL kill memoirs, they're as disposable as they are vacuous. Check out Hooligans of Kandahar, full of dark humor, pain, and hard truths. A serious self reflection of war and his role in it, Joe doesn't hold back and he sure as hell isn't trying to gain your sympathy or respect. Read this book if you want to see an honest take on the Forever War. ...more
Riley Dosh
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No recent book has made me cry or laugh as hard as thus

The raw emotions and brutal honesty stand in stark contrast to most war stories you will read. This isn't a hero's story about saving Afghanistan, killing the Taliban, or a heroic firefight. This is about dick drawings, jerking off in guard towers, getting dysentery, barely hanging onto sanity, the abject misery and finding joy in the smallest of port-o-johns.
Anthony Latorre
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reality hurts!

Joe Kassabian has done for the Soldier Grunt in Afghanistan what Bob Leckie (Helmet for my Pillow) and Eugene Sledge (With the Old Breed) did for the Marine Grunt in the Pacific. May be a 70 year difference, but the God awful environment is the same. Great narrative. Profane and obscene, but the language is real and unfiltered.
Tony Latorre
Col USMC (Ret)
Lauri Savolainen
Very earnest and honest account of the Afghanistan war that pretty much illustrates the futility of the whole thing. Honestly it does remind me of some of the Vietnam-related stuff I have been reading lately.
William Napier
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Outstanding prose and story. A great writer. I really enjoyed his lines. Especially the statement regarding Hemingway. I also felt his pain in regards to some of the idiotic orders he received.
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book gives a raw depiction of the Afghan war from a far from perfect soldier on the ground in Kandahar. It's shows the futility of war there. It shows no heroes, no political agenda nor promising end to the chaos. ...more
An Le
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war

I can only describe this book as a deeply personal story of men at war. A GWOT version of Michael Herr's Dispatches.
Chaplain Stanley Chapin
A frank account of military service

Although I served and am proud of it, there an immense amount of boredom, wrong or misinterpreted orders and plain screw up.
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Realistic to a fault

So very much exactly what life in the military is like. Funny when you are outside it and clean, not so much while living it.
Sarika Patkotwar
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating: 3.5

*This review was initially published at The Readdicts Book Blog. For more reviews, go here .

It is not a secret that I like to read books set in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Previously, I have read books about the US Marine Corps deployed in Afghanistan. I have read about the pre and post mission which focuses on the anxiety that they face before going to another country and the depression they suffer from once they’re back home. The Hooligans of Kandahar is such a unique non-fi
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Joseph was born and raised in Metro Detroit before enlisting in the US Army when he was seventeen years old. He deployed multiple times to combat zones. He eventually turned his experiences into his first book, The Hooligans of Kandahar.

He left the Army in 2013 and began attending Michigan State University, majoring in European History.

When he is not writing or buried in a book he spends his time

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