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Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America, and the New Face of American War

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  17,057 ratings  ·  851 reviews
Another nameless town, another target for First Recon. It's only five in the afternoon, but a sandtorm has plunged everything into a hellish twilight of murky, red dust. On rooftops, in alleyways lurk militiamen with machine guns, AK rifles and the odd rocket-propelled grenade. Artillery bombardment has shattered the town's sewers and rubble is piled up in lagoons of hu
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Berkley Caliber (first published June 17th 2004)
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Liza Boyd Not a work of fiction. True story. Evan Wright was hired by Rolling Stone to report on the invasion of Iraq. He joined this platoon and rode with them…moreNot a work of fiction. True story. Evan Wright was hired by Rolling Stone to report on the invasion of Iraq. He joined this platoon and rode with them to Baghdad. This book is based on three magazine pieces he filed with Rolling Stone in the spring/summer of 2003.(less)
Tommy It's pretty straight forward and could be read either way. It probably won't change anyone's beliefs on the war but it does a really good job humanizi…moreIt's pretty straight forward and could be read either way. It probably won't change anyone's beliefs on the war but it does a really good job humanizing the actors involved, along with their interactions among each other and the Iraqis they encounter. As one would expect from the complexities of the engagement and the struggles many soldiers have encountered upon return to civilian life, these interactions were complicated and often difficult to pass judgement on. (less)

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Landry Smith
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Generation Kill by Evan Wright is a firsthand account of a reporter embedded with the Marines of Force Recon Battalion during the invasion of Iraq. Jam-packed with details,this novel portrays the struggles and terrors that the marines face in the war.From weapons malfunctioning to choices that the higher ranking officers have caused,Evan Wright explains everything that happened during his two months with the marines.
Throughout the story, the marines encounter problems with their enemies.Someti
Ten things I learned from Generation Kill that I really should have known already:

10.) A shamal is a wind blowing over Iraq and the Persian Gulf that can cause horrible dust storms. The resulting weather can make things like driving, sleeping in the open, and not getting putrid, red eye infections difficult.

9.) Sabka is a geological phenomenon particular to the Middle East which appears to be plain desert, with a crust of sand about an inch thick, but beneath that crust is quicksand made of ta
US Marines. Jarheads. Devil Dogs. Many names to call them but none could really embody the essence and the spirit. Compared with the other military branches in the US Armed Forces, I think this one is the most unique, and thus most intriguing. This memoir told a story about the marines based on direct view from a reporter (from Rolling Stones magazine) who was embedded in the First Recon Battalion, one of the first units deployed in and entering Iraq in 2003. Cynics or critics may say this is a ...more
Apr 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
There is something that Evan Wright was able to do in writing this book that the other authors, even the award winners like Dexter Filkins and Steve Fainaru, were not able to do and that is extricate himself from the story and allow it to be solely about the men. Wright is so invisible in the mix that you forget he is riding along in the humvee with the rest of the recon marines. He is able to so skillfully express who these men were and what they are all about, that the entire work reads like f ...more
Jan 29, 2009 rated it did not like it
Disclaimer: This reviewer is a gentle and peaceful person. Truly.
Interestingly, although I posted this review almost a year ago, I haven't heard from a goodreads person ("community manager") until now about it. Possibly because Evan Wright has become a "goodreads author"? Maybe that has nothing to do with it, but possibly goodreads wants to become "Lifetime Books" or literally, "Good Reads" - they don't want critical reviews or anything negative written about their "goodreads authors". In the s
Dec 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers curious about Iraq invasion or Marines, Readers who like dark humor and grit
I knew virtually nothing about the Iraq invasion--especially the conditions on the ground. This book made much of the military strategy (and some of the most shocking, sad, and funny moments) quite real to me. It did so without losing me in military terminology, or seeming patronizing by dumbing it down *too* much. The author's tone was appropriately masculine and efficient.

My greatest commendation goes to the author's contrast between the inexperienced young men going in and their more jaded se
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
I had no idea this book would be so funny, but for real, it's hilarious. Also exhausting and enraging and painful. And truly excellent, for the record.

For anyone who doesn't remember, this is the account of a reporter embedded in a marine recon unit during the invasion of Iraq. And by "embedded" I mean he rode in the lead car that was repeatedly the northernmost American presence in Iraq, and the very tip of the invading spear. There are a lot of firefights recounted – or more accurately, a lot
Lee Sherred
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very good book, I really enjoyed it. An intriguing insight into modern warfare through the eyes of an attached journalist with no previous military experience at all...and, bizarrely, from Rolling Stone magazine of all things? It was interesting to read about the authors STEEP learning curve when it came to basic things that a soldier takes for granted. Initially, he was clearly seen as a burden and someone not to be trusted but, as the book progresses, it's nice to see how he developed a bond w ...more
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This is an account of the Marines of First Recon Battalion in the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. A representative (and hilarious) excerpt:
“Their wild fire continues. Then the voice of Captain America comes over the radio, quavering and cracking. ‘Enemy, enemy! They’ve got us on both sides!’

‘Oh, my God!’ Person says. ‘Is he crying?’

‘No, he’s not,’ Colbert replies, cutting off what will likely be a bitter tirade about Captain America. In recent days, Person has pretty much forgotten
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
it's really amazing how faithful the miniseries was to the book, right down to the dialogue ...more
Nov 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I am still digesting this book and will for awhile, I suspect. The author was an embedded reporter in First Recon Marine battalion in the early days of the Iraq war. First Recon Marines do just that---go in first, before anybody else, and open up the way. The descriptions are brutal, graphic and sometimes unbearable. As a woman and a mother, I was devastated at the sights and sounds and experiences of these young men. Iraq is hell for everyone--soldiers and Iraqi citizens alike. For the American ...more
Carol Storm
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books I've ever read about the Iraq War. The only book I can compare it to is OUTLAW PLATOON by Sean Parnell. It's much more candid and uninhibited than the Bing West books, like THE SMALLEST TRIBE, though those books are very good too. I recommend this book to everyone who has ever served in the military or is interested in what military service means. ...more
Don Mitchell
Nov 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: I'm a virulent peacenik who believes the only just US military actions in the past 50 years were Bosnia and the initial Afghanistan liberation, and both for the same reason—stopping totalitarian genocide (Afghani misogynistic tyranny). I believe we use the military career as a means to pacify our permanent underclass—their only hope for the true opportunity we won't give them otherwise. I am so radical that I believe we should reduce our military by 60%.

I listened to this book becaus
Sep 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Xon by: Marines
Shelves: war
A couple of Marines who were in Iraq told me to read this book because it accurately described a bunch of young kids invading Iraq. So I guess the fact that I thought the book was just OK would be more of how I feel about Iraq than how the well the book is written. These marines go into Iraq and meet very little resistance. There are no major battles, no overcoming of impossible odds, and no stories of heroism. I have become accustomed to being overwhelmed with bravery and heroic acts when I rea ...more
This book is not for everyone. It is a confronting and blunt tale, but I got a lot out of it. Hence, the five stars I gave it.
Evan Wright does not censor himself and nor should he. It is real, very real, to censor it would just be wrong. I came to this book after watching the mini series. I wanted to see how different they were. I found out that they are not different at all. What happens, and what is said, in the mini series, happens in the book. Well done Evan Wright.
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This was an incredible book. It was funny and yet heart-wrenching, and it was extremely difficult to put down when I needed to be doing other things like studying for exams. Evan Wright actually has a lot in common with Bill Bryson when it comes to his writing style. Instead of Katz providing essential humor in Walk in the Woods, Wright has every American soldier in the group to add those jaw-dropping "wait, did that actually happen?!" moments.

Loved it, highly recommend.
Decent 3 Stars account of the US Marine Recon "tip of the spear" on the eastern flank of the invasion of Iraq. Good companion to One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer ...more
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Guys who pee on birdfeeders
I didn't even know this book was written, mostly because I am usually deployed. And when I am deployed, I don't want to read about being deployed. I stick to fantasy and religious books. And the classics. I can just imagine some Roman officer on the plains of Gaul kicking his feet up on the table and reading The Histories of Herodotus of Halicarnassus.

So, anyways, I get back from my latest trip to Baghdad (15 months this time; maybe next time I can do two years if I am super lucky!) and after a
Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, military
I saw the HBO miniseries first, and then rushed out to find the book as soon as I could. The book gives a broader view of events than the series, as the writer goes out for extra interviews/research/reporting to get more information. He explains a lot of the 'whys?' I ended up with while watching the story play out on tv. The book turns out as readable as the series is watchable, coming across as a not-so family friendly road trip set in the backdrop of a war.

I loved this book. So. Much. The sol
Jan 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Wright, a Rolling Stone journalist joins the Marine Corps First Recon (special-ops-trained warriors programmed to kill) as they become the first men on the ground during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

I’ve tried to read Dispatches and A Rumor Of War before and never made it past the first few chapters – they were too disheartening, too leaden for a wine-sipping liberal like me to get much out of. By contrast, I found myself utterly immersed in Generation Kill and always eager to pick it up again
This is an incredible book of combat and the "fog of war." The book reads like such great fiction that if he didn't mention it you wouldn't realize that the author was there for the whole thing. The narratives of combat are enthralling, sobering, and thought-provoking. Two of the most fascinating things about this book are: (1) the "fog of war" aspect, where even though these soldiers are incredibly eager to get into combat, when they do they seem disillusioned by the fact that, sometimes, the p ...more
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have friends in the U.S. Marines. At least five of them have been to Iraq, one is currently there, and at least five more are waiting for their deployment. I have been searching for a book that would help me see things from their perspective, because sometimes it's hard for me to understand what exactly goes on in their heads. When I first discovered Generation Kill, it was the HBO mini-series. After watching the first episode and wanting more, I found out it was based on a book. Success! Alth ...more
Sep 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Dear Penthouse,
I never thought I'd actually read (or like) a book by one of your former writers. However, I found Generation Kill to be both alarming and humorous at the same time...
Vin - bookcadaver
Apr 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
I think this is a hard book to rate.

I wanted to read this as the show adaption is one of my favourite series and it was really impressive to see how much the show stuck with the actual accounts of this book.

On one hand, it’s first accounts of a journalist writing his experience with the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion of the United States Marine Corps, during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but on the other hand, it’s really hard not get angry at the content of this memoir and how childish marines can
Carlos Rene
Mar 07, 2021 rated it liked it
Hilarious and tragic; novel and repetitive; an overall wild ride through ~300 pages set in the beginning of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Generation Kill had me bursting out in laughter in the middle of my living room, but when I put the book down, I still thought about many of the unsavory aspects of war. It was a feeling that reminded me of Catch-22 which had me tearing through my eyes from laughter and then pacing pensively thinking of what it all could mean. In a nutshell, war sucks.

It’s incred
Mark Gannon
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent read and a brilliant look into the modern workings of the American "war machine." Full of interesting characters and memorable (if grim) scenes. There is no politics here- if Evan Wright had any political leanings, he left them at home an concentrated on reporting the facts as he saw them.

I read that this book caused controversy among Marine Corp Officers when it first came out, and it is easy to see why. Some officers do not come away from this book in a good light.

All in all, five
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war, non-fiction
The author, a journalist at “Rolling Stone,” rides fully embedded with Marines of the First Recon Battalion as they spearhead the initial drive into Iraq, blazing through small towns and dealing with jihadists, fayadeen, and forward observers disguised as civilians. They sleep in “Ranger graves” (small holes in the sand) and talk nonchalantly as tracers whizz by overhead. With a keen ear for rough dialogue and a flair for making his subjects seem real and three-dimensional, Wright depicts the yo ...more
Jun 22, 2011 rated it liked it
This book touts itself as not merely a gritty account of the Iraq invasion (because, let's face it! These are a dime a dozen, especially from reporters) but as a window into understanding the generation of soldiers who voluntarily took part in what is now widely acknowledged as an ineffective and unnecessary war. While it does an excellent job of providing riveting, boots-on-the-ground perspective from a journalist embedded with a platoon repeatedly placed at the "tippety-tip" of America's letha ...more
Gayle Francis
Jan 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Evan Wright was a reporter from Rolling Stone who got into the back of a Humvee with a group of Recon Marines and wrote about them tearing through Iraq in the early days of "Operation Iraqi Freedom." The book is equal parts astounding, shocking, and hilariously funny. Wright doesn't pull any punches regarding the men he's covering. They swear (a lot). They talk about how they enjoy killing (a lot). They bitch and moan and even get mildly mutinous at their superiors.

The result is a book that's s
David Hymas
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Twenty-five years from now, this book will be the defining piece on the average grunts in the run up and initial invasion of Iraq. It started as a series of articles that the author, who was embedded with a company of Marines, did for Rolling Stone (ironically, it was a Marine Recon unit, which is the rough equivalent to the Army Rangers in the Marines, but they get stuck driving north in Humvees just like everyone else). The articles evolved into something more and this book in the result. Like ...more
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That "author's photo" of me is an illustration done by my friend Hawk Krall, an awesome artist from Philly.

I had an odd path to writing which I describe in the first chapter of Hella Nation.

For the most part, my biography is contained in the books and articles I publish.

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