March 12, 2009

Joker One: A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership and Brotherhood by Donovan Campbell

I should disclose this was not only my first book on Iraq, but the first war memoir I have ever read. I’m not even exactly sure what made me pick it up or that I would make it through the first few chapters. As a housewife, I have as little in common with your typical marine as anyone. But this book is excellent. The consummately humble Campbell tells the story of his platoon, Joker One, from it’s inception through deployment to Iraqi city of Ramadi for a nine month peace keeping mission. The reader is presented with a straightforward and honest account of war from the men who fought it.

Campbell writes with grace and humor telling us of the platoon’s growing pains and mistakes as well as his short comings as a leader. He takes the time to walk the reader through military basics and the political setting of Ramadi making the story accessible without over politicizing or romanticizing his work. There is plenty of action, though nothing is gritty, and the book brims with poignant moments. I doubt it is possible to finish this book without renewed appreciation for the sacrifices our men make out of love for each other and our country. If you’ve ever wondered how service men keep their lives, faith and humanity—read this book.

1 comment:

  1. Iraq was the same as any other war in that it makes for immensely powerful experiences for people and the generations that followed. I have discovered more in the last few years about two family member’s in the 14- 18 WW1 than I ever imagined could have happened. Most of it came from the writing of others and the efforts of individuals who made it their life to see that we did not forget those who gave their lives for others

    Some of the most memorable elements were diary entries from people I knew as a small boy who at the time I had no idea what it meant. Reading there words 40 years later you get to understand… Just a bit..



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