Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Midlist Writer blog, where he talks about writing, adventure travel, caving, and everything else he gets up to. He also reproduces all the posts from Civil War Horror, so drop on by!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Book Review: My War: Killing Time in Iraq

My War: Kiling Time in IraqMy War: Killing Time in Iraq by Colby Buzzell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read Buzzell's famous memoir in preparation for my own trip to Iraq. While I was going as a tourist and not a soldier, I found this book to be really informative.

For example, Buzzell says, "[the women] would stare at us but as soon as you made eye contact, they would look away. The Iraqi men were a little different. They stare too, but don't look away, and if you wave, which is something they never initiate, they wave back, nervously."

That was 2003-4. In October 2012 the women still look away, except for a few younger ones. The men are more forthcoming. On the street they rarely wave first, but when you wave or say salaam alaykum most burst into a smile and return your greeting. If they're in a place where they feel more comfortable, like a mosque, they'll often come up to you first and start a conversation.

While this is a war memoir, much of the book is about Buzzell's personal growth and the uncomfortable position he gets in when the blog he's writing becomes famous. The Army had never had to deal with this before and its policy on blogging was pretty much created because of him.

The subtitle, "Killing Time in Iraq" more accurately reads, "Killing Time in Iraq". Buzzell discovers all too well the truth of that old saying, "War is long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror."

The boredom is narrated with hilarious cynicism. The terror is some of the best combat writing I've ever read. If you want to know about the war in Iraq from a grunt's-eye view, read this book.

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment

Got something to say? Feel free! No anonymous comments allowed, though. Too many spammers and haters on the Internet.