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Dispatches worth reading!

  • Jul 12, 2010
It seems strange to me that the first person war narrative is so often associated with anti-war literature. Not so strange, I guess really, since many people writing these narratives, and good ones that actually get published, were drafted or experienced things that turned their enthusiasm down a notch. I was expecting this when I picked up My War: Killing Time In Iraq. I was so pleasantly surprised.

I will defintely say that this book is not anti-war, but I also must say it's not overly pro-war. It just feels truthful. The enthusiasm that a soldier has is shown and exciting gunfights and trial by fire, but we also see the horror, and boredom, of war. It is not surprising that this project started out as the soldier's blog. It reads like the letters home (or blog posts) of a soldier, and while they are not as eloquent as those from Ken Burn's Civil War, they are still well written. There are passages in this book that number among the best writing I've ever read on the subject of war. 

It is surprising that this is the authors first outing, but it is not surprising to me that I have been seeing Colby's name many other places since reading this book.I suppose this book validates the blogger as a real figure in the literary landscape today. Is it worth picking up this book as opposed to reading the actual blog on which it was based? I think so. Buzzell's writing certainly works as a book, and it is nice to have it all collected here in book form. 

Check out this book if you are at all interested in a soldier's writing, especially if you want to know a little bit more about our current war in Iraq. Fans of Generation Kill will certainly appreciate this book. Buzzell's involvement with the new Stryker vehicle was also pretty fascinating for anyone interested in military technology. 

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About the reviewer
Josh Eklow ()
Ranked #635
I am a graduate student at the University of Iowa. My studies/interests are mostly art and media.
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