Jarhead : A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles

Jarhead : A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles

Anthony Swofford

Biographies & Memoirs

Anthony Swofford's Jarhead is the first Gulf War memoir by a frontline infantry marine, and it is a searing, unforgettable narrative. When the marines -- or "jarheads," as they call themselves -- were sent in 1990 to Saudi Arabia to fight the Iraqis, Swofford was there, with a hundred-pound pack on his shoulders and a sniper's rifle in his hands. It was one misery upon another. He lived in sand for six months, his girlfriend back home betrayed him for a scrawny hotel clerk, he was punished by boredom and fear, he considered suicide, he pulled a gun on one of his fellow marines, and he was shot at by both Iraqis and Americans. At the end of the war, Swofford hiked for miles through a landscape of incinerated Iraqi soldiers and later was nearly killed in a booby-trapped Iraqi bunker. Swofford weaves this experience of war with vivid accounts of boot camp (which included physical abuse by his drill instructor), reflections on the mythos of the marines, and remembrances of battles with lovers and family. As engagement with the Iraqis draws closer, he is forced to consider what it is to be an American, a soldier, a son of a soldier, and a man. Unlike the real-time print and television coverage of the Gulf War, which was highly scripted by the Pentagon, Swofford's account subverts the conventional wisdom that U.S. military interventions are now merely surgical insertions of superior forces that result in few American casualties. Jarhead insists we remember the Americans who are in fact wounded or killed, the fields of smoking enemy corpses left behind, and the continuing difficulty that American soldiers have reentering civilian life. A harrowing yet inspiring portrait of a tormented consciousness struggling for inner peace, Jarhead will elbow for room on that short shelf of American war classics that includes Philip Caputo's A Rumor of War and Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, and be admired not only for the raw beauty of its prose but also for the depth of its pained heart.
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Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails: A Memoir

Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails: A Memoir

Anthony Swofford

Biographies & Memoirs

Following the success of Jarhead, Anthony Swofford assumed he had exorcised his military demons -- but as every veteran knows, that isn't exactly how it works. In these searing, courageous pages, Swofford struggles to make sense of what his military service meant, and to decide -- after nearly ending it -- what his life can and should become. Consumed by drugs, booze, fast cars and the wrong women, Swofford almost lost everything and everyone that mattered to him. Embarking on a series of RV trips with his dying father, a Vietnam vet, in an attempt to heal their difficult relationship, and meeting a like-minded woman (who will become his wife) in a chance encounter, Swofford begins to grapple with his volatile past and forge a path toward redemption. HOTELS, HOSPITALS, AND JAILS is a must-read memoir that raises essential questions about masculinity, about fathers and sons, and about love.
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Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails

Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails

Anthony Swofford

Biographies & Memoirs

The publication of Jarhead launched a new career for Anthony Swofford, earning him accolades for its gritty and unexpected portraits of the soldiers who fought in the Gulf War. It spawned a Hollywood movie. It made Swofford famous and wealthy. It also nearly killed him. Now with the same unremitting intensity he brought to his first memoir, Swofford describes his search for identity, meaning, and a reconciliation with his dying father in the years after he returned from serving as a sniper in the Marines. Adjusting to life after war, he watched his older brother succumb to cancer and his first marriage disintegrate, leading him to pursue a lifestyle in Manhattan that brought him to the brink of collapse. Consumed by drugs, drinking, expensive cars, and women, Swofford lost almost everything and everyone that mattered to him. When a son is in trouble he hopes to turn to his greatest source of wisdom and support: his father. But Swofford and his father didn't...
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