Anthony Swofford trained as a rifle sniper with the marines and went to Saudi Arabia in 1990 for the Gulf War. His memoir tells of the misery of training, a faithless girlfriend, boredom, the temptations of suicide, a near shooting of a comrade, and near death in a booby-trapped Iraqi bunker. This 2003 story is less about war (which was mercifully if vividly short for Swofford) but American military culture, and what it does to soldiers and the civilians around them. Profane, funny, and deeply moving, Jarhead is a great personal statement about military service and war in our time.
This report prepared by David Loftus