Until a winter evening in 1998, Nathaniel was just another history student on a comfortable career trajectory of high school to college to white collar job. Then he went to a lecture by a "Wall Street Journal" reporter who had just published a book on the US Marines. It brought forth a latent desire to break free of the 'seat belt and safety ...
Until a winter evening in 1998, Nathaniel was just another history student on a comfortable career trajectory of high school to college to white collar job. Then he went to a lecture by a "Wall Street Journal" reporter who had just published a book on the US Marines. It brought forth a latent desire to break free of the 'seat belt and safety goggle, safety-first' culture: to be a warrior. He passed the gruelling selection course and joined the Marine Corps on graduation. Posted to a Marine Regiment in the wake of 9/11, he took part in the invasion of Afghanistan, then led a platoon of their elite Recon Battalion during the invasion of Iraq. This is not a book about the Iraq invasion as such: it is an articulate and deeply thoughtful young man's account of what it means to fight in the frontline, to risk not just death or injury, but psychological harm. He reveals some of the awful dilemmas war can bring, horrible problems to which there is no 'right' answer, but a decision had to be made quickly - by him alone. In combat you are just one bullet away from death - or promotion. But this doesn't focus the mind: it makes it freeze up - unless your training is so thorough that you overcome exhaustion and terror. 'Nate' took 65 men to war and came home with all 65. He proved himself an excellent officer and won a promotion, but resigned in 2003 to write this book and attend Harvard Business School.
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Publishers Weekly, 2005-06-27 The global war on terrorism has spawned some excellent combat narratives-mostly by journalists. Warriors, like Marine Corps officer Fick, bring a different and essential perspective to the story. A classics major at Dartmouth, Fick joined the Marines in 1998 because he "wanted to go on a great adventure... to do something so hard that no one could ever talk shit to me." Thus begins his odyssey through the grueling regimen of Marine training and wartime deployments-an odyssey that he recounts in vivid detail in this candid and fast-paced memoir. Fick was first deployed to Afghanistan, where he saw little combat, but his Operation Freedom unit, the elite 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, helped spearhead the invasion of Iraq and "battled through every town on Highway 7" from Nasiriyah to al Kut. (Rolling Stone writer Evan Wright's provocative Generation Kill is based on his travels with Fick's unit.) Like the best combat memoirs, Fick's focuses on the men doing the fighting and avoids hyperbole and sensationalism. He does not shrink from the truth-however personal or unpleasant. "I was aware enough," he admits after a firefight, "to be concerned that I was starting to enjoy it." Agent, E.J. McCarthy. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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