Joker One by Donovan Campbell

This Princeton graduate won’t win a literary award (after all my complaints about ghost writers I can’t really fault him for not using one, can I?) but his story, Joker One, is well worth reading. Campbell spent seven months in un-beautiful Ramadi, Iraq as a Marines officer leading a few dozens very young men with, for the most part, little education and sometimes few English skills, and fighting well-armed terrorists and unfriendly residents, an actor in an ill-advised war.

He tells about their  inability to obtain seemingly basic resources such as functioning radios or an Arabic translator while the military contractors can simply go out and buy proper radios. He describes remarkable feats of heroism and even more remarkable teamwork within his platoon, which give lots of hope for the US if we could to find a way to redirect all the good energy towards a constructive goal.

There is a glossary at the end of the book to demystify the many Marines jargon word, but it would be useful for the uninitiated and slow learners (me) to  provide a quick visual of the hierarchy of ranks. I’m still unsure of how sergeants and PFC’s and whatever else compare…

If you enjoy this topic I’d like to once again plug Final Salute, an astonishing memoir of a man whose job was to tell Marines’ families of their sons’, husbands’, brothers’ deaths.


Filed under True story

5 responses to “Joker One by Donovan Campbell

  1. Pingback: The Good Soldiers by David Finkel « FT's Books

  2. Pingback: The Lonely Soldier by Helen Benedict « FT's Books

  3. Pingback: *** You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon | FT's Books

  4. Pingback: ** The Long Walk by Brian Castner | FT's Books

  5. Pingback: * The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers | FT's Books

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