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

Version: Unabridged
Author: Anthony Swofford
Narrator: Anthony Swofford
Genres: History, Biography & Memoir, Military
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published In: May 2003
# of Units: 8 CDs
Length: 9 hours
Ratings:
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Overview

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, 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.

"Jarhead" insists we remember the Americans who are 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.

Reviews (17)

Cartoonish

Written by Anonymous on August 14th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 3/5

After listening to about 6 of the 8 disks, I realize that I don't like this guy very much. If I follow the timeline correctly, he attempted both suicide AND murder before he even saw a combatant, and then blames his problems on the Marine Corps and war. However, he does have a very good style of writing, and I hope that he gets over himself, gets some medication, and gets moving on a next book.

Really hard to listen to

Written by Anonymous from River Grove, IL on July 3rd, 2008

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I had seen the movie, so I was interested in the book. I was very dissapointed with the narrator. He was horrible. There was no emotion in his reading. It almost sounded like droaning. Which is sad because I really enjoyed the movie.

awful reader

Written by Anonymous on June 19th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 2/5

It's just OK for a memoir but read awfully in a completely monotonous tone.

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

Written by Ellen on April 8th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 3/5

The author writes well, his discriptive techinique is really amazing but why is it that they have the author reading this story? He has no talent for the read. His style is monotone, there is absolutely no inflection in his voice. It was very annoying, and I found my mind wandering frequently. Reading is a talent not every author has. Did not finish it. Should be read, not listened to.

Jarhead

Written by Anonymous on February 8th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Thank you, Anthony Swafford, for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I am the richer for it.

Terrible

Written by Robert Renguso on January 9th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 1/5

This book was terrible, the author must be a disgrace to the marine corps and I am truly sorry he was ever allowed to serve this country. Couldnt even finish the second disk.

Jarhead

Written by Anonymous on December 5th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 1/5

Unfortunately this book is repetitive and introduces us to a self UNaware soldier. His reading voice is irritating as well. I hoped to get some insight into "a marine" and I guess I did if Marine's are generally one dimensional and immature. I somehow doubt that that is generally the case so I am dissapointed. I must admit that I did not listen to the last half and it might have improved.

Simply Terrible

Written by Robb Odom on November 21st, 2007

  • Book Rating: 1/5

For the first time, I did not even finish the book. Between the language and the author's self-deification, i simply could not listen. If you are thinking of either listening to, or reading, this book - reconsider.

Jarhead

Written by David Anthony on October 15th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Caustic and blunt, Anthony Swofford gives a personal, extremely graphic and honest portrayal of the Marine Corps and the First Gulf War as he experienced it. As the author admits, it is difficult to distinguish between perception and literal reality, but Swofford's story is heartbreaking and compelling regardless. Read by the author himself, which I felt lent power to the narrative. Well done.

Jarhead

Written by Anonymous on February 2nd, 2007

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This book is a fascinating reflection of one man's experience with the Marines & war. He doesn't actually discuss his war experience, but rather waiting for the war to start, and afterward. It is profane, but compelling. I recommend it to others who want to know what it's like to be a jarhead.

Author Details

Author Details

Swofford, Anthony

Anthony Swofford served in a U.S. Marine Corps Surveillance and Target Acquisition/Scout-Sniper platoon during the Gulf War. After the war, he was educated at American River College; the University of California, Davis; and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. He has taught at the University of Iowa and Lewis and Clark College. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in "The New York Times, Harper's, Men's Journal, The Iowa Review, " and other publications. A Michener-Copernicus Fellowship recipient, he lives in New York.