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Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq

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From the Introduction: Look around, the drill sergeant said. In a few years, or even a few months, several of you will be dead. Some of you will be severely wounded or so badly mutilated that your own mother can't stand the sight of you. And for the real unlucky ones, you will come home so emotionally disfigured that you wish you had died over there. It was Week 7 of Basic T From the Introduction: Look around, the drill sergeant said. In a few years, or even a few months, several of you will be dead. Some of you will be severely wounded or so badly mutilated that your own mother can't stand the sight of you. And for the real unlucky ones, you will come home so emotionally disfigured that you wish you had died over there. It was Week 7 of Basic Training . . . 18 years old and I was preparing myself to die. They say the Army makes a man out of you but for 18-year-old SPC Michael Anthony, that fabled rite of passage proved a very dark journey. After soliciting his parents approval to enlist at only 17, Anthony began his journey with an unshakeable faith in the military born of his family's long tradition of service. But when thrust into a medical unit of misfits as lost as he was, SPC Anthony not only witnessed the unspeakable horror of war but the undeniable misconduct of the military firsthand. Everything he ever believed in dissolved, forcing Anthony to rethink his loyalties, and ultimately risk his career and his freedom to challenge the military he had so firmly believed in. This searing memoir chronicles the iconic experiences that changed one young soldier forever. A seasoned veteran before the age of twenty-one, he faced the truth about the war and himself in this shocking and unprecedented eyewitness account.


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From the Introduction: Look around, the drill sergeant said. In a few years, or even a few months, several of you will be dead. Some of you will be severely wounded or so badly mutilated that your own mother can't stand the sight of you. And for the real unlucky ones, you will come home so emotionally disfigured that you wish you had died over there. It was Week 7 of Basic T From the Introduction: Look around, the drill sergeant said. In a few years, or even a few months, several of you will be dead. Some of you will be severely wounded or so badly mutilated that your own mother can't stand the sight of you. And for the real unlucky ones, you will come home so emotionally disfigured that you wish you had died over there. It was Week 7 of Basic Training . . . 18 years old and I was preparing myself to die. They say the Army makes a man out of you but for 18-year-old SPC Michael Anthony, that fabled rite of passage proved a very dark journey. After soliciting his parents approval to enlist at only 17, Anthony began his journey with an unshakeable faith in the military born of his family's long tradition of service. But when thrust into a medical unit of misfits as lost as he was, SPC Anthony not only witnessed the unspeakable horror of war but the undeniable misconduct of the military firsthand. Everything he ever believed in dissolved, forcing Anthony to rethink his loyalties, and ultimately risk his career and his freedom to challenge the military he had so firmly believed in. This searing memoir chronicles the iconic experiences that changed one young soldier forever. A seasoned veteran before the age of twenty-one, he faced the truth about the war and himself in this shocking and unprecedented eyewitness account.

30 review for Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    This is one person's chronicle of a year in Iraq as an Army medic. It is not a pretty picture. The hospital is set up in, supposedly safe, northern Iraq. It has 3 operating rooms, so if a large number of wounded are brought in at the same time, very unpleasant decisions would have to be made about who lives and who dies. Staff Sergeant Gagney, the immediate boss of the medics, is one of those who seems to think that leadership involves lots of yelling. He agonizes for hours over the work schedule This is one person's chronicle of a year in Iraq as an Army medic. It is not a pretty picture. The hospital is set up in, supposedly safe, northern Iraq. It has 3 operating rooms, so if a large number of wounded are brought in at the same time, very unpleasant decisions would have to be made about who lives and who dies. Staff Sergeant Gagney, the immediate boss of the medics, is one of those who seems to think that leadership involves lots of yelling. He agonizes for hours over the work schedule, and comes up with a rotating schedule for everyone; first shift one day, then second shift the next day, then third shift the next day, etc. Of course, this totally disrupts everyone's sleep patterns, so that, after a couple of weeks, everyone comes to work looking like the walking dead. After a month, a female staff sergeant, Hudge, is given the responsibility of making a new schedule. In half an hour, she makes up a more rational schedule that gives everyone the same shift each day. Later, when Hudge goes to Gagney to express her concerns about the way the unit is run, she is loudly accused of being the one with the emotional problem. When she visits the unit's Chaplain and mental Health Officer, Gagney had gotten to them first and told them about her supposedly unstable mental state. Another member of the unit attempts suicide. Instead of being sent home, or otherwise getting the help he needs, he is assigned extra duties, and basically told to suck it up. Another Sergeant shocks the unit by announcing that he is taking an emergency leave because his son has attempted suicide. Word filters back to the unit that he was seen in a local bar, back home, getting very friendly with a couple of prostitutes. A Marine is brought in with a broken jaw, so he is in a lot of pain. The doctor on duty would rather attend a unit-wide awards ceremony than attend to the Marine. The author is not the only one in the unit who learns the value of Ambien and NyQuil (drunk by the bottle) for nights when sleep is impossible. Did I forget to mention the frequent shellings that send everyone running to the nearest bunker? To call this a "wonderful" piece of writing might be the wrong word, because it gives many examples of human idiocy in a war zone, but it really is that good. By all means, read the "official" stories of American military personnel in Iraq, the read this to get the "real" story.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kathrin Stacked'n'Painted

    In Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq, Michael Anthony tells his experiences from one year in Iraq as an OR medic. Summarizing this memoir simply is not possible without giving away too many details or leaving question marks hanging in the open, so I won't even attempt to do this. While I read Mass Casualties, a childhood friend of mine, who is a lot like a big brother to me, was in Afganisthan, so it was both an emotional as well as a though-pr In Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq, Michael Anthony tells his experiences from one year in Iraq as an OR medic. Summarizing this memoir simply is not possible without giving away too many details or leaving question marks hanging in the open, so I won't even attempt to do this. While I read Mass Casualties, a childhood friend of mine, who is a lot like a big brother to me, was in Afganisthan, so it was both an emotional as well as a though-provoking read for me. Without whitewashing the events or taking a side in the ever-present question of righteousness of the war, Anthony tells it the way he remembers it (with confirmation from his fellow soldiers). Anthony's experiences in Iraq and with his fellow soldiers are in part shocking, to put it mildly. While I expected some of what I read, I would never have expected it to be just so deceptive, so many orders that don't make much sense from a non-military point of view, and so many events and behaviors non of us would call honorable. But that is what makes this book so good, the honesty with which everything is portrayed. With Mass Casualties, Michael Anthony wrote a wonderful diary-style memoir about his experiences during his time in Iraq, which I enjoyed reading.

  3. 5 out of 5

    David Allison

    As a military medic myself, I've eaten up this entire genre'. I love to read about other's experiences, especially throughout all sections of the military. This was the first one I read that although was very good, had a decidedly different view on an experiece during the war. I do have to say, that if you enjoy these types of stories, this in particular would be an important "other-side" to consider. As a military medic myself, I've eaten up this entire genre'. I love to read about other's experiences, especially throughout all sections of the military. This was the first one I read that although was very good, had a decidedly different view on an experiece during the war. I do have to say, that if you enjoy these types of stories, this in particular would be an important "other-side" to consider.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    Thanks for a fantastic book Michael, I was fortunate enough to hear your interview w/ Larry & Robin on our local radio station WOCA 1370am. Couldnt wait to read the book. Unfortunately hubby grabbed it first, so I had to wait a week! lol Thanks for presenting the 'other side' of the war Michael, we appreciate knowing whats actually going on over there, in your own words... Cathy Snyder Thanks for a fantastic book Michael, I was fortunate enough to hear your interview w/ Larry & Robin on our local radio station WOCA 1370am. Couldnt wait to read the book. Unfortunately hubby grabbed it first, so I had to wait a week! lol Thanks for presenting the 'other side' of the war Michael, we appreciate knowing whats actually going on over there, in your own words... Cathy Snyder

  5. 4 out of 5

    Don

    Anyone thinking about going into the military would do well to read Specialist Michael Anthony’s memoir, Mass Casualties: A Young Medic’s True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq. While the title might suggest that this is the work of some renegade peacenik, another soldier-turned-antiwar-activist, Anthony in fact seems proud of his military service, and he never criticizes the US mission in Iraq. Not that any of that matters. Mass Casualties isn’t about the politics of war. It’s sim Anyone thinking about going into the military would do well to read Specialist Michael Anthony’s memoir, Mass Casualties: A Young Medic’s True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq. While the title might suggest that this is the work of some renegade peacenik, another soldier-turned-antiwar-activist, Anthony in fact seems proud of his military service, and he never criticizes the US mission in Iraq. Not that any of that matters. Mass Casualties isn’t about the politics of war. It’s simply what it claims to be, a memoir, one soldier’s remembrance of his time in Iraq. A natural storyteller, Anthony populates his book with memorable characters, some loveable, some not so loveable. There’s Denti, a fellow operating room medic. “Denti’s always been a storyteller, and I quickly learned to never believe anything he says, including the fact that he was a pimp, a drug dealer, gang member, and a weightlifting power-lifter—he says he only joined the Army because he wanted to get away from the hectic lifestyle.” There’s also Gagney, the staff sergeant in charge of the operating room who’s not exactly the world’s most gracious loser. “Then a month ago Gagney, Reto, Denti, and I were playing Risk, a game of global domination. I had an alliance with Reto, and we attacked Gagney’s armies. Gagney flipped out, knocked the game board over, called us all ‘fucking idiot cheaters,’ and stormed off.” One can’t read Mass Casualties without at some point being reminded of M*A*S*H. People are often joking around. People are often—okay, usually—okay, almost always—having sex—lots and lots of sex. But, more to the point, nobody wants to be there. This isn’t summer camp. This is the Army. This is war. And everyone knows that at any given moment his life could come to a sudden, tragic end. The more we read, the more we realize that the practical jokes and adulterous escapades are really just a desperate attempt to create some sense of normalcy. But, of course, normalcy can’t be created in the hellishness of war. No matter how hard Anthony and his cohorts try to escape the horrors of their present reality, there they find themselves, operating on a soldier who’s just had his face blown off, running into a bunker as mortar rockets rain down from the sky. “When I close my eyes,” Anthony writes, “I dream of death and war. When I open my eyes I see death and war. I blink and as my eyes close I see images of death, and as they flutter open I see death—there is no escaping it.” Many who went to Iraq undoubtedly had it worse than Anthony. Indeed, his experience appears to have been a relatively good one. (Let me stress the word relatively.) And this is precisely why those wanting to join the military should read Mass Casualties. Because, as Anthony so masterfully illustrates, war thrusts all of its participants, even those who don’t end up getting shot full of holes, into a situation that the human psyche is simply not equipped to handle. Contrary to what most eighteen-year-olds think, war isn’t like a game of Halo. It’s certainly nothing like the latest Army recruitment video. And to make matters worse, the military is largely run by a bunch of self-absorbed, even sadistic, people who don’t seem to give a damn about those serving under them. At one point, Anthony describes how a colonel postpones treating a severely wounded soldier so he can finish attending an awards ceremony. Another time, the unit’s officers refuse to send a suicidal soldier away to receive the care he needs, fearing that doing so might make them look bad. Yes, the military might “make you a man,” that is, if you come back alive. But, as Mass Casualties demonstrates, as the record number of soldiers returning home with drug and alcohol addictions, with brain damage, with PTSD and other mental disorders further demonstrates, it’s also likely to destroy you.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Liralen

    For whatever reason, I have an interest in military-medical memoirs—I'm not sure why, except perhaps that you get a different view from them than you do from more general military memoirs. This had some major proofreading problems (it gets a partial pass for that because the copy I read was an ARC, picked up at a secondhand shop; the pass is only partial because, in my experience, when such problems are that extensive pre-proofing, a lot of problems remain post-proofing), and the writing was...n For whatever reason, I have an interest in military-medical memoirs—I'm not sure why, except perhaps that you get a different view from them than you do from more general military memoirs. This had some major proofreading problems (it gets a partial pass for that because the copy I read was an ARC, picked up at a secondhand shop; the pass is only partial because, in my experience, when such problems are that extensive pre-proofing, a lot of problems remain post-proofing), and the writing was...not great, as you might expect from a non-trained writer. But setting that aside, this feels like a tremendously important viewpoint. Of all the medical memoirs I've read that have taken place in war zones, this is the only one written by somebody who was both a) in the army and b) not highly trained outside the army. That is, he wasn't a doctor, wasn't a surgeon, wasn't a nurse volunteering with MSF; he enlisted and was trained by the army as a medic, which is a very different viewpoint. Take Rule Number Two: as an psychologist in the army, Kraft was an officer and subject to less...scrutiny? Indignity? And, in any case, when she decided that she wanted to continue to work with the army but no longer be up for deployment (i.e., work only stateside), that was a choice she could make. It's not something an average enlisted soldier can decide. All of my [five] brothers and one sister [of two] ended up joining the Military, but different branches... So, when I turned seventeen the question never seemed to be if I would join the military or go to college. It was only, which branch of the military will it be? (61) So he brings to this a different perspective than you might get otherwise, and a certain bluntness: When I first thought about joining the military I took [a vocational aptitude test]. I got a great score and the Army told me I could have practically any job I wanted. I told the recruiter that I'd take whichever job had the highest bonus and the biggest kicker for school. He said an OR medic gets an eight thousand dollar bonus and a monthly GI bill kicker (for college) of three hundred and fifty dollars a month. He did explain what an OR medic actually does, but at the age of seventeen I was too busy daydreaming all of the magical things I could do with eight thousand dollars. (15) Working on the Iraqi relaxes me a little bit. I know I'm doing my best to try to save him, but I also know that, truthfully, if he dies it won't be as big a deal as if an American dies. If that happened on my table everyone would read about it back in the States and his name would be in a wall, forever engraving my inability not [sic] to save his life. But if an Iraq [sic] dies, I know that most likely he will be given a paupers [sic] funeral and back in the States his name won't appear except as a statistic. (31) I don't mean to suggest that Anthony's depiction of the situation is without any complexity—among other things, he is quick to note both that both Americans and Iraqis suffer from war in Iraq—but rather that he's coming at it from a different angle than, say, Chris Coppola. Did my fingers itch with desire to fix the damn proofreading already? Yes.* Did I sometimes sigh over the amount of judgement? Yes. But there's still something to be learned here. *Or possibly they itched from eczema. Take your pick.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Grady

    Stress and Consequences Michael Anthony has published his journal recorded during his year in Iraq serving as a medic in the midst of the worse than bizarre war being played out around him. The book is a journal written with fine graphics dividing the entries by hours in the days in the weeks in the months of his tour of duty - all bound by the barbed wire that so aptly describes the imprisonment felt by those serving in a position for a given period of time to perform despite the belief in the Stress and Consequences Michael Anthony has published his journal recorded during his year in Iraq serving as a medic in the midst of the worse than bizarre war being played out around him. The book is a journal written with fine graphics dividing the entries by hours in the days in the weeks in the months of his tour of duty - all bound by the barbed wire that so aptly describes the imprisonment felt by those serving in a position for a given period of time to perform despite the belief in the cause. This writing technique serves Anthony well: he is freed from the literary confines of connecting incidents, minutes/hours/days, into a flowing story - the entries do that for him. What we learn from this young writer (of very great promise!) is not so much about the particular war in Iraq, but instead about what happens in every war in which civilians serve in the medical capacity. The flow of information is more about the interaction of the various members who comprise the OR team - the docs, the medics, the techs, the nurses, the true military personnel who command the actions away from the OR table - than it is about the war itself. Anthony introduces the friends he makes, the enemies he encounters, the pecking order of those in charge, the 'illegal activities' that are commonplace, the addictions, the chronic lack of sleep, and that most difficult hurdles of all - the agony of seeing young bodies both American and Iraqi torn by shrapnel and commonplace explosions. We feel Anthony's grief and disillusionment while we are sifting through his own addiction to sleeping pills, his only way to rest from the trauma and the at times exceeding boredom of the day. So what Michael Anthony has achieved in MASS CASUALTIES is an insider's (literally) account of being a medic in a war that grows ever more unpopular with each day. It is timely and it is well written. If the reader expects to discover significant information about the actual war strategies and atmosphere on the battlefield of Iraq, then this is not the book to read. But for a fine account of how the days pass while imprisoned by a war game far from home, Anthony captures that beautifully. Grady Harp

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Interesting account of a young army medic's time in Iraq for a year. The book reads more like a journal than anything which works and helps it to move fast. He complains of bureaucracy, a lot of adultery and fornication (sex is pretty much outlawed in times of war on an army base), and the army basically owning every part of you during your time there. It was interesting to get a perspective of how unhealthy it was just to be in a hospital and have your higher-ups being complete dolts that don't Interesting account of a young army medic's time in Iraq for a year. The book reads more like a journal than anything which works and helps it to move fast. He complains of bureaucracy, a lot of adultery and fornication (sex is pretty much outlawed in times of war on an army base), and the army basically owning every part of you during your time there. It was interesting to get a perspective of how unhealthy it was just to be in a hospital and have your higher-ups being complete dolts that don't really care about those below them. Makes you worried about the status of our soldiers overseas and hopeful that things will change...soon.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mike Lopez

    As a former Army Medic this kid needs to stop whining and realize there are more in military medicine than just him. I bought this at a discount book store and and I'm glad I did because it wasn't worth the two dollars I paid. I still finished it because I hoped it would get better and I wanted to make sure I finish what I know I'll comment about when other medics ask me. I gave him one star for getting himself published and another for being an Iraq war veteran but what he really needs is a goo As a former Army Medic this kid needs to stop whining and realize there are more in military medicine than just him. I bought this at a discount book store and and I'm glad I did because it wasn't worth the two dollars I paid. I still finished it because I hoped it would get better and I wanted to make sure I finish what I know I'll comment about when other medics ask me. I gave him one star for getting himself published and another for being an Iraq war veteran but what he really needs is a good NCO.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennie

    I picked up this book because I am seriously looking into enlisting in the USAR as a medic, and have been researching the subject to death. While I would want to enlist as a Healthcare specialist/combat medic and SPC Anthony is a OR tech, it was still a very interesting read. I really liked the inside look. I also enjoyed the writing style. It is a different point of view, and it does an excellent job of showing that. Nothing is sugar coated. Great book, an enjoyable read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    J.H. Kingsley

    A very interesting read. It’s a memoir of a young medic in Iraq. It gives you a real look into what really goes on during the war. It chronicles enjoyable, funny stories about what soldiers do when they’re bored and also the sad the stories about dealing with the loss of friends. It also gives you a better look at leadership and the effect of good and bad leaders have during times of war. It was quick and easy to read, very enlightening.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    One of my "pumping" reads (books I stole from the community bookshelf at work to read while I was expressing breastmilk). Very good...disturbing view of our bureaucratic process, but still very good read. You kinda keep wanting something "big" to happen (yeah, I know...sick-minded, but still) and it never truly does. But that's no fault of his. A better insight into the innerworkings of the military in a very Catch-22-esque way. One of my "pumping" reads (books I stole from the community bookshelf at work to read while I was expressing breastmilk). Very good...disturbing view of our bureaucratic process, but still very good read. You kinda keep wanting something "big" to happen (yeah, I know...sick-minded, but still) and it never truly does. But that's no fault of his. A better insight into the innerworkings of the military in a very Catch-22-esque way.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Notty Galloway

    A very interesting journal-like account of a army medic’s time in Iraq for a year. It was enjoyable and easy to read. The author speaks on many topics such as civil service, adultery, and fornication and the way the army owns you during your enlistment. It gives you more persepective on what goes on with our soldiers overseas. A very good read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michael Anthony

    You can find reviews by thirty different: authors, veterans, politician, and psychologists, from Howard Zinn, Bing West, and David Bellavia, to Gary Hart, Philip G. Zimbardo, and many more. http://www.MassCasualties.com/books You can find reviews by thirty different: authors, veterans, politician, and psychologists, from Howard Zinn, Bing West, and David Bellavia, to Gary Hart, Philip G. Zimbardo, and many more. http://www.MassCasualties.com/books

  15. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    I couldn't recommend this book higher. I fought over there and this is accurate; most of the "War" memoirs are nothing more than self-grandizing Bull....this story is the real deal! I couldn't recommend this book higher. I fought over there and this is accurate; most of the "War" memoirs are nothing more than self-grandizing Bull....this story is the real deal!

  16. 5 out of 5

    James

    It paints the human picture of the war in Iraq, by a CSH medic

  17. 4 out of 5

    Taylor J.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, in particular because of the author's relentlessly descriptive writing style. It's intense for me personally because I have close relationships with people who have served in the same war, but so oftentimes soldiers fall into that "don't ask, don't tell" or "nobody wants to hear about war stories" mentality so we are all left wondering and don't want to ask. This book brought me closer to some small semblance of understanding but really I just found it entertainin I thoroughly enjoyed this book, in particular because of the author's relentlessly descriptive writing style. It's intense for me personally because I have close relationships with people who have served in the same war, but so oftentimes soldiers fall into that "don't ask, don't tell" or "nobody wants to hear about war stories" mentality so we are all left wondering and don't want to ask. This book brought me closer to some small semblance of understanding but really I just found it entertaining.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Karin

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is the journal of a young adult stationed at a hospital during war time. Sounds straight-forward, but it's anything but. The part that was the craziest to me is the number of affairs going on, the whole buddy-buddy system that is making everything corrupt, and the way they expect people just to deal with it. This is the journal of a young adult stationed at a hospital during war time. Sounds straight-forward, but it's anything but. The part that was the craziest to me is the number of affairs going on, the whole buddy-buddy system that is making everything corrupt, and the way they expect people just to deal with it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alberto

    Brutally honest book about what happens in war zones.......I found it very realistic.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Almantas Leika

    A soldier's account of his deployment to Iraq. Interesting and useful reading. A soldier's account of his deployment to Iraq. Interesting and useful reading.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tracey Cramer-Kelly

    I really tried to like this book. I mean, I was trained as an Army combat medic myself at the age of 19. Back at my National Guard unit after training, I quickly realized that we had few resources, not a lot of support, and I experienced some of the same frustrations as Michael (albeit not during wartime). It was sobering to realize those problems still exist; with everything our country has been through in the last decade I would have expected better. Sure, we bitched about stuff. And yeah, ther I really tried to like this book. I mean, I was trained as an Army combat medic myself at the age of 19. Back at my National Guard unit after training, I quickly realized that we had few resources, not a lot of support, and I experienced some of the same frustrations as Michael (albeit not during wartime). It was sobering to realize those problems still exist; with everything our country has been through in the last decade I would have expected better. Sure, we bitched about stuff. And yeah, there was some sexual stuff going on. When you’re young, you don’t always have the ability to put your experiences in perspective. And a year seems like a long time. But the reason I read a memoir is to a) be exposed to the personal transformation of the writer, and b) to learn something useful myself. There was none of that here. There was very little of what he actually SAW in the operating room, in fact. What did Michael learn about himself from this experience? I don’t mean superficial things, like Nyquil is best for getting to sleep. I wanted to see how it changed him and how it impacted his life afterward. If there wasn’t any personal growth, I don’t see the point of writing a memoir. I get that his situation wasn’t ideal, and I kept reminding myself how young he was. But the only word that kept coming to mind while reading was “whiny”; in fact, I skipped a chunk around 2/3 of the way through. I wanted more. A whole lot more.

  22. 5 out of 5

    S.

    decent rather than gripping, Specialist Michael Anthony was a Combat Support Medic for a year in Iraq, and if the true military memoir reader is looking for combat, combat, combat, to that degree we have no dramatic-clearing of insurgent-held city blocks, we have no Willie Peet dripped on a particularly troublesome compound, we have little or no tank/helicopter action, just casualty casualty casualty, rear-echelon messup rear-echlon messup rear-echelon messup I can't recommend this to the hard-co decent rather than gripping, Specialist Michael Anthony was a Combat Support Medic for a year in Iraq, and if the true military memoir reader is looking for combat, combat, combat, to that degree we have no dramatic-clearing of insurgent-held city blocks, we have no Willie Peet dripped on a particularly troublesome compound, we have little or no tank/helicopter action, just casualty casualty casualty, rear-echelon messup rear-echlon messup rear-echelon messup I can't recommend this to the hard-core military history reader. however, the work is not valueless. it contains a lot of content about how poor relationships and a poor morale group suffering from tremendous problems/drama play out-- perhaps in the same vein as that Joaquin River movie about soldiers in Germany in the 80s, everybody strung out, nothing working, problems with natives. if you're a hard-core Iraq War reader, call this a 3/5 competent work. if you're not interested in war, the rating probably drops to 2/5. I wish the author had researched some after leaving Iraq, so we could learn some of the stories of the people he treated; instead, we have a personal memoir about growing drug addiction.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alex Rogers

    An interesting read, and particularly interesting to read a book from one of the support groups rather than a frontline soldier's account. An indictment of the military culture, it is the story of a dysfunctional unit in an ill-conceived war. The writing is not particularly deep (the narrator was 18 when he was there) but clear and flows well, and provides an interesting insight into the war, to military hospitals, to the shenanigans that goes on in a support unit. A couple of things really stru An interesting read, and particularly interesting to read a book from one of the support groups rather than a frontline soldier's account. An indictment of the military culture, it is the story of a dysfunctional unit in an ill-conceived war. The writing is not particularly deep (the narrator was 18 when he was there) but clear and flows well, and provides an interesting insight into the war, to military hospitals, to the shenanigans that goes on in a support unit. A couple of things really struck me - how many women were serving, the sheer amount of tawdry sex going on, and the total lack of any moral / morale. As with any memoir, I tend to wonder about the author though, and how self-serving they are - I particularly wondered how Anthony's unit saw him, as he comes across as more than a little weird.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Barnes

    Interesting and not what I expected. I was truly surprised by the level of dishonesty, laziness, promiscuity of what Anthony witnessed. I honestly didn't expect the military to be worse than the worst of what I've seen in the corporate world, but what he describes is. I thought that the book might be disturbing because it's set in the middle of a war, but that really wasn't what the book was about. It is about how dysfunctional one military hospital was, primarily because of certain specific lea Interesting and not what I expected. I was truly surprised by the level of dishonesty, laziness, promiscuity of what Anthony witnessed. I honestly didn't expect the military to be worse than the worst of what I've seen in the corporate world, but what he describes is. I thought that the book might be disturbing because it's set in the middle of a war, but that really wasn't what the book was about. It is about how dysfunctional one military hospital was, primarily because of certain specific leaders. I recommended this book to a young man in my church who is planning to become an Army chaplain affiliated with the UU church.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tess

    I really enjoyed this book. I actually was looking for the book, "Medic!" and because of our library is very limited to their selection of books, I could not find it. So I checked this book out, and am very glad I did. I was kinda scared to read it because I was scared it would be emphasized more on the war itself and not the medical aspect of his experience. But I was very pleased. He wrote about the medical part and about all the people that accompanied him on his experience. Very good book. Gla I really enjoyed this book. I actually was looking for the book, "Medic!" and because of our library is very limited to their selection of books, I could not find it. So I checked this book out, and am very glad I did. I was kinda scared to read it because I was scared it would be emphasized more on the war itself and not the medical aspect of his experience. But I was very pleased. He wrote about the medical part and about all the people that accompanied him on his experience. Very good book. Glad to see that we might be seeing more books by this author.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    Although this wasn't what I was expecting, it was still an alright book. I thought it would be more about the blood, guts, and gore of being a medic in Iraq. Not so much about the misconduct and philandering lives other soldiers led while on tour. Either way, this was definitely an interesting glimpse of the Iraq war through one soldier's eyes. Although this wasn't what I was expecting, it was still an alright book. I thought it would be more about the blood, guts, and gore of being a medic in Iraq. Not so much about the misconduct and philandering lives other soldiers led while on tour. Either way, this was definitely an interesting glimpse of the Iraq war through one soldier's eyes.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Y

    This book was really good. I have never heard a story written by a medic. It had a lot about the procedures that they use for the patients. Another thing is that it talked about how he took drugs and used a lot of cigarettes. This is a great book for those who like autobiographies about soldiers.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Steven Kaminski

    A really good read. His narrative makes you feel like you are with him as the events unfold during his time in Iraq. All the bullshit, the mortars & explosions, the politics of the military & the casualness of being an OR tech in a battlefield hospital...

  29. 4 out of 5

    John

    Might be one of the most depressing books I've tread. But, like a train wreck it is hard to not look. Might be one of the most depressing books I've tread. But, like a train wreck it is hard to not look.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Very good book, I hope I can read more by this author.

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