John Crawford joined the Florida National Guard to pay for his college tuition, willingly exchanging one weekend a month and two weeks a year for a free education. But in Autumn 2002, one semester short of graduating and newly married—in fact, on his honeymoon—he was called to active duty and sent to the front lines in Iraq.
Crawford and his unit spent months upon months patrolling the streets of Baghdad, occupying a hostile city. During the breaks between patrols, Crawford began writing the true stories of what he and his fellow soldiers witnessed and experienced. Those stories became this book—a haunting and powerful, compellingly honest book that imparts the on-the-ground reality of waging the war in Iraq, and marks as the introduction of a mighty literary voice forged in the most intense of circumstances.
“Potent…Crawford tells tales that bring human dimensions to his situation.” —The New York Times
“A National Guardsman who never expected to see battle writes a shattering account of the war that changed his life.” —People
“A heartbreaking and perversely beautiful book that should join Catch-22 and The Things They Carried as this generation’s defining literary expression of men at war.” —James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard
“It's f***ing dynamite… Like Michael Herr in Dispatches, Crawford really has it down. He’s got it nailed.” —Thom Jones, author of The Pugilist at Rest
“Crawford is a wonderfully descriptive writer—and reading this book feels like climbing into a Humvee to patrol Baghdad in 130-degree heat.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune