a theater major goes to war! I've rolled out the 5/5, first for an Afghan or Iraq war book. beats the [b:American Sniper|11887020|American Sniper The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History|Chris Kyle|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348628279s/11887020.jpg|16845778], beats [b:Outlaw Platoon|12990404|Outlaw Platoon Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan|Sean Parnell|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1353154399s/12990404.jpg|18150348], equals... [b:Generation Kill|543103|Generation Kill|Evan Wright|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1309283182s/543103.jpg|908023].
like of course
when a theater/drama university grad is writing a book it's all smoke and mirrors, probably only distantly related to the truth. Bellavia spent four years studying 'the dramatic situation' and 'scene construction' at university, so that is to some degree an explanation for the "fully cyclic-weapons blazing me vs. the mujahideen" stories he tells us. Bellavia understands automatic gunfire such that the flames spewing from the end of your barrel resemble a flame thrower is inherently dramatic, and even if he never quite devolves into fiction, of course he has chosen detail and chronology in such a fashion as to create a maximal narrative.
to that degree, this is an excellent work. 5/5 artistic training and narrative voice goes to war. I know it's bad for me (to buy a theater-major's account), but can't resist. perversely, this is also a book about a house, in a manner of speaking. hmmm.... what mysteries this world holds...
18 Sep 2013 re-read; hmm, actually I wonder if a downgrade to 4/5 is in order. when first read (in a very social, very young, noisy culture), the excitement/youth seemed congruent and positive. a few months have passed and I find myself in a slightly older, slightly quieter and less social environment, and now Bellavia comes off as... very very young. dunno. will keep the 5/5 for now, but a possible 4/5 downgrade. book heavy with film references (which some of his own men don't understand); the truth about the drama major: it's all movies