Synopses & Reviews
A powerhouse work of nonfiction, Generation Kill
expands on Evan Wright's acclaimed three-part series that appeared in Rolling Stone
during the summer of 2003. His narrative follows the twenty-three marines of First Recon who spearheaded the blitzkrieg on Iraq. This elite unit, nicknamed "First Suicide Battalion," searched out enemy fighters by racing ahead of American battle forces and literally driving into suspected ambush points.
Evan Wright lived on the front lines with this platoon from the opening hours of combat, to the fall of Baghdad, through the start of the guerrilla war. He was welcomed into their ranks, and from this bird's-eye perspective he tells the unsettling story of young men trained by their country to be ruthless killers. He chronicles the triumphs and horrors physical, moral, emotional, and spiritual that these marines endured while achieving victory in a war many questioned before it began.
Wright's book is a timely account of war; even more important, it is a timeless description of the human drama taking place on today's battlefields. Written with brutal honesty, raw intensity, and startling intimacy, Generation Kill is destined to become a classic and take its place in the canon of the most captivating and authentic works of war literature. Index.
"Wright rode into Iraq on March 20, 2003, with a platoon of First Reconnaissance Battalion Marines the Marine Corps' special operations unit whose motto is 'Swift, Silent, Deadly.' These highly trained and highly motivated First Recon Marines were the leading unit of the American-led invasion force. Wright wrote about that experience in a three-part series in Rolling Stone that was hailed for its evocative, accurate war reporting. This book, a greatly expanded version of that series, matches its accomplishment. Wright is a perceptive reporter and a facile writer. His account is a personality-driven, readable and insightful look at the Iraq War's first month from the Marine grunt's point of view. It jibes with other firsthand reports of the first phase of the Iraqi invasion (including David Zucchino's Thunder Run), showing the unsettling combination of feeble and vicious resistance put up by the Iraqi army, the Fedayeen militiamen and their Syrian allies against American forces bulldozing through towns and cities and into Baghdad. Wright paints compelling portraits of a handful of Marines, most of whom are young, street-smart and dedicated to the business of killing the enemy. As he shows them, the Marines' main problem was trying to sort out civilians from enemy fighters. Wright does not shy away from detailing what happened when the fog of war resulted in the deaths and maimings of innocent Iraqi men, women and children. Nor does he hesitate to describe intimately the few instances in which Marines were killed and wounded. Fortunately, Wright is not exposing the strengths and weaknesses of a new generation of American fighting men, as the misleadingly hyped-up title and subtitle indicate. Instead, he presents a vivid, well-drawn picture of those fighters in action on the front lines in the blitzkrieg-like opening round of the Iraq War. 59,000 first printing. Agent, Richard Abate of ICM. (June 21)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Far from the news media's lionization of the captured Pfc. Jessica Lynch or its vilification of enlisted grunts in the Abu Ghraib torture debacle, Mr. Wright's portrait is nuanced and grounded in details often overlooked in daily journalistic accounts." Sharon Waxman, The New York Times
"A truly compulsive read....Shockingly honest. Evan Wright delivers a provocative, personality-driven portrait of his experience last spring with 23 First Recon Marines in Iraq." Entertainment Weekly
"I have rarely read a more frightening book. What Wright describes goes so far beyond the obvious 'war is hell' platitude that it wil keep any thinking reader awake for many nights." Jeff Guinn, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Wright's powerhouse work of nonfiction which expands on his acclaimed three-part series that appeared in Rolling Stone during the summer of 2003 follows the 23 marines of First Recon who spearheaded the blitzkrieg on Iraq.
Based on the author's National Magazine Award-winning series in "Rolling Stone," this "New York Times" bestseller is "one of the best books to come out of the Iraq War" ("Financial Times").
Visit HBO’s Generation Kill website here.
The New York Times bestseller—"one of the best books to come out of the second Iraq war." (Financial Times) Within hours of 9/11, America's war on terrorism fell to those like the 23 Marines of the First Recon Battalion, the first generation dispatched into open-ed combat since Vietnam. They were a new breed of American warrior unrecognizable to their forebears-soldiers raised on hip hop, Internet porn, Marilyn Manson, video games and The Real World, a band of born-again Christians, dopers, Buddhists, and New Agers who gleaned their precepts from kung fu movies and Oprah Winfrey. Cocky, brave, headstrong, wary, and mostly unprepared for the physical, emotional, and moral horrors ahead, the "First Suicide Battalion" would spearhead the blitzkrieg on Iraq, and fight against the hardest resistance Saddam had to offer. Generation Kill is the funny, frightening, and profane firsthand account of these remarkable men, of the personal toll of victory, and of the randomness, brutality, and camaraderie of a new American war. Read Evan Wright's posts on the Penguin Blog.
About the Author
Evan Wright is the author of Generation Kill, now the basis of the HBO miniseries for which he served as co-writer.
Wright earned his degree in medieval and Renaissance studies from Vassar College, an education he soon put work at Hustler magazine, where he served as "Entertainment Editor." In the late 1990's he began writing feature articles for Rolling Stone.
At Rolling Stone Wright focused on youth subcultures, from radical environmentalists to skinheads to sorority girls. His work is characterized by immersion in his subjects' worlds, detailed reporting and dark humor.
After 9/ll he pitched his editor on the idea that since the US military was "basically another youth subculture," he ought to be writing about it. He has covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He is the recipient of two National Magazine Awards, one for reporting on the war in Iraq in Rolling Stone and the other for a profile published in Vanity Fair.
Generation Kill received numerous awards, including the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the Los Angeles Times book award, a PEN USA literary prize and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation's award for "Best History of the Marine Corps."
He is currently at work on two books for Putnam:
Hella Nation, a collection of essays and reporting to be published in the Spring of 2009
The Seed, a reported memoir of brainwashing to be published in the Summer of 2010.