Synopses & Reviews
Jimmy Stephens makes the worst mistake of his career as a gossip columnist when he wrongly accuses a big star of cheating on his wife. With lawsuits pending, Jimmy's imperious new editor blackmails him into taking the place of the paper's injured front-line war correspondent. Shipped off to the desert and embedded with a group of foulmouthed but fraternal Marines, Jimmy provides a bewildered but unfiltered view of the invasion of Iraq that is alternately hair-raising, hilarious, and heartbreaking.
"Kulish, a journalist who was embedded with a Marine attack-helicopter unit for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, draws on that experience for this satirical debut novel. Facing dismissal over an erroneous story of celebrity infidelity, New York Daily Herald gossip reporter Jimmy Stephens is given a second chance. The country is about to go to war in Iraq, and the paper's veteran war correspondent is laid up after being hit by a delivery truck. To save his job, a reluctant and clueless Jimmy assumes the position. In Kuwait, Stephens joins a Marine infantry company and hitches a ride in a Humvee with four typical Marines: profane and irreverent, but thoroughly professional when necessary. The tough Marines, of course, tease the 'sissy-ass civilian reporter,' but sharing privation and sporadic combat affect Stephens and his Marine companions in unexpected ways. Though the war has changed dramatically since the initial invasion lending a strangely dated feeling to the narrative a steady flow of Yossarian-flavored absurdity ('We're the pro-Iraqi forces, and the anti-Iraqi forces are the Iraqis') smoothes out the bumps in Stephens's odyssey. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Kulish's funny, engaging novel...gets it exactly right."
Hampton Sides, bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers
"Compelling...Uses humor to illuminate the deadly absurdities of war...a deft command of tone from the slapstick to the tragic."
"[U]nforgettable...so vivid, I feel like I've spent time in a Humvee with four marines heading for Baghdad."
Paulina Porizkova, author of A Model Summer
"Told with wit and sympathy, sharply written and instantly engaging, it is a very funny book."
Arthur Phillips, author of Prague and Angelica
"[A] passionate critique of modern warfare disguised as lad lit. This one'll sneak up on you. (Grade: A-)"
"The author...has a pitch-perfect ear for the musical crudity of Marine banter."
"[A] clever, affecting novel."
The New Yorker
"Read Last One In...Nicholas Kulish's funny and heartbreaking look at life on the roads of Baghdad."
New York Post
"...Kulish...has an excellent eye for the...details of Marine life...his dialogue has a great, Strangelove-ian snap."
Washington City Paper
"[R]eadable and compelling satire...a good romp...that keeps the reader yearning...insightful commentary..."
Los Angeles Times Book Review
About the Author
In 2003, Nicholas Kulish was embedded with a Marine attack-helicopter squadron for the Wall Street Journal. He is an editorial writer at the New York Times and has also written for the Washington Post, Washington Monthly, and ESPN magazine. He lives in New York City.