Synopses & Reviews
With unprecedented access and previously unreported detail, here is a first hand account of the 22-day march to Baghdad that takes you behind the scenes and to the front line...
No one reporting on the war in Iraq had the unique battlefield clearance afforded the authors of this dramatic eyewitness account. Unlike embedded journalists confined to a single unit, West and Smith acquired a captured yellow SUV and joined with whatever unit was leading the assault every day of the fight. The result is a report of what really happened from the heart of the action unlike anything you’ll read anywhere else.
“While we will move swiftly and aggressively against those who resist, we will treat all others with decency, demonstrating chivalry and soldierly compassion for people who have endured a lifetime under Saddam’s oppression.”—Major General J.N. Mattis, 1st Marine Division, Commanding
Here is the story that can be told only by those who actually witnessed the action of the famed 1st Marine Division’s march on Baghdad, from the shaky beginning of U.S. operations in southern Iraq to the capture of U.S. prisoners, the misreported “fierce Iraqi resistance,” and the aggressive assaults that led to a quick and decisive victory.
With over a half century of military and combat experience between them, bestselling author F. J. “Bing” West and Major General Ray L. Smith, USMC (Ret.), combine expert military analysis with dramatic battlefield reporting. They bring the reader on a march that ended in victory—but was shadowed by second-guessing, unexpected reversals, and the threat of catastrophe.
With access to three-star generals in the command centers and to privates in the field, the authors reveal how the strategic plan played out in battle, showing what went well and what failed, and detailing power struggles for military and political control never reported. The result is destined to become the definitive account of ground warfare in Iraq.
Taking us straight to the front lines, The March Up follows the famed 1st Marine Division on its decisive 1,184-kilometer trek to Baghdad, from first assault to the taking of the city. The 1st Marine Division, which fought in Guadalcanal, Khe Sanh, and Kuwait City, provided the critical force in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Authors West and Smith, men with sixty years of military and combat experience between them, trace the strategic war plans as they unfolded in battle, providing unflinching portrayals of what went well and what went poorly, and detailing power struggles and failures that have never before been reported. No embedded journalist had the mobility, battlefield knowledge, or personal contacts that West and Smith had. They observed eighteen separate combat units in the division. What emerges is a dramatic, personal, and human account of how the corporals fought and the generals plotted, revealing the Marines behind the guns and the brave and sometimes unorthodox actions that resulted in astonishing triumphs. The March Up is the behind-the-scenes story of how the Marines on the front lines and the strategists in the backrooms turned the march to Baghdad into a road to victory.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -274).
About the Author
F. J. “BING” WEST (right) served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs in the Reagan administration. He was a Marine infantry officer in Vietnam, where he wrote Small Unit Action, a firsthand description of the combat. He is also the author of The Village, a Vietnam classic, and the bestselling war novel The Pepperdogs. Visit his website at www.westwrite.com.
MAJOR GENERAL RAY L. SMITH, USMC (Ret.), is one of the most decorated Marines since World War II and served as a rifle company commander in the battle for Hue City in 1968. He commanded the Marines in Grenada in 1983 and in Beirut. He later commanded the 3rd Marine Division. He is a national expert on infantry and urban warfare.