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House to House: An Epic Memoir of Warby David Bellavia and John R. Bruning
Synopses & Reviews
Blood flows over my left hand and I lose my grip on his hair. His head snaps back against the floor. In an instant, his fists are pummeling me. I rock from his counterblows. He lands one on my injured jaw and the pain nearly blinds me. He connects with my nose, and blood and snot pour down my throat. I spit blood between my teeth and scream with him. The two of us sound like caged dogs locked in a death match. We are.
On the night of November 10, 2004, a U.S. Army infantry squad under Staff Sergeant David Bellavia entered the heart of the city of Fallujah and plunged into one of the most sustained and savage urban battles in the history of American men at arms.
With Third Platoon, Alpha Company, part of the Army's Task Force 2/2, Bellavia and his men confronted an enemy who had had weeks to prepare, booby-trapping houses, arranging ambushes, rigging entire city blocks as explosives-laden kill zones, and even stocking up on atropine, a steroid that pumps up fighters in the equivalent of a long-lasting crack high. Entering one house, alone, Bellavia faced the fight of his life against six insurgents, using every weapon at his disposal, including a knife. It is the stuff of legend and the chief reason he is one of the great heroes of the Iraq War.
Bringing to searing life the terrifying intimacy of hand-to-hand infantry combat, House to House is far more than just another war story. Populated by an indelibly drawn cast of characters, from a fearless corporal who happens to be a Bush-hating liberal to an inspirational sergeant-major who became the author's own lost father figure, it develops the intensely close relationships that form between soldiers under fire. Their friendships, tested in brutal combat, would never be quite the same. Not all of them would make it out of the city alive. What happened to them in their bloody embrace with America's most implacable enemy is a harrowing, unforgettable story of triumph, tragedy, and the resiliency of the human spirit.
A timeless portrait of the U.S. infantryman's courage, House to House is a soldier's memoir that is destined to rank with the finest personal accounts of men at war.
"'Staff sergeant Bellavia's account of the fierce 2004 fighting in Fallujah will satisfy readers who like their testosterone undiluted. Portraying himself as a hard-bitten, foul-mouthed, superbly trained warrior, deeply in love with America and the men in his unit, contemptuous of liberals and a U.S. media that fails to support soldiers fighting in the front lines of the global war on terror, Bellavia begins with a nasty urban shootout against Shiite insurgent militias. Six months later, his unit prepares to assault the massively fortified city of Fallujah in a ferocious battle that takes up the rest of the book. Anyone expecting an overview of strategy or political background to the war has picked the wrong book. Bellavia writes a precise, hour-by-hour account of the fighting, featuring repeated heroic feats and brave sacrifice from Americans but none from the enemy, contemptuously dismissed as drug-addled, suicidal maniacs. Readers will encounter a nuts-and-bolts description of weapons, house-to-house tactics, gallantry and tragic mistakes, culminating with a glorious victory that, in Bellavia's view, will go down in history with the invasion of Normandy. Like a pitch-by-pitch record of a baseball game, this detailed battle description will fascinate enthusiasts and bore everyone else. (Sept.)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Bellavia is the legend from Iraq. He went house-to-house in Fallujah killing the terrorists — alone! MUST reading for all grunts." Bing West, author of No True Glory
"Staff Sgt. Bellavia brings it. This is life in the infantry, circa right now. They used to say that 'the real war will never get in the books.' Here it does, stunningly. You may not agree with it, or like what he has to say. Read it anyway — and then sit silently for an hour or so and contemplate what he has done on behalf of his country." Thomas E. Ricks, author of Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq and Making the Corps
"While his book may be read as a combat adventure story, that would shortchange its scope and depth....Thoughtful readers will extract lessons on the roles of pride, instinct, leadership and anger, as well as on the nature of bravery." Oregonian
"In an era of high-tech weaponry, Bellavia puts us on the ground with modern-day grunts who could just as easily be fighting in World War II in Europe." Kirkus Reviews
A nominee for the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross, Sgt. Bellavia tells the raw, compelling story of how he miraculously survived a brutal tour of duty in Fallujah, Iraq. Eight pages of b&w photographs.
About the Author
Staff Sergeant David Bellavia spent six years in the U.S. Army, including some of the most intense fighting of the Iraq War. He has been awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star for his actions in Iraq, and recommended for the Distinguished Service Cross and Medal of Honor for his actions in Fallujah. In 2005, he received the Conspicuous Service Cross (New York State's highest award for military valor) and was inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame. He is the cofounder of Vets for Freedom, an advocacy organization of veterans concerned about the politicization of media coverage of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. His writing has been published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, National Review, The Weekly Standard, and other publications. He lives in western New York. John Bruning is the author or co-author of eight books including House to House by David Bellavia, Bruining has been a writer and historian for seventeen years.
Table of Contents
Prologue: The Coffins of Muqdadiyah
Chapter 1 In the Shit
Chapter 2 Beyond Redemption
Chapter 3 The Measure of a Man
Chapter 4 Land Rush
Chapter 5 Machines of Loving Grace
Chapter 6 The First Angel
Chapter 7 Battle Madness
Chapter 8 Doorways
Chapter 9 Dorothy's Oz Gate
Chapter 10 Shadows and Wraiths
Chapter 11 Rooftop Alamo
Chapter 12 The Stay Puft Marshmallow Cock
Chapter 13 Where Feral Dogs Feed
Chapter 14 Better Homes and Gardens
Chapter 15 "The Power of Christ Compels You"
Chapter 16 The Failed Test of Manhood
Chapter 17 A Soldier's Prayer
Chapter 18 Man-to-Man
Chapter 19 Blood Oath
Chapter 20 The Last Caress
Chapter 21 A Smoke on Borrowed Time
Chapter 22 Nut to Butt in Body Bags
Epilogue: Broken Promises
Brief Glossary of Terms
What Our Readers Are Saying
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