My War Review
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My War may be the first meaningful book written by the slacker generation. Typical of his generation, Colby Buzzell started his book out of boredom—as a blog. But then, in so many ways, Buzzell is the archetype of his generation’s soldiers. He grew up in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco eating pot-laced brownies, skateboarding, and listening to death metal bands. Nothing at all like the recruiting poster, stereotype soldier.

Buzzell joins the Army not because of some deep sense of patriotism but because he’s tired of dead-end temp jobs, and he needs some adventure. His family, of course, tries to talk him out of enlisting, but to no avail. He takes a short tour as an 11Bravo (Infantry soldier), and before he can turn around twice his unit is sent to Iraq.

Once in country, Buzzell gets tabbed to be his company’s M240 machine gunner. He takes to the job and enjoys the hell out of going out on missions. It’s the down time that drives him nuts, and that’s when he decides to start his blog.

The blog starts off as a collection of his thoughts and copies of lyrics from his favorite bands. Then he reads an online news story about a mission that his unit had conducted. Angry that the reporter got most of the facts wrong, Bruzzell posts a couple of thousand words about what really happened. The number of people reading his blog literally explodes into the stratosphere overnight. He gets interviewed by major media outlets, and gets noticed by his chain of command. That was a problem—one that eventually led to him closing down the blog entirely.

But the story here is not really about his blog. It’s about a typical soldier trying to do his job and get back to the States.

What makes this book so special is the way the story is told. Buzzell tells the story the way a soldier talks. He alternates between the excitement of a young man doing something new and a gruff, to-the-point tone more in line with a man twice his age. He uses the F-word a couple of times per page; sometimes as a noun, sometimes as and adjective, and quite often as a matter-of-fact verb. His perspective is not one of deep introspection about the reasons behind the war on terror or the duality of man. He’s simply one of the young men who’s fighting the battle, saying what he’s thinking.

My War is a refreshingly honest book and one that I encourage everyone to read—not because it will make anything clearer, but because it gives us all a look at the type of soldier we have defending our country.

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