WAR STORIES: Operation Iraqi Freedom

Oliver North, Author
Oliver North, Author . Regnery $29.95 (332p) ISBN 978-0-89526-063-5
Reviewed on: 11/24/2003
Release date: 11/01/2003
Paperback - 310 pages - 978-0-89526-037-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4025-8731-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4025-8093-2
Paperback - 332 pages - 978-0-89526-023-9
Paperback - 332 pages - 978-0-89526-080-2
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North is a retired Marine infantry veteran of Vietnam and was a key player in the Iran-Contra affair. This book is a mostly workmanlike presentation of his experiences as a war correspondent for FOX (which shares copyright on this book) as the U.S. invaded Iraq. Any political uproar it may cause is likely to stem largely from Pavlovian responses to the name of the author, a response that ignores that he has written both fiction and nonfiction as well as having been a Marine officer. So it is hardly surprising that he does excellent work covering a Marine aviation unit, one appointed to transport assault troops and evacuate wounded in aging helicopters—never without risk and sometimes with bloody incidents. These are vividly and knowledgeably described, as is the Marines' courage and professionalism. Nor is it surprising to witness the empathy between a retired Marine about to become a grandfather and younger Marines about to see combat. The briefer coverage of the armored units of the 4th Infantry Division is a little frustrating, and the polemics against antiwar journalists and politicians, while unlikely to offend readers who share the author's views, feel redundant. So does the capsule history of Iraq in the appendix, although well-written enough to give the author credibility as a popular historian. Even the larger issue of the linkage between a correspondent, a network and a publisher who are all politically simpatico can hardly be made into anything especially sinister without the same kind of political partisanship that the book exhibits in its less inspiring moments. DVD of Fox News North special not seen by PW. (Dec.)

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