Joker One: A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood

Donovan Campbell, Author . Random $26 (313p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6773-2

Campbell decided as a junior at Princeton that attending Marine Corps Officer Candidate School would look good on his résumé. Three years later, in the spring of 2004, he was in Iraq commanding a platoon known by its radio call sign, “Joker One.” Campbell tells its story, and his, in an outstanding narrative of the Iraq War. Joker One counted around 40 dudes: country boys and smalltown jocks; a few Hispanics and a single black. Some were college men with futures; some had pasts they preferred to forget. The battalion was assigned to one of Iraq's worst hot spots: the city of Ramadi, where faceless enemies found shelter among 350,000 Iraqi civilians. Joker One fought from street to street, house to house and ambush to ambush for seven straight months. By the end of the tour, “even the Gunny's hands had started ceaselessly shaking,” Campbell writes. Faced with urgent life-and-death decisions, Campbell had learned that “there are no great options... you live with the results and shut up about the whole thing.” For all his constant self-questioning, Lt. Campbell brought Joker One home with only one KIA—a record as impressive as his account. (Mar. 17)

Reviewed on: 10/06/2008
Release date: 03/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
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