“Generation Kill” by Evan Wright – America’s Wars #4

This book, published in 2004 and read by me in 2009, is subtitled “Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America and the New Face of American War”.

A narrative by an embedded journalist is very different from a journal like that of Richard Engel (see blog post of November 15, 2013). Wright was thoroughly embedded. I don’t know what news service he represented. There nothing about any communication with the outside world during his time with the troops. Most of what he says is very specific and detailed.

Then he annoyingly drops one big generalization, which I paraphrase here:

“This is America’s first generation of disposable children. Raised by absent single parents, their computer games etc. are more real to them than any human relationship.”

Wright does not further expand or explain.

How can I mesh this with the recent on-line assertions that the “millenials” are America’s most wanted children ever and were raised with annoying attitudes of entitlement and dangerous levels of narcissism? (OK, so I can’t. America is too multifaceted for either of these generalizations.)

Does Wright think no one MINDS the deaths of these soldiers? I beg to differ. Few parents are “absent” by choice. Even imperfect parents grieve for their children. I don’t think anyone is casual about the risks inherent in military service.

This book should be taken with some skepticism. There are many, many military memoirs available.

I consulted Amazon.com for more information and reviews of Generation Kill. The reviews are all over the map, with a slant towards being favorable. Some soldiers consider the book to be misinformed slander. One specifically commented that military officers are rarely as incompetent as Wright portrays them to be. 

That said, I recommend the book. I know little about military life and combat experience. Generation Kill gave me a look at the daily life of soldiers.


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