Friday, June 11, 2010

Stuart Reid of Foreign Affairs Reviews KABOOM by Matt Gallagher in The New Republic


In his review titled "The Boots-Eye View," Reid writes:

...a vivid and introspective chronicle...

...Gallagher gives the book’s characters—there is a Smitty, a Bulldog, and a Doc (but no Tex) much more than the name-rank-hometown exposition that too often flattens soldiers in print.

...appreciate his evocative prose, convincing dialogue, and, especially, telling vignettes of life as an American soldier in Iraq—“the suck,” as he calls the experience.

...If the surge’s creed was counterinsurgency, the army field manual was scripture and Petraeus, its lead author, was the apostle. Gallagher, then, was something of a young disciple. He has trained under a pupil of Petraeus, he carries T. E. Lawrence, he teaches Iraqi history to his platoon, and he quotes the counterinsurgency manual in the field.

...Kaboom suggests that if the American military is to keep soldiers such as Gallagher in the ranks, it will have to learn, as he did, to embrace the suck of counterinsurgency.