Books

Better than a book jacket blurb

Two Marines who fought in Iraq help tout Evan Wright's new book on the war in a Sharon Waxman story out of Oceanside in today's New York Times. They are photographed with the Los Angeles-based author and say he got it right, including the occasional killing of civilians, the horrors, the racist jokes and the battlefield problem of finding a place to relieve oneself. Both Marines had suffered repercussions from superiors for being quoted in Wright's award-winning series last year in Rolling Stone.

Mr. Wright won the unusually intense embedding assignment by hounding a commander in Kuwait City in the prelude to the war. The marines were not quick to warm up to a leftist rock-magazine journalist in their midst, referring to him only as "the journalist." But fairly soon they came to respect the bravery (or foolishness) of this tall, often sheepish writer, especially because Mr. Wright seemed keen to ride into the most dangerous situations...

After his first experience of shelling, Mr. Wright, like all the marines, dug his nighttime sleeping hole deep. He grew a Marine-style mustache. And after several weeks, he was one of the guys. They particularly liked that he had once made a living writing for pornographic magazines.

"His humor was the same, and he'd worked for Hustler, that was an automatic," Sergeant Espera said. "If it was up to me, I'd have had him stand post."

Wright's book, Generation Kill, comes out next week.


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