Reading Generation Kill

My first thoughts on Generation Kill, after reading about the first eight chapters, is that it’s a perfect Simon vehicle…a huge cast of characters who are hard to tell apart, have alien vocabularies and customs which you must learn before you can figure out what’s going on, and they cuss like sailors. Or Marines. Same diff in some instances.

It wasn’t hard to figure out which character Ziggy is going to play.

It’s also an excellent book in describing the fog and boredom and frustration of war, as First Recon zips from canceled mission to canceled mission, not really knowing what they’re supposed to be doing and where they’re supposed to go next, because their command structure is completely in the dark about the situation on the ground in the first days of the war trying to establish a bridgehead across the Euphrates at Nasiriyah. A much clearer sense of confusion than I’ve seen in any other war writing, including any of Stephen Ambrose’s books. Possibly only the German film Stalingrad manages to convey the utter lack of control and information vacuum in which the typical grunt operates.

One difference I notice between this book and, say, The Corner, is that Evan Wright leaves himself in the book as a character (albeit largely in the background), whereas Burns and Simon completely elided themselves from their coverage of the Baltimore drug trade. I don’t see Wright in the GK film credits, which makes one wonder, who sits behind Sgt. Colbert in the humvee?

Also, IMDB shows that the beautiful health- and fashion-conscious gayest straight Marine ever, Rudy Reyes, plays himself. This tickles me to death for some reason. It also gives Davis Rogan hope that he’ll get to play himself on the New Orleans pilot, but, heh, I think they should get a really short guy to play him.

Anybody else already read or currently reading GK before the show airs?

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6 Comments

  1. I haven’t gotten much further than before but apparently racy is “chewing it up.” She posted on it over at her place earlier this week.

    I’m hoping to get through most of the rest over the weekend.

    Even in the little bit I read, I too got the sense of these guys almost as weapons themselves, like pit bulls maybe, taken here and there, then released to do their thing.

    I also found it deeply ironic that a force whose best known special training was underwater maneuvers was sent to the desert, and was deployed in a manner completely inconsistent with their previously stated purpose.

  2. I just put my bookmark at Ch. 22… thoughts later, it’s a work night

  3. Last night I discovered that my copy was bound with pages 245-308 missing. Now I gotta get a replacement copy. Fuck.

  4. Damn Ray, what a buzzkill

  5. I’ll watch this one. I missed the first season of The Wire and then never jumped in. I’ve been having a bit of a premium cable orgy since my extended stay at basic cable Casa de Dangerblond (too much for fot tv anyway). I subscribed to Showtime to watch Season 3 of Weeds On Demand after seeing 1 & 2 (dvd & download), then threw caution to the wind and watched seasons 1 & 2 of Dexter (wow). I’d started watching John Adams before I went to N.O. and managed to catch the last 4 episodes as they were broadcast last week (not on On Demand). They’ll be run again on the 4th. I thought that JA & Recount together made for an interesting set piece, yielding considerably more meaning than either, alone.

    Prolly won’t read the book. Glad y’all’ll be blogging it.

  6. Hey Sophmom, glad to see your comment. Don’t be a stranger.

    That premium cable crack is a tough addiction, ain’t it?

    You probably already know the new season of Weeds starts tomorrow! Cannot wait.

    Interesting thought about Adams and Recount. I think a lot of folks watched John Adamns and thought he’d be rolling in his grave right now.


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