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After graduating from Princeton, Donovan Campbell, motivated by his unwavering patriotism and commitment, decided to join the service, realizing that becoming a Marine officer would allow him to give back to his country, engage in the world, and learn to lead. In this immediate, thrilling, and inspiring memoir, Campbell recounts a timeless and transcendent tale of brotherh After graduating from Princeton, Donovan Campbell, motivated by his unwavering patriotism and commitment, decided to join the service, realizing that becoming a Marine officer would allow him to give back to his country, engage in the world, and learn to lead. In this immediate, thrilling, and inspiring memoir, Campbell recounts a timeless and transcendent tale of brotherhood, courage, and sacrifice. As commander of a forty-man infantry platoon called Joker One, Campbell had just months to train and transform a ragtag group of brand-new Marines into a first-rate cohesive fighting unit, men who would become his family: Sergeant Leza, the house intellectual who read Che Guevara; Sergeant Mariano Noriel, the “Filipino ball of fire” who would become Campbell’s closest confidant and friend; Lance Corporal William Feldmeir, a narcoleptic who fell asleep during battle; and a lieutenant known simply as “the Ox,” whose stubborn aggressiveness would be more curse than blessing. Campbell and his men were assigned to Ramadi, that capital of the Sunni-dominated Anbar province that was an explosion just waiting to happen. And when it did happen–with the chilling cries of “Jihad, Jihad, Jihad!” echoing from minaret to minaret–Campbell and company were there to protect the innocent, battle the insurgents, and pick up the pieces. After seven months of day-to-day, house-to-house combat, nearly half of Campbell’s platoon had been wounded, a casualty rate that went beyond that of any Marine or Army unit since Vietnam. Yet unlike Fallujah, Ramadi never fell to the enemy. Told by the man who led the unit of hard-pressed Marines, Joker One is a gripping tale of a leadership, loyalty, faith, and camaraderie throughout the best and worst of times.


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After graduating from Princeton, Donovan Campbell, motivated by his unwavering patriotism and commitment, decided to join the service, realizing that becoming a Marine officer would allow him to give back to his country, engage in the world, and learn to lead. In this immediate, thrilling, and inspiring memoir, Campbell recounts a timeless and transcendent tale of brotherh After graduating from Princeton, Donovan Campbell, motivated by his unwavering patriotism and commitment, decided to join the service, realizing that becoming a Marine officer would allow him to give back to his country, engage in the world, and learn to lead. In this immediate, thrilling, and inspiring memoir, Campbell recounts a timeless and transcendent tale of brotherhood, courage, and sacrifice. As commander of a forty-man infantry platoon called Joker One, Campbell had just months to train and transform a ragtag group of brand-new Marines into a first-rate cohesive fighting unit, men who would become his family: Sergeant Leza, the house intellectual who read Che Guevara; Sergeant Mariano Noriel, the “Filipino ball of fire” who would become Campbell’s closest confidant and friend; Lance Corporal William Feldmeir, a narcoleptic who fell asleep during battle; and a lieutenant known simply as “the Ox,” whose stubborn aggressiveness would be more curse than blessing. Campbell and his men were assigned to Ramadi, that capital of the Sunni-dominated Anbar province that was an explosion just waiting to happen. And when it did happen–with the chilling cries of “Jihad, Jihad, Jihad!” echoing from minaret to minaret–Campbell and company were there to protect the innocent, battle the insurgents, and pick up the pieces. After seven months of day-to-day, house-to-house combat, nearly half of Campbell’s platoon had been wounded, a casualty rate that went beyond that of any Marine or Army unit since Vietnam. Yet unlike Fallujah, Ramadi never fell to the enemy. Told by the man who led the unit of hard-pressed Marines, Joker One is a gripping tale of a leadership, loyalty, faith, and camaraderie throughout the best and worst of times.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    This book was like a breath of fresh air to someone who was just a little tired of the egotistical preening prevalent in some of the books written by civilian contractors or elite soldiery in Iraq. Mr Campbell's book is intelligent and insightful, and I got the feeling he was totally honest throughout. Here is an officer who presents his men in their best light, lamenting injuries to his own men but never stooping to vilify the civilian populace of the country his Marines have, essentially, inva This book was like a breath of fresh air to someone who was just a little tired of the egotistical preening prevalent in some of the books written by civilian contractors or elite soldiery in Iraq. Mr Campbell's book is intelligent and insightful, and I got the feeling he was totally honest throughout. Here is an officer who presents his men in their best light, lamenting injuries to his own men but never stooping to vilify the civilian populace of the country his Marines have, essentially, invaded. He does not mince words in discussing equipment shortages and command shortcomings, and is utterly merciless with himself when discussing what he perceives were errors he may have made in the heat of action. The book is not all soul-searching: the action is riveting, and Campbell makes you actually give a damn about his men. He is a soldier philosopher and no doubt would have been a great officer to have served with. The book will keep your interest and the ending will leave you misty-eyed. I have one minor complaint regarding this publication; I think it would have benefitted from a few photos to give the reader a visual on some of the main players and battleground. It is a minor grievance though as the writing is very descriptive and certainly stands on its own quite nicely.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    It’s hot, it’s ugly, it’s emotional, it’s frustrating, sad, occasionally humorous…and, most of all, it’s honest. Donovan Campbell’s account, Joker One: A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood, of his time leading his Marine platoon in Ramadi as the Iraqi insurgency heats up in 2004 is one of the better accounts of small unit action in war. What I appreciated most was his complete honesty about his performance and leadership. If he makes a mistake, he lays it out clearly. It’s hot, it’s ugly, it’s emotional, it’s frustrating, sad, occasionally humorous…and, most of all, it’s honest. Donovan Campbell’s account, Joker One: A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood, of his time leading his Marine platoon in Ramadi as the Iraqi insurgency heats up in 2004 is one of the better accounts of small unit action in war. What I appreciated most was his complete honesty about his performance and leadership. If he makes a mistake, he lays it out clearly. He makes decisions and tells you the consequences, not all good. Anyone who has commanded a military unit knows the NCOs make or break the commander. He gives all the credit to his young squad and fire team leaders, probably painting them a little better here than in real life, but completely understandable. He has little time to train his new platoon and turn them into a cohesive team. Deployed earlier than planned, Campbell finds himself in Iraq in the capital of the worst province, Anbar. Fallujah is just down the road -- we know what goes on there in 2004. The Ramadi area is deceptively calm at first, he soon finds out his tour of Iraq will not be quiet for long. Firefights erupt: His performance:(view spoiler)[ It was my first firefight; I didn’t want to sound frantic or panicked on the radio since how you sound when you call in during your first enemy contact can come to define how you’re viewed by those above and below you for the rest of your tour. (hide spoiler)] Enemy performance: (view spoiler)[ The idea that someone would use small children—both girls and boys—as nothing more than disposable body armor is so foreign, so beyond the pale of basic morality and decency, that you have trouble believing it until it happens to you. (hide spoiler)] As many have, he identifies one of the most glaring errors of the post-war occupation, the lack of any way to relate to the people of Ramadi and Iraq: …maybe we needed a more nuanced understanding of the various neighborhoods and of the attitudes of the Iraqis who inhabited them. One weak point in the book is how little we find out about the people in Ramadi, they are a phantom presence. Except when they are victims of the violence—then we do find out a little. The Marines take many risks to rescue and treat Iraqis caught in the crossfire. His brutally honest appraisal of his performance, his superiors and his subordinates is the strongest part of the book, but not the easiest reading. Serious mistakes are made and accidents happen, costing lives and limbs. He doesn’t sugar-coat any part of it. He also candidly explains his spiritual side, confessing his initial belief that if he prays hard enough, his men will survive. They don’t all survive and he comes to terms with his religious beliefs. The spiritual side (no atheists in foxholes is shown to be overly generalized) is covered without preaching and without gloss. The secularist may be uncomfortable but I found it sincere. He loves his men and will do anything to preserve them. This is the second Ivy Leaguer I’ve come across to write about his experience in war. He joins Nate Fick (One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer) in a very exclusive club of leaders from that demographic. Strengthened by his spiritual underpinnings, Donovan Campbell shows leadership and grace under the most trying conditions imaginable. Well worth the time.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    How to review a book based on someone's very real, heart wrenching, war experience. The good, the bad and the ugly, it's all in here. Donovan Campbell opens up completely and shows what a good leader is all about. I was impressed and deeply moved by his honesty and his love for his brothers in arms. This book is more than just a physical, action packed war story, it's a human story that will stay with you once you are done. You don't realize the impact until you finish the book. How to review a book based on someone's very real, heart wrenching, war experience. The good, the bad and the ugly, it's all in here. Donovan Campbell opens up completely and shows what a good leader is all about. I was impressed and deeply moved by his honesty and his love for his brothers in arms. This book is more than just a physical, action packed war story, it's a human story that will stay with you once you are done. You don't realize the impact until you finish the book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    This book does a superb job depicting what life as a platoon leader in Iraq is like in the lead up to deployment, during the deployment itself, and just what being an officer in general means. Furthermore, the book shines brilliantly in sharing with you the lives of the Marines in Joker One platoon. Parts of the book had me laughing out loud. Certain parts literally gave me goosebumps (helicopter incident). The last chapter had me shedding a few tears. Chiefly, the love the author had for his Ma This book does a superb job depicting what life as a platoon leader in Iraq is like in the lead up to deployment, during the deployment itself, and just what being an officer in general means. Furthermore, the book shines brilliantly in sharing with you the lives of the Marines in Joker One platoon. Parts of the book had me laughing out loud. Certain parts literally gave me goosebumps (helicopter incident). The last chapter had me shedding a few tears. Chiefly, the love the author had for his Marines is palpable throughout. Certain books are tagged as must-reads for new platoon leaders, and in my opinion, this book deserves to be counted amongst that group. I know it will have a special place on my shelf for years to come.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    I wanted to read this book because I was curious about infantry operations in Iraq from the standpoint of a soldier. Joker One was the name of a Marine infantry platoon, and the author was the lieutenant in charge. The book tells about his tour of duty in Ramadi, when things were especially hot there, as well as his stateside preparations. The author joined the Corps right after graduation from Princeton. He writes well, but thankfully limits his subject to what he observes and what he feels, av I wanted to read this book because I was curious about infantry operations in Iraq from the standpoint of a soldier. Joker One was the name of a Marine infantry platoon, and the author was the lieutenant in charge. The book tells about his tour of duty in Ramadi, when things were especially hot there, as well as his stateside preparations. The author joined the Corps right after graduation from Princeton. He writes well, but thankfully limits his subject to what he observes and what he feels, avoiding political commentary and strategic musings. Before he wrote the book, his enlistment period had expired and he had been separated from the service. Actually, he was working on a graduate degree at the Harvard Business School when he wrote, so he was not constrained by how his comments in the book would affect his military career. He is very candid about the Corps and the officers he served under. He loves the USMC, but the book is not a sugared up version of his service time. I found the book extremely informative and quite moving. That was damned tough duty that he and his men went through. He was close to his enlisted men, and was able to bring those young soldiers to life on his pages. As a former enlisted man, I have a soft spot in my heart for young soldiers, so I found all that aspect of the book particularly moving. I especially recommend the book to anyone who has any interest in learning more about combat ground operations in the Iraq war.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michael Flanagan

    The scene is the city of Ramadi like all of Iraq the enemy could be anyone and anywhere.This book really hit home with me the sacrifices made by ordinary people in serving their country. The last half of the book were the author goes into the the strain of leadership and the toll it takes when those you lead get hurt also struck a deep chord with me. What these people do day after day after day is beyond comprehension and shows what strength of character is all about.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Monica Wilcox

    I'm fascinated with brotherhoods. Woman don't have sisterhoods. We have knitting circles and sororities and book clubs. No one is covering my back at Bunco. No one risked their life for me at Tri Delta. A platoon, motorcycle clubs, the Masons: men will cluster together with complete strangers and develop bonds that are often stronger than blood. Joker One is the story of a brotherhood. You can feel the responsibility Campbell feels for each of his (and they are his) marines. His narrative was we I'm fascinated with brotherhoods. Woman don't have sisterhoods. We have knitting circles and sororities and book clubs. No one is covering my back at Bunco. No one risked their life for me at Tri Delta. A platoon, motorcycle clubs, the Masons: men will cluster together with complete strangers and develop bonds that are often stronger than blood. Joker One is the story of a brotherhood. You can feel the responsibility Campbell feels for each of his (and they are his) marines. His narrative was well done. From training to cultural knowledge to supplies, I was amazed at how ill prepared they were for the mission. Through most of the book I wanted to travel back in time so I could give them a bloody radio. Yet they did their job without sacrificing their morals. By the end, it's the love they have for one another that moves you. Some of my favorite quotes: "They wanted revenge on our faceless enemies and on the fearful civilians whose hesitance had prolonged our waiting and cost us one of our best men. They wanted revenge on the stupid, broken Iraqi public services whose ambulance had taken so long to respond to the wounded little children whom some of us had watched die. And they wanted revenge on the whole miserable city of Ramadi for forcing us to make horrible choices, day in and day out, until it seemed like no matter what path we took, we lost" "Now I think that I understand a bit more about what it means to truly love, because for my men, love was something much more than emotion. For them, love was expressed in the only currency that mattered in combat: action."

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I should disclose this was not only my first book on Iraq, but the first war memoir I have ever read. I’m not even exactly sure what made me pick it up or that I would make it through the first few chapters. As a housewife, I have as little in common with your typical marine as anyone. But this book is excellent. The consummately humble Campbell tells the story of his platoon, Joker One, from it’s inception through deployment to Iraqi city of Ramadi for a nine month peace keeping mission. The re I should disclose this was not only my first book on Iraq, but the first war memoir I have ever read. I’m not even exactly sure what made me pick it up or that I would make it through the first few chapters. As a housewife, I have as little in common with your typical marine as anyone. But this book is excellent. The consummately humble Campbell tells the story of his platoon, Joker One, from it’s inception through deployment to Iraqi city of Ramadi for a nine month peace keeping mission. The reader is presented with a straightforward and honest account of war from the men who fought it. Campbell writes with grace and humor telling us of the platoon’s growing pains and mistakes as well as his short comings as a leader. He takes the time to walk the reader through military basics and the political setting of Ramadi making the story accessible without over politicizing or romanticizing his work. There is plenty of action, though nothing is gritty, and the book brims with poignant moments. I doubt it is possible to finish this book without renewed appreciation for the sacrifices our men make out of love for each other and our country. If you’ve ever wondered how service men keep their lives, faith and humanity—read this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Moore

    I have always been grateful for the service of our military men and women. Reading this account of a Marine platoon' s experiences in Iraq more than doubled my respect and understanding of what they sacrifice and live through to keep us free. The basis of their motivation for all they do comes from love. Love for America, love for brothers in arms, love for every innocent person they serve to protect. It was hard to imagine the things they endured to make Ramadi safer for local civilians. It rea I have always been grateful for the service of our military men and women. Reading this account of a Marine platoon' s experiences in Iraq more than doubled my respect and understanding of what they sacrifice and live through to keep us free. The basis of their motivation for all they do comes from love. Love for America, love for brothers in arms, love for every innocent person they serve to protect. It was hard to imagine the things they endured to make Ramadi safer for local civilians. It really takes special qualities to leave the comforts of home and family behind to do their kind of work. Platoon leader, Donovan Campbell, shares his emotions, and those of his men, as they bond together while taking on combat missions. The loyalty these men have for each other and faith in their leader is inspiring. I am prouder than ever of our soldiers after reading this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    For those who didn't know already, the war in Iraq and the War in Afghanistan are completely different beasts and in this book you get an honest taste of the urban warfare beast that is/was Iraq in 2004, Ramadi. The book starts out, however, with Donovan Campbell back in the states. Training with his new platoon, learning his way as a new leader and mentor. It is here that I loved the book the most. I got to see the evolution of this intelligent, kind, honest officer and I am glad of that. It was For those who didn't know already, the war in Iraq and the War in Afghanistan are completely different beasts and in this book you get an honest taste of the urban warfare beast that is/was Iraq in 2004, Ramadi. The book starts out, however, with Donovan Campbell back in the states. Training with his new platoon, learning his way as a new leader and mentor. It is here that I loved the book the most. I got to see the evolution of this intelligent, kind, honest officer and I am glad of that. It was an inspirational window to look into for anyone who respects and admires people with those unique leadership qualities. Then the memoir takes you to the hot, violent streets of Ramadi in 2004 where Campbell took his baptism of fire straight on. He didn't always cope well, but he always coped as a good leader should, with resilience and love and reflection. When he broke, he broke in silence, in the presence of few. I came out the other end of this book knowing I had been introduced to a very special individual. An officer who accepted those in his platoon who were flawed. Timid kids, narcoleptic soldiers, misfits, he did not reject them, he instead nurtured their positives, turning them into soldiers that were as good at their job as any of their peers. And as a leader of men, Campbell led with equal quantities of heart and mind and soul. He truly can see that it isn't the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. While I did drop a star for reasons that aren't important enough to comment on, those 4 stars are strong, verging on 5.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bernie Charbonneau

    I find these kinds of reviews tough. Being a Canadian citizen and very close neighbors to my friends in the USA, I don't always agree with their policy's, but they are always there when you need them. I have always supported our military boys and gals, yes boys, as they are in majority not even of drinking age yet but we ask them to put their life's on the line so we can enjoy the freedom that we take for granted. So, on to this novel. I have read a number of books that involve our Canadian mili I find these kinds of reviews tough. Being a Canadian citizen and very close neighbors to my friends in the USA, I don't always agree with their policy's, but they are always there when you need them. I have always supported our military boys and gals, yes boys, as they are in majority not even of drinking age yet but we ask them to put their life's on the line so we can enjoy the freedom that we take for granted. So, on to this novel. I have read a number of books that involve our Canadian military personnel involved in the middle east and this is my problem with these type of novels. I would prefer that these type of books didn't exist. In which, I mean, that there was no need of our military to be situated in these type of conflicts but I digress, there will always be a need. This novel was very well written and informative about an actual conflict that happened in 2004. With characters that stay with you, and that is my problem, as some will not be coming home, this story was for me funny at times and serious. I am grateful for Mr. Campbell and all the other men and ladies who unselfishly give their lives for us.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hααlεч ♥ Fιѕнεя

    This book was wonderful. The fact that it was based on actual accounts of the platoon's missions. The introduction to the story is perfect. Campbell explains that it is his duty to his team to tell their story and that every soldier should tell their story because it will do more damage to lock painful memories inside. I am not a fan of war movies but this book puts you right in the action. It is very well written. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to those who like nonfiction military novels. This book was wonderful. The fact that it was based on actual accounts of the platoon's missions. The introduction to the story is perfect. Campbell explains that it is his duty to his team to tell their story and that every soldier should tell their story because it will do more damage to lock painful memories inside. I am not a fan of war movies but this book puts you right in the action. It is very well written. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to those who like nonfiction military novels.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    why do NPR stories make me cry all the time recently? heard this guy on fresh air. he was fascinating and articulate. not sure if i'll actually read it but i wanted to remember it. why do NPR stories make me cry all the time recently? heard this guy on fresh air. he was fascinating and articulate. not sure if i'll actually read it but i wanted to remember it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Oceana2602

    I bought this book because I had been told by someone who is a rather big fan of Generation Kill, that "Joker One" was possibly even better than Nate Fick's "One Bullet Away". Since "One Bullet Away" was one of the best books I've read in the last years, there was no question that I desperately had to read "Joker One". Too make it short: it's not better. But it's also not worse. It's simply very very different, in, well, mostly everything. The only thing the two books have in common is that they a I bought this book because I had been told by someone who is a rather big fan of Generation Kill, that "Joker One" was possibly even better than Nate Fick's "One Bullet Away". Since "One Bullet Away" was one of the best books I've read in the last years, there was no question that I desperately had to read "Joker One". Too make it short: it's not better. But it's also not worse. It's simply very very different, in, well, mostly everything. The only thing the two books have in common is that they are both written by (ex-)Marine officers ("There is no such thing as an ex-marine..."), and they both focus on the stories of their deployments to Iraq. And that's about all the have in common. The comparison is still valid, though, in my opinion, because it is the differences that made this book (more) interesting to me. I don't think I would have enjoyed it quite as much if I hadn't read and loved OBA before. But let's talk about "Joker One". Unlike OBA, Joker One is a story almost entirely about the platoon commanded by the author, Donovan Campbell, during his deployment to Iraq in 2004. Campbell makes no secret out of this, he states quite clearly in the beginning of the book that he writes this book out of love for his men, and with love for his men. And that love is something that can be felt in every chapter, every word. Despite this, or maybe because of this, "Joker One" never felt as real to me as the people in OBA did. Sure, Campbell tells us a few basic things about his marines (at least a few of them), but they never became "real" to me, they never developed their own personalities in my head. I kept wondering why that was while I read, and finally noticed that we see everything, the characters and the events, not only through Campbell's eyes, but through his love-tinted glasses, which set on the story a bit like a fog that never really lets you focus. Fick looks sharply at the world, critically. Campbell just looks and describes. I'm okay with this, after all, Campbell emphasizes the love for his men so often that I can't say I wasn't warned that this book might be a bit one-sided. But it certainly makes the book feel very very different from OBA. Maybe it takes some objectivity to describe people in a way that enables others to see them clearly. Generally, there's an underlying naivité in Campbell's writing that stems mostly from his simplistic writing style. Yes, I said simplistic and I know that some people will likely object to this. But really, there's a lot of "I did", "We went", "and then we did..." that reminded me more of a school report than a book written by a soldier. I feel the need to point this out because it was so noticeable. Maybe I am spoiled by Fick's excellent writing and the fact that from the very beginning I kept comparing the books, which I really shouldn't have done. But I'm not complaining. If anything, Campbell's writing-style underlines the horror of the events he describes, because they stand in such a stark contrast to his style. While GK was set at the very beginning of OIF, and it describes these guys (see my review) speeding through Iraq in a couple of Humvees, not really certain what their mission is (and why it is them that are doing it). "Joker One" takes places a year later, when the war is almost "over", and Campbell's platoon is based in Ramadi, stationary, with the mission to provide security for the city and to fight insurgents. That in itself, the stationary against the moving, is one of the biggest differences that also set a very different mood for the whole book. Because once you stay in one point, you begin to feel at home. And maybe that's why it had such a different impact on me to read about how the situation in Ramadi got worse with every day for Campbell and his men. Unlike in Generation Kill, there would be no moving forward the next day, no moving somewhere else where it might be less dangerous. And worse it got for Campbell. What starts out as a what feels like a fairly quiet mission with the intent/orders to make nice with the locals, turns into a violent, every-day battle against insurgents which leaves one-third of the men wounded and many dead. Campbell describes convincingly how at some point he is certain that he won't come back alive, and that he won't come back from the next day without yet another injured soldier. All this is told in the same language, the same steady "and then this happened", and "then that person got shot" that makes it slightly surreal, though. And so it is the knowledge that Campbell, unlike Fick, does not bring all his men home alive, more than the feelings that Campbell evokes with his actual writing, that made me feel for him, and I shudder to think what this book would have done to me if it had been written by a writer like Fick. It would probably have ruined me. P.S.: For those of you who know who you are: there's a lot of crying in this book. And hugging. Way more hugging than one would expect. Just saying.

  15. 5 out of 5

    John

    Awesome book about a marine platoons Joker One.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Brazee

    I bought this book as background research for a project. I was actually the company commander of G 2/4 in years past, and my Iraq War, which included Ramadi, was as a much more senior officer, far removed from "kicking butt and taking names." I expected to breeze through the book, taking bits and pieces as I needed them. I was wrong. Once I started reading, I was caught. I could not pull myself away. I read it through in one sitting, ignoring e-mails and skipping dinner. I was totally engrossed w I bought this book as background research for a project. I was actually the company commander of G 2/4 in years past, and my Iraq War, which included Ramadi, was as a much more senior officer, far removed from "kicking butt and taking names." I expected to breeze through the book, taking bits and pieces as I needed them. I was wrong. Once I started reading, I was caught. I could not pull myself away. I read it through in one sitting, ignoring e-mails and skipping dinner. I was totally engrossed with the narrative. The author's writing style was direct and to the point with no literary embellishments. To me, this made it real. There was very little concern with why we were in Iraq and the political situation, and I thought that was appropriate. The young Marines conducting the fight are fighting for their brothers, for each other. They are not motivated by politics. This was a story about the grunts, the foot soldiers. It was not about the colonels, the generals, and the planners back in DC. What captured me with this book was the author's ability to make me care. I cared for each and every one of the Marines. I knew them. It wasn't important that I never personally met them. They were individuals, but they were also in every Marine I have known. They were probably in every soldier, sailor, and airman, too, with whom other readers have served. My time as a rifle platoon commander was in peacetime where my concerns were about getting training time, performing mess and guard duty, and keeping my Marines out of trouble. As I read this account, I kept wondering how I would have done, how my Marines would have done, had we served in Ramadi instead of the friendly confines of Camp Lejeune. Even if the book was about the experiences of others, it was also very introspective for me. To be fair, there were a few errors of fact and mix-ups that should have been caught by the editing team, but really, I was so caught up in the action that they didn't make as much impact as they might have in another book. Overall, the editing was adequate, especially with regards to typos and the like. 2/4, "The Magnificent Bastards" have a long and storied history, from their first operation off Mexico's shore to the Battle of Okinawa, from Dai Do in Vietnam (where 81 Marines and sailors lost the lives in that single battle), to Iraq and Afghanistan. After reading this book, I felt pride that these Marines and sailors were ably carrying on the torch.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    In March 2004, 2nd Lieutenant Donovan Campbell and the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment (2/4) were shipped to Ramadi, Iraq for a six-month deployment. Lieutenant Campbell commanded the 1st Platoon of G (Golf) Company also known as Joker One. Joker One: A Marine Platoon’s Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood is the title of the first book by Donovan Campbell. Mr. Campbell describes his first days with Golf Company and the training he and his Marines went through prior to their deployme In March 2004, 2nd Lieutenant Donovan Campbell and the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment (2/4) were shipped to Ramadi, Iraq for a six-month deployment. Lieutenant Campbell commanded the 1st Platoon of G (Golf) Company also known as Joker One. Joker One: A Marine Platoon’s Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood is the title of the first book by Donovan Campbell. Mr. Campbell describes his first days with Golf Company and the training he and his Marines went through prior to their deployment. [return][return]The bulk of the book details life in Ramadi for Joker One. Six months of constant patrolling, guarding and searching, with an almost daily dose of combat. In the beginning Lt. Campbell believed in the mission, as time went on and the casualties mounted his primary concern became protecting his Marines. By the end, he had come to accept that his Marines were going to be hurt every time they left their compound. [return][return]Reading this book brings several questions to mind. The most important of which is why have American soldiers and Marines been sent to die in Iraq. A quote by Mr. Campbell seems to sum up the American experience in Iraq, “…every decision that we made in this crazy country always seemed a difficult choice between bad and worse and that nothing ever turned out quite the way we hoped.” (201)[return][return]Lt. Campbell and his Marines volunteered to go to war and they suffered physical and psychological trauma because of it. They performed heroic deeds while attempting to stabilize a country that did not want them there. We sound not allow our young men to suffer such injuries for trivial causes. It should only be in cases of true national emergency or actual national defense that we ask this of them rather then to make some small point foreign policy point. [return][return]Before America’s leaders decide to send American troops to impose their particular vision of how the world should be, they should read the story of Joker One. American soldiers and Marines are not pawns on a chessboard and should not be treated as such. Donovan Campbell and his Marines are probably better then we, as Americans, deserve. [return][return]If you have any interest in the American military or small unit actions in the war in Iraq I would recommend this book. This review is based on an advance copy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rage

    Campbell's goal, as he tells us at the beginning and end of the book, is to share the bravery and accomplishments of his Marines, whose actions and sacrifices might otherwise remain untold and over time be forgotten. I really appreciate how candid Campbell is about the challenges of leadership; how he feels like when he makes decisions, his choices are between bad and worse; how much strength and inspiration he gets from his men. It's obvious how deep their bonds are and how devastating every in Campbell's goal, as he tells us at the beginning and end of the book, is to share the bravery and accomplishments of his Marines, whose actions and sacrifices might otherwise remain untold and over time be forgotten. I really appreciate how candid Campbell is about the challenges of leadership; how he feels like when he makes decisions, his choices are between bad and worse; how much strength and inspiration he gets from his men. It's obvious how deep their bonds are and how devastating every injury and loss is. It's also the first time I've ever felt like I had any sense of what kind of responsibility a CO has on the ground, actually directing movement -- and also the limits of authority: units have to resign themselves to completing missions that they know will be dangerous and will alienate the local population, but their orders are coming from people who don't have a good sense of what they're actually asking (haven't spent much time in the area, aren't familiar with local customs, for example). Campbell did a great job of introducing all of his guys; at times it was difficult to keep reading, because I was worried about what was going to happen next and if everyone was going to be okay. I feel like Campbell also tried to show the reader how it might feel to be living in a city that is occupied: throughout the narrative, he describes the needless destruction and death of Iraqi civilian property and lives, and he contrasts a desire for revenge with attempts to view the situation from other perspectives. There are several really painful vignettes; one was about random civilian dudes being rounded up for interviews, and their families can do nothing but watch as the vehicle takes a turn wrong and tips over, causing injuries and casualties (the description of the women's grief is particularly moving). Coincidentally, I started reading this around the time that Ramadi fell to ISIS. Really tragic. This book and other books like it are so important, these are things we should never forget.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tracylynn

    When Joker One was recommended to me y a friend, I was immediately intrested because it is about a Marine platoon's time in Iraq and is written by a Marine Lieutenant. Because my Dad was a Marine who fought in the Pacific during WWII, I have always been interested in combat and what life must have really been like for my father. By page 7 the tears were flowing. These words are the explanation I've longed for most of my life as to why my father never talked about the war: "Our time together in Ir When Joker One was recommended to me y a friend, I was immediately intrested because it is about a Marine platoon's time in Iraq and is written by a Marine Lieutenant. Because my Dad was a Marine who fought in the Pacific during WWII, I have always been interested in combat and what life must have really been like for my father. By page 7 the tears were flowing. These words are the explanation I've longed for most of my life as to why my father never talked about the war: "Our time together in Iraq seems like someone else's story, for there's nothing in American even remotely similar to what we experienced overseas, nothing that remidns us of what we've suffered and achieved together. And none of us have really been able to tell htat story, not fully, not even to our families, because each small telling takes a personal toll. No one wants to suffer the pain of trying to explain the unexplainable to those who rarely have either the time or the desire to comprehend. So, many of us have simply packed away war away and tried hard to fit into normalcy by ignoring that time of our lives." I truly believe that none of us could possibly understand what it's like to truly be in the midst of combat and to take other's lives. Most shockig to me was Campbell's description of meeting with a lawyerwho explained exactly what the Marines could and could not shoot at! After spending grueling weeks being trained to kill, imagine being told what you were "legally" allowed to do in combat! The profoundness of this book isn't in the writing itself, but in the raw emotion. Even after having grown up with the military, it astounds me that these men believe so strongly in God, thier country and the American ideals that they would risk their lives fighting a losing battle on foreign soil. I believe this book is a must read! Everyone can gain a true appreciation for what these American heroes have gone through so that we can sleep safely at night. Semper Fi

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alex Flynn

    A great look into the myriad trials of being a young officer, only 24, in charge of the lives of a company of college aged Marines while stationed in one of the most dangerous cities in Iraq during the height of the insurgency. Campbell describes his deployment with 2/4 Golf Company to Ramadi. It was shocking to realize just how young every one was the was fighting the war. The story, like many memoirs, has trouble following any narrative structure, but in light of the chaos of the war it almost A great look into the myriad trials of being a young officer, only 24, in charge of the lives of a company of college aged Marines while stationed in one of the most dangerous cities in Iraq during the height of the insurgency. Campbell describes his deployment with 2/4 Golf Company to Ramadi. It was shocking to realize just how young every one was the was fighting the war. The story, like many memoirs, has trouble following any narrative structure, but in light of the chaos of the war it almost works in its favor. Heroism doesn't come as part of a grand quest, but in small moments, and often surrounded by so much failure. There isn't a sense of having achieved anything through their missions, though 2004 Iraq must have felt like a lost cause. However their are victories and bravery in spite of the overwhelming misery of occupying a region where the population pretty much all wants you dead. I found the greatest strength of the book the scenes of humanity, that reminded me that the soldiers were a group of 18-20 year olds bearing the weight of so many ideas and expectations, but still fundamentally kids in some ways. Whether watching movies, playing pranks, or joking with each other in a machine gun perch, it gave a great deal more gravity to the book than the chaotic scenes of street battles.

  21. 5 out of 5

    John

    There are numerous books written by senior officers after their retirement recounting battles and tours in war zones. There have not been nearly as many written by a Lieutenant serving in Iraq as a line officer. Joker One is an excellent book recounting Donovan's time with his unit, from training to their deployment to Ramadi, Iraq in 2004 right as the insurgencies were flaring up. Donovan's account of his time as a leader of Marines recounts his self doubt and uncertainty as his unit deploys an There are numerous books written by senior officers after their retirement recounting battles and tours in war zones. There have not been nearly as many written by a Lieutenant serving in Iraq as a line officer. Joker One is an excellent book recounting Donovan's time with his unit, from training to their deployment to Ramadi, Iraq in 2004 right as the insurgencies were flaring up. Donovan's account of his time as a leader of Marines recounts his self doubt and uncertainty as his unit deploys and fights. He also speaks to the strength of the individuals of the unit and how they would pick him up when he was down as well as the establishing a team first spirit that made the sum greater than the parts. Self sacrifice is often overlooked today, but these Marines certainly demonstrated that sacrifice to their teammates every day. His accounts of his men getting wounded or dying and the burden that he and the team felt carries over to the reader and makes the book even more compelling. I would highly recommend this book for just about anyone, whether you want to get a better feel for the urban warfare that went on during the Iraqi war, or for a renewed appreciation of the Marine Corps or to understand what a young leader going into a war zone goes through. Good stuff.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Robert Mitchell

    I finished reading Joker One, a Christmas gift from our oldest son, as New Year fireworks boomed and flashed outside reminding me exactly what Donovan Campbell and his platoon were fighting and dying for in Ramadi back in 2004. If you’ve read a lot of the books coming out of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, you know that the ones written by the embedded journalists are often flashier and more “literary” than the ones written by those who actually did the fighting. Donovan Campbell’s account isn I finished reading Joker One, a Christmas gift from our oldest son, as New Year fireworks boomed and flashed outside reminding me exactly what Donovan Campbell and his platoon were fighting and dying for in Ramadi back in 2004. If you’ve read a lot of the books coming out of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, you know that the ones written by the embedded journalists are often flashier and more “literary” than the ones written by those who actually did the fighting. Donovan Campbell’s account isn’t flashy or literary. If you’re looking for grand metaphors or awe-inspiring adjectives, you won’t find them in Joker One. And while grand metaphors are rarely constructed by those lacking intellect, we can’t assume that the inverse is true. Campbell isn’t an amazing writer but he is extremely intelligent, brutally honest, succinctly eloquent, unfailingly perceptive and courageous. Out of the many harrowing accounts of combat emerging from our most recent wars, Joker One is one of the most effective when it comes to communicating the unique hell of urban warfare and the immense burden of leading youngsters into battle. Grateful civilians like me will not find a more insightful guide to this alien world.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    Campbell served in Iraq with the Marines of Joker One in Ramadi, the largest city in Al-Anbar during 2004. This is their story of patrolling, fighting, dying and living with the Iraqis. It is his story of learning about service, leadership and sacrifice. Why I started it: I'm not sure who recommended this book to me, but I downloaded the audio from the library. Why I finished it: Powerful, there were some sentences that I had to rewind and rewind to listen to again. Isn't amazing how some narrator Campbell served in Iraq with the Marines of Joker One in Ramadi, the largest city in Al-Anbar during 2004. This is their story of patrolling, fighting, dying and living with the Iraqis. It is his story of learning about service, leadership and sacrifice. Why I started it: I'm not sure who recommended this book to me, but I downloaded the audio from the library. Why I finished it: Powerful, there were some sentences that I had to rewind and rewind to listen to again. Isn't amazing how some narrators and stories hit with deep insight into topics/issues that you are struggling with. It makes you stop and think, "wow, that was exactly right" or "I couldn't label it until this author completely defined it for me." Now, I'm no where close to a combat zone, physically or emotionally and yet this book resonated with me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Peregrine 12

    This is, quite simply, the finest wartime account I have ever read. The author is sincere, fallible and motivated by the human desire to do the right thing; these traits, combined with strong writing abilities, provide the reader with a story that is fast-moving, relevant, and, above all, genuinely moving. Unlike many other books on the topic of firsthand war experiences, the author omits his political views and denigrates no one, including the civilian population that resists the US military. H This is, quite simply, the finest wartime account I have ever read. The author is sincere, fallible and motivated by the human desire to do the right thing; these traits, combined with strong writing abilities, provide the reader with a story that is fast-moving, relevant, and, above all, genuinely moving. Unlike many other books on the topic of firsthand war experiences, the author omits his political views and denigrates no one, including the civilian population that resists the US military. He does not self-aggrandize. In fact, quite the opposite occurs. This book is wonderful to read. Hats off to you, Mr Campbell. Thank you for telling your story, even the ugly parts. And thank you for including humor and those too-rare moments of sublime beauty.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pedro

    Interesting events. Not a very good book. Unfortunately, surviving life-altering circumstances while in the service of your country, doesn't necessarily make for a very well-written book. This book felt much like the author simply took his journal entries, tweaked them a bit, and put them in a book. This is in no way meant to diminish the value of the service, or my appreciation for him and other who have served, or currently serve. I'm not expecting a Black Hawk Down level of experience out of Interesting events. Not a very good book. Unfortunately, surviving life-altering circumstances while in the service of your country, doesn't necessarily make for a very well-written book. This book felt much like the author simply took his journal entries, tweaked them a bit, and put them in a book. This is in no way meant to diminish the value of the service, or my appreciation for him and other who have served, or currently serve. I'm not expecting a Black Hawk Down level of experience out of every one of these types of books, but I'd expect the book to be edited better.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jack Bell

    I must say, this is one of the better books in the genre that I have seen, and it's written from the perspective of an officer which is definitely something you do not see very much. It's a great tale of a full platoon in combat and the toll that takes on these men. I must say, this is one of the better books in the genre that I have seen, and it's written from the perspective of an officer which is definitely something you do not see very much. It's a great tale of a full platoon in combat and the toll that takes on these men.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Al Chase

    http://whiterhinoreport.blogspot.com/... Thursday, March 05, 2009 Review of “Joker One” by Donovan Campbell – Cutting through the Fog of War with the Lamp of Love Next Tuesday, March 10, “Joker One” will hit the shelves of the bookstores nearest you. It has already hit me hard. I was privileged to be given a pre-publication copy of the book to read. Before I tell you something of the substance of the book, let me comment briefly about the substance of the author, Donovan Campbell. I first met Donova http://whiterhinoreport.blogspot.com/... Thursday, March 05, 2009 Review of “Joker One” by Donovan Campbell – Cutting through the Fog of War with the Lamp of Love Next Tuesday, March 10, “Joker One” will hit the shelves of the bookstores nearest you. It has already hit me hard. I was privileged to be given a pre-publication copy of the book to read. Before I tell you something of the substance of the book, let me comment briefly about the substance of the author, Donovan Campbell. I first met Donovan – “Dono” to most of his friends – when he was at Harvard Business School pursuing an MBA degree. I was an invited guest at the annual Marine Corps Birthday bash held at HBS. The last toast of the evening was given by a young Marine I had never seen before. It was an eloquent and moving toast to those who had fallen in combat. I turned to someone beside me and asked: “Who is that young man? I need to meet him” “That is Donovan Campbell.” The next day I was speaking at a Career Fair sponsored by the HBS Armed Forces Alumni Association. After I had given my talk as part of a panel discussion, several students waited to have one-on-time with me. At the end of the line, I recognized Mr. Campbell. When he finally made his way to where I was sitting, he said: “Sir, several of the things you said today really resonated with me. I would like to discuss them with you. As I begin my time here at Harvard, I want to be sure that I do not miss any of the lessons that God has in store for me to learn here.” And learn them he did! Donovan graduated with distinction as a Baker Scholar. He used his time at HBS to reflect on his experiences of leading Marines in combat. “Joker One” is the product of those years of distillation and reflection. This book takes its place beside the growing oeuvre of insightful memoirs that are emerging from the experiences that JMO’s (Junior Military Officers) from all of our military branches are sharing as they return from their deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Dono sets the scene well in describing why he felt compelled to tell the story of his USMA unit, dubbed “Joker One”: “Now, nearly three years after that August day [in Ramadi], those Marines and I have long since parted ways. Our time together in Iraq seems like someone else’s story, for there’s nothing in America even remotely similar to what we experienced overseas, nothing that reminds us of what we suffered and achieved together. And none of us have really been able to tell that story, not fully, not even to our families, because each small telling takes a personal toll. No one wants to suffer the pain of trying to explain the unexplainable to those who rarely have either the time or the desire to comprehend. So, many of us have simply packed our war away and tried hard to fit into normalcy by ignoring that time in our lives. But our story is an important one, and I believe it’s worth telling truthfully and completely no matter what the cost.” (Page 7) This past week, I had the privilege of hearing Medal of Honor recipient, Captain Paul Bucha, speak to a small gathering in Chicago. In talking about the price that our young soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen are paying as they fight the war on terror, he highlighted the relentless OP-Tempo (Operational Tempo) and intensity of combat. He compared the time in combat experienced today with that of previous wars. In his opinion, there is no comparison. Never before in history have U.S. troops been asked to keep up combat operations day after day, week after week, month after month with virtually no break. Campbell describes this phenomenon as it impacted his unit, Joker One: “During our entire deployment, I prayed for something other than this standard day, for a respite from the unrelenting pace of combat, but a break never came. Instead, we fought and fought and fought until, on our return, one out of every two of us had been wounded – a casualty rate that, we were told, exceeded that of any other Marine or Army combat unit since Vietnam.” (Page 8) Dono’s humility in describing his pilgrimage to becoming a leader fit to face the challenges that were thrown at Joker One makes this book a compelling and moving read. He paints an honest and sometimes ugly picture of his personal struggles and those of his marines and the officers who commanded them to learn both to take lives and to save lives – depending on the circumstances. “So, that’s me: an ordinary young man who once made the choice to serve. I wish I could present someone greater to the reader, someone whose exploits and whose fame could automatically make people sit up and pay attention to the story of my men, but I can’t, because I’m not that someone. However, to this day I love my Marines with all that I’m capable of, and in spite of my shortcomings I want to do my utmost to help tell their tale. Though I can’t offer myself to the reader, I can offer my men, and I can tell a true story with love and heartfelt emotion from the inside. And I hope and I pray that whoever reads this story will know my men as do I, and that knowing them, they too might come to love them.” (Page 10) I found Dono’s intimate tale of Joker One’s struggles with combat in Ramadi to be deeply moving. One of the unit’s Marines, a man by the name of Bolding, lost both of his legs from an RPG attack. Campbell shares the depth of the despair that he had to deal with in the wake of Bolding’s traumatic injuries. His account of those moments is among the most raw and honest and transfixing of any war memoir I have read. The context for this excerpt is that Campbell has just briefed his Marines on what has happened to Bolding and how they will respond by continuing to pursue their mission: “Now, almost every one of my Marines was nodding. Some were still crying and some were still dry-eyed, but they were nodding along with the words. I looked at Teague. He was nodding, too, and I knew that I had gotten through. As soon as I knew this, though, the mantle of leadership crumbled, and the full weight of what had happened finally overwhelmed the tactical numbness. The dull rage died, and in its place I felt only tremendous sadness and the crushing feeling of failure. Because of my decisions, one of my Marines had lost both of his legs. It may not have been my fault, but it was certainly my responsibility because everything that happened to my Marines was my responsibility. That’s one of the first things you learn as an officer, and if you’re a leader who’s any good at all, then as you go on you know that you always err on the side of taking too much responsibility until the weight crushes you, and then your men pick you up, and then you take still more responsibility until they need to pick you up again. Staring at the Marines, I started getting crushed, and I started losing it. Tears welled up, and I choked them back and probably finished up the talk with a few inane, meaningless sentences. Then, I literally turned on my heels and fled the room, helmet in hand, for the filthy, excrement-encrusted, piss-stained Iraqi bathroom down the hall and to the right. I arrived there blind from tears and banged open the door with my shoulder. Then I sunk to the ground, curled up on myself, and cried and cried and cried. I didn’t know it, but the Gunny had noticed my abrupt departure. Maybe ten seconds after I crashed through the door, he opened it very gently and looked in on me. I didn’t see him then, and in fact I didn’t notice the Gunny’s presence at all until he sat down next to me and wrapped his arms around me. Instinctively, I hugged him back, buried my face into the rough Kevlar of his shoulder, and sobbed. He told me that it was alright, and then he didn’t say anything at all.” (Page 231) Despite the rigors of war, the breakneck pace of combat operations, and the devastation of losing brothers in arms to injury and death, Campbell and his men were able to maintain an overall positive outlook on life as they prepared to leave Iraq and return home. They were to return very different men, to be sure, than those who had landed in the war zone so many months before. “Fortunately, the rest of Joker One picked up the slack [for a depressed Campbell] as we approached our final two weeks in Ramadi. In spite of their weariness, in spite of the ever-increasing strain, Bowen, Noriel, Teague, and all of my other team leaders made one last push to the finish. They inspected their men with care, planned their missions in detail, and gently corrected me when I made mistakes. They held themselves together, and watching them lead, I started a slow recovery, although I didn’t know it at the time. Their men were even more amazing. The Mahardys and the Hendersons and the Guzons – the ones who’d deployed with barely two months of training and who’s kept me awake with worry on the plane flight over – had been transformed from wide-eyed recruits into slit-eyed combat veterans. They’d seen all the horrors of war firsthand, again and again, but somehow, someway, they retained their faith in each other and in their mission. They knew with unshakeable certainty that the Corps was strong and that Joker One was strong and that given enough time, we’d both prevail no matter what the circumstances. They loved one another and their mission – the people of Ramadi – in a way that I didn’t fully appreciate until just a few days before we left the city, during the second week of September. I’d run into Mahardy, smoking outside the hangar bay as usual, and I’d asked him the standard throwaway question: Was he excited to go home? The response shocked me. On the one hand, Mahardy said, he was excited to see his family, but on the other, he was sad to leave before the job in Ramadi was finished. . . Furthermore, going home meant that his new family, Joker One, wouldn’t be around all the time like they were now. Mahardy loved the guys, he said, and he wasn’t sure what he’d do without them there.” (Page 299-300) At the end of the day, paradoxically, this war story is a story about love. This is a love story that comes out of the leather-tough Marines Corps. In that regard, Campbell’s book reminds me of Bill Murphy’s book about the West Point class of 2002, “In a Time of War.” That story, about Army soldiers, also turns out to be about love, as well. How ironic. How poignant. Review of “In a Time of War” My overall impression – after reading through this book for the second time – is that through his writing, Donovan Campbell shines a warmly loving fog light that offers a modicum of hazy illumination through the nimbus that is the fog of war. Dono joins Dante in limning a description of a ring of Hell that few of us could imagine It is not a picture that is easy to apprehend or to comprehend. But for those who are willing to invest the time, energy and tears that it takes to journey through the pages of this memoir, the destination is one of greater understanding, empathy and appreciation of what Campbell, his Marines and their ilk have endured to be faithful to their call to be Semper Fi. I challenge you to take “the time and the desire to comprehend.” You won’t be sorry. As I write this review, I have paused to listen to the Podcast of today’s edition of NPR’s acclaimed program, “Fresh Air.” I encourage you to listen to Donovan Campbell’s interview with Terry Gross. NPR Fresh Air Link Here is a link to the official Website for the book, "Joker One." You can order the book through this site, through Amazon.com or pick it up at a bookstore. Joker One Website Al The White Rhino at 7:58 PM 8 comments: Anonymous1:16 PM i listened to dono interview on fresh air i never heard so much emotion from one person i wish everyone could hear his story he is a role model not these jerky ball players making WAY too much money! ReplyDelete Rose City Reader9:47 AM Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful review. I just finished Joker One and my very short review is posted here on Rose City Reader. I thought this was a tremendously good book and wish I had read it months ago. I would like to link to your review on mine. If that is OK with you, please leave me a comment on my post so I can find it and I will add the link. ReplyDelete Rose City Reader11:11 PM I added a link to your review on my post. Thanks for sharing it. ReplyDelete Anonymous8:41 AM thanks for the good review, I have to read Joker One for one of my literature classes and I think I have a better picture of what I will read now! ReplyDelete Anonymous8:42 AM cool ReplyDelete Viagra Online8:44 AM hi I have to read Joker One for one of my literature classes and now I have a better picture of what I will be reading the following days, thanks for the good review ReplyDelete Scott1:06 PM My favorite part was when Campbell forced his men, even the atheists, to pray before each mission. I hate the constitution, and how it prevents people in authority of forcing religion onto others. I think we as Christians should force non-believers to pray, and stone them to death if they don't. ReplyDelete Generic Viagra9:26 AM This books really shocked me with its quality, I hadn't read a good books as this one book since a long time ago. I like it mainly by its ideology. Viagra Online Buy Viagra ReplyDelete Load more...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Medusa

    I’m giving this book four stars, despite some qualms about the attitudes expressed by the author, for its candid and gritty description of a GWOT-era Marine platoon in urban combat. What comes through for me, as a student of military history, is the timeless decency and earnest good intentions of young marines, something that largely remains a constant no matter the era, and despite changes in weaponry (say, for example, the XM-1060 thermobaric 40 mm grenade) and mission. For the most part, the I’m giving this book four stars, despite some qualms about the attitudes expressed by the author, for its candid and gritty description of a GWOT-era Marine platoon in urban combat. What comes through for me, as a student of military history, is the timeless decency and earnest good intentions of young marines, something that largely remains a constant no matter the era, and despite changes in weaponry (say, for example, the XM-1060 thermobaric 40 mm grenade) and mission. For the most part, the emotions in this book seem genuine and the fellowship and bonds between combat soldiers is another timeless facet of the book. Read it to honor these men, and those like them who serve, bravely, and go where they are told for reasons they are given. I did have serious reservations about the religious claptrap in the book, and the author’s breezy statement that while atheists in the unit didn’t have to believe in Christianity, they had to attend services and kneel and stand along with everyone else. That’s not freedom of religion, and contrary to the author’s opinion, (1) atheism isn’t a “faith” and (2) one can’t get from rejection of atheism to Christian theology in one easy step and call it anything other than a whim. I also had reservations about some of the hand wringing in the book, about, gee, why did everything an unasked for invading force did seem to come out wrong and end in violence? At times the author seems aware that if he were an Iraqi, he might well have resisted in the same way any freedom loving American might resist an invasion of our homeland. But at other times the mission is described as “helping these people” despite the misery and destruction the invasion caused, not to mention the jihadis produced by it. I understand that a soldier’s job is to follow lawful orders, but I guess what I’m saying is that the introspection in the book on the whys of the situation seemed pretty superficial. Still, the United States is honored by the courage of these men; she should repay them by considering more carefully where their lives may be risked and spent, and why.

  29. 4 out of 5

    3readers

    Joker One is a memoir written by Lt. Donovan Campbell, tells us of the heavy burden of responsibility held by a 24-year-old lieutenant in command of a 40-man Marine platoon—of which many of its members were only 18, 19, and 20 years old. This detailed wartime story spans the 9-month tour of Golf Company’s Joker One platoon (2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment) in Ramadi, Iraq (Anbar Province), throughout the spring and summer of 2004. The author’s sincere account demonstrates many of the paternal Joker One is a memoir written by Lt. Donovan Campbell, tells us of the heavy burden of responsibility held by a 24-year-old lieutenant in command of a 40-man Marine platoon—of which many of its members were only 18, 19, and 20 years old. This detailed wartime story spans the 9-month tour of Golf Company’s Joker One platoon (2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment) in Ramadi, Iraq (Anbar Province), throughout the spring and summer of 2004. The author’s sincere account demonstrates many of the paternal aspects of being a platoon leader – the good, the bad, and the ugly – as well as the difficult and decentralized decision-making that one must make in combat in order to protect and save lives. Lt. Campbell really credits his platoon’s success in the war-torn city to the leadership and courage exhibited by the non-commissioned officers leading Joker One’s three squads, and highlights the selfless traits and actions demonstrated by all of his young Marines. The nature of house-to-house combat on the street level against guerrilla forces embedded within the city population greatly exhausted the platoon members and took a number of Marine casualties. In fact, upon returning to the United States, members of Joker One learned that during this tour their battalion had taken more casualties than any other battalion – Army or Marine – since the Vietnam War. An insightful and gripping narrative of small-unit combat in the Iraq War.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

    The book I read was "Joker One: A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood " by Donovan Campbell. This book is a brilliant story about a marine platoon that is deployed in Iraq in 2004. This story follows Donovan Campbell, who is the first platoon commander in his company. His company is the "Joker" company, therefore, his platoon is Joker One. The story tells from Campbell's first arrival on base in the US to meet his marines in late 2003 to the time that they return back The book I read was "Joker One: A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood " by Donovan Campbell. This book is a brilliant story about a marine platoon that is deployed in Iraq in 2004. This story follows Donovan Campbell, who is the first platoon commander in his company. His company is the "Joker" company, therefore, his platoon is Joker One. The story tells from Campbell's first arrival on base in the US to meet his marines in late 2003 to the time that they return back in late 2004. When they return, the joker company has the highest casualty rate of any marine platoon since Vietnam with one in every three men getting injured in their 140 man company. I believe that anyone who likes to read interesting biographies or people who like action books. Although it is slightly slow at the beginning it starts to speed up quite fast near the middle and at the end. It is a good book about leadership, and loyalty to your family(whether that family is biological or not) no matter the cost. I gave this book a 5/5 because it was a very interesting book and it helped give insight into the life of a marine oversees. one downside to the book may be that the language used was either very simple or very complicated there was no in-between.

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