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This Man's Army by Andrew Exum
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This Man's Army (edition 2005)

by Andrew Exum (Author)

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1034229,434 (3.91)None
This Man’s Armyfollows one extraordinary young man’s transformation from Ivy League student to twenty-first-century warrior. Soldier X vividly brings to life his journey through ROTC training, the grueling trials of the elite Ranger School, and into the treacherous terrain of the Shah-e-Kot Valley in Afghanistan. There he leads his men to root out the hardcore remnants of Osama bin Laden’s forces, and must confront and kill an Al Qaeda fighter. On his return to the United States, Soldier X must face how media coverage has distorted public perception of the war back home as he seeks to make peace with the man he had become.In the tradition of Tim O’Brien’s If I Die in a Combat Zone, This Man’s Armyis a gripping story of a young man’s introduction to the horrors of war, reported with brutal honesty and compelling insight. By turns harrowing and inspiring, it is the first account of combat from a new generation that is rising to confront the grave threat that faces our civilization and our way of life.… (more)
Member:kmize128
Title:This Man's Army
Authors:Andrew Exum (Author)
Info:Gotham (2005), 256 pages
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This Man's Army: A Soldier's Story from the Frontlines of the War on Terrorism by Andrew Exum

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Exum, in a very readable account, explains his background growing up in Tennessee and after obtaining a degree at Penn State what made him decide to join the Army and eventually the Rangers. He gives a detail description of what a Ranger goes through to graduate as a Ranger.

He eventually made it to Afghanistan as part of the first US contingent to be assigned, the 10th Mountain Division. As a Lieutenant, he led his 33 men into battle against the Taliban fighting some pitch battles. Much of their work was clearing the insurgents from caves and destroying weapon and ammunition caches sometimes with hilarious although dangerous consequences. His company was attached to the 3rd Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and worked closely with the Canadians in the Shah-e-Kot Valley.

This is a vivid description of life in the modern American Army by a officer with an Ivy League education and an ability to write about it clearly. ( )
  lamour | May 6, 2017 |
Although it contains some reflections on leadership that are worth reading, this one falls into the average pile of the war memoirs piles. ( )
  emed0s | Dec 21, 2011 |
Very much a first book, but this young man has already contributed to the current "surge" strategy in Afghanistan and it is clear, as he pursues scholarly studies, that we will be hearing a lot more from him. One LT reviewer noted that it seemed "incomplete" but it is really a "moment in time" from the beginning of what has become a very long war.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Exum ( )
  carterchristian1 | Jun 17, 2010 |
This Man's Army charts the author's life in broad strokes from his childhood in Tennessee through college and ROTC and from there into the army (pre-9/11). Describing a service culture Exum puts down to his southern upbringing means that ending up in the army is almost inevitable (though slightly ironic given his eventual assignment to a Northern-dominated outfit). He obviously puts a lot of store in this martial heritage, with Ancient Greece getting centre-stage in the metaphor.
Intellectually aware, Exum examines pacificism, the culture of killing, but his views on counter-insurgency are still not distilled at this point (the author now writes a very good blog on that subject) - though the patterns can be seen when deriding a conservative commentator's assertion that a crusade to convert Muslims should be undertaken.
One of the most pervasive elements is Exum's constant extolling of his physical prowess. It is a bit over-done, but my take on it is that it is Exum's style of leadership - to prove his credibility in front of his soldiers. It is a physical honesty which means he'll never drop out when his men are still going; he'll never give an order that he cannot himself carry out.
The book seems unfinished, not least because the author's military career is cut short by a hockey injury when lining up to redeploy. Despite the obvious education in literature the writing is raw and the style immediate and unpolished - which is part of the appeal in such a memoir. ( )
  Donogh | Jun 8, 2010 |
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This Man’s Armyfollows one extraordinary young man’s transformation from Ivy League student to twenty-first-century warrior. Soldier X vividly brings to life his journey through ROTC training, the grueling trials of the elite Ranger School, and into the treacherous terrain of the Shah-e-Kot Valley in Afghanistan. There he leads his men to root out the hardcore remnants of Osama bin Laden’s forces, and must confront and kill an Al Qaeda fighter. On his return to the United States, Soldier X must face how media coverage has distorted public perception of the war back home as he seeks to make peace with the man he had become.In the tradition of Tim O’Brien’s If I Die in a Combat Zone, This Man’s Armyis a gripping story of a young man’s introduction to the horrors of war, reported with brutal honesty and compelling insight. By turns harrowing and inspiring, it is the first account of combat from a new generation that is rising to confront the grave threat that faces our civilization and our way of life.

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