Academic journal article Military Review

KABOOM: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War

Academic journal article Military Review

KABOOM: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War

Article excerpt

KABOOM: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War, Matt Gallagher, Da Capo Press, 2010, 294 pages, $24.95.

As its title implies, Kaboom is about as subtle as a road-side bomb. Matt Gallagher writes on everything from the potentially deadly routine of patrolling the streets of an Iraqi town to the sudden thrill of a highspeed pursuit of a known insurgent. His account of life as a company grade officer during the surge in Iraq is insightful, colorful, and at times irreverent. It is an excellent snapshot of a junior officer embroiled in a counterinsurgency fight.

For many who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, Gallagher's memoir will strike a chord. The author shares his thoughts about how the military is pursuing counterinsurgency operations from the ground level. Gallagher's style varies from prose to dialogue to even rap-style poetry. He covers everything from the extreme poverty of people to a soldier dealing with the loneliness of being reassigned mid-way through tour. Much of what is presented is common to many soldiers serving in a combat zone, but Gallagher's kaleidoscopic lens presents a collage of the complexities leaders face fighting a "savage little war."

Gallagher deployed to Iraq in late 2007 and remained there until February 2009. Kaboom started out as an online blog, a tool for staying in touch with friends and family, but it gained a larger following. …

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