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Publisher's Summary

A parallel army lives on the margins of the Iraq war - nearly 100,000 armed men, invisible yet in plain sight, doing jobs the overstretched and understaffed military can't or won't do. The U.S. media call them "security contractors." They call themselves "mercs," and they operate under their own rules. Washington Post reporter Steve Fainaru traveled with several groups of security contractors to find out what motivates them to put their lives in danger every day. What emerges is a searing, revealing, and sometimes darkly funny look at the men who live and work in the battlefields of Iraq: some are desperate, some are confused, and some are just out for a lark. Some disappear into the void that is Iraq and are never seen again. It's not a pretty picture that Fainaru reveals, but it is brutally real and shockingly honest.
Big Boy Rules is an unforgettable leap into the mayhem of Iraq and into the dark recesses of the minds of American policymakers and the warriors they hire.
©2008 Steve Fainaru (P)2008 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"An informative, dramatic look at a significant, often unexamined, aspect of contemporary military culture." ( Kirkus)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Joe Arrigoni on 11-10-09

A must read....

If this book had been pitched more as a look at the events surrounding the kidnapping and murder of five Private Security Contractors in Iraq and the company they worked for it would have been received better by readers here. It was not at all what I was expecting. However, I am very glad I read it. It was well written, and an easy read. Everyone it is very relatable, and by the end you feel that you really knew these men and their families…and grieve for them. It makes no excuses, though it does toss out a few more accusations than I liked. Of all the books on the subject matter, I have found it the most relatable thus far.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful


By Doug on 02-02-11

Read it in two days

This is a superior book. Mostly books on the war in Iraq or Afghanistan are hit or miss, often they are watered down with political angles or outright redactions. This book reads like a story. Its scope ranges from vivid life in America to the saunas of urban warfare in Iraq. You will feel this one because it is well written and sincerely conveyed. I instinctively wondered if the book won any awards, and my research revealed that the author won a Pullizter. You'll know it's worthy too. You will be reading a 'real' book packed with real information and real people. You'll know something important about something you KNOW lies just between the lines on war coverage in Iraq. The political slant is NOT here, and we are given a stark look at the places, the people and their decisions behind the private business of warfare. I highly recommend this book.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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