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Publisher's Summary

When Donovan Campbell's platoon deployed to Ramadi in the spring of 2004, they believed they'd be spending most of their time building schools, training police, and making friends with the citizens. But shortly after arriving, when Campbell awoke to the chilling cry of "Jihad, Jihad, Jihad!" echoing from minaret to minaret across the city, he knew they had an altogether different situation on their hands. For nearly the entire day, Joker-One---the 40-man infantry platoon that Campbell was charged with leading---fought house-to-house to rescue other units, sometimes trading grenades with their enemies from just a few feet away. In the days and months that followed, hundreds of hard-core insurgents launched simultaneous attacks on the Marine forces in Ramadi, their ranks swelled by thousands of local volunteers drawn from the citizens of a city whose primary export was officers in Saddam Hussein's army. By the fall of 2004, nearly half the men in Campbell's platoon had been wounded in some of the fiercest urban fighting since Vietnam; less than a month after they withdrew, the forces in Ramadi were doubled, then tripled.
Although Joker One is set in Iraq, the book's themes---brotherhood, honor, and sacrifice---are universal. Campbell shows us how his Marines' patience, discipline, and love for one another created a whole that is much greater than the sum of its parts, and how the essential goodness of these men remains unchanged by all of the pain and the terror surrounding them. His sharp-eyed, evocative, and unflinching account of his deployment is just as impressive as the man himself---a man who chose to enter the military because of his patriotism, sense of privilege, and deep religious faith when most of his Princeton classmates were cashing in their ivy league educations for lucrative careers among the financial elite.
©2008 Donovan Campbell (P)2009 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Doug on 04-05-11

This One is No Joke

I think it's good for regular Americans (like me) to learn about the Iraq War away from T.V or the news. This book is written by a sensible marine who can be sentimental at times, but finish the book and you'll understand. The book zooms in until you, the reader, gets ambushed by the real insurgency that occurred in the region.

The middle to the end of the book blooms into a stunning panoramic of the war in Iraq and details entire battles as though you occupied the conscious mind of the author. It's NOT a minute-by-minute account....somehow this story manages to capture the layers of minutes as they unfold in real time. Entire battlespace is perceivable. You'll actually sense how a battle has many 'situations' developing simultaneously, and how they all change as fast as you can react to them. And real people die. You'll also see that some Americans risk their lives, not just for you and me, but for the Iraqis too.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Gill Baltazar on 09-11-12


If you could sum up Joker One in three words, what would they be?

This is a great book to listen to. Love the storyline. I was sad to hear about some of the men, You got to know them

What was one of the most memorable moments of Joker One?

all the suffering our men and women go through. in this need less war.

Which character – as performed by David Drummond – was your favorite?

they all were, you got to know them as your bother, son, or father

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

laugh and cryed for these men

Any additional comments?

loved this book

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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