Joker One

  • by Donovan Campbell
  • Narrated by David Drummond
  • 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Terrible Narration Hurts Good Story

While I'm not sure Joker One offers any new insight into the lives of the men in the ground in Iraq, it is a story worth hearing...well let me correct myself by saying that it would be a good story to READ but I strongly advise against LISTENING to the painful narration by David Drummond. What struck me first was the poor "casting". While I have no idea what Donovan Campbell actually sounds like, I would bet that it is nothing like this. David Drummond's voice would be far more appropriate for a book on genetics or the history of the horse drawn carriage, but he should never again be asked to provide a reading for a combat marine. But I cold have gotten past the unfortunate mismatch if his voice wasn't so incredibly irritating. I have never heard someone read with an inflection that rises at the end of almost every sentence. In fact there are numerous passages where there is a rising inflection MULTIPLE times in one sentence. I am sorry to say that I gave up listening about halfway through the first half and don't plan to return...buy with caution.
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- Chris

Poor Narration

I have to agree with Chris from Vermont that the narrator of this book is completely mis-matched to the material. I'm not usually one to be unkind, but Mr. Drummond really throws a wet blanket on what is otherwise a great story. Drummond sounds exactly like the guy who narrates the fork lift safety videos I have to show my employees once a year and he has succeeded in making Joker One about as exciting. This is one of the few books I couldn't finish and it was due to the narration. Where is Scott Brick when you need him?
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- John

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-24-2009
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio