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By Dr. Jonathan Newman on 04-01-12
Good reporting, but not a great book
This book is competently written, but the author seems to be 'making the most' out of what he had to work with. This episode in the second Gulf War in interesting, but neither is it particularly compelling, nor particularly novel. It is not compelling because, in a reporter's effort to 'cover the event,' the story jumps from one subject to another, never hovering long enough to really become invested in the people who lived through this. There is no particular insight into either 'men and war' or 'the war itself'. It's just a competent reporting job.
One of the previous reviewers described the book as "better than Black Hawk Down" -- on the strength of which I bought the book. I don't see it myself. The Battle for Mogadishu was a far more compelling story. The battle described in Thunder Run never seemed on the verge of getting out of American control, despite the author's best attempts to inject some degree of drama. For sure it must have been terrifying for those involved, but the situation was completely different. In Baghdad the the 3rd ID had main battle tanks and Bradly fighting vehicles. They had a great deal of close air support, they had (big 120mm) mortars, they had paladin howitzers. They basically always had superior firepower and were never really in danger of loosing it. Mogadishu was completely differ (again, despite the author's attempt to draw a comparison). The rangers had only helicopter gun support, no mortars, no artillery, no CAS. They had no armor on their convoys, they were out gunned most of the time. There was a very real chance that they would lose the entire unit. Things never looked so desperate for the 3rd ID in Baghdad.
Thunder Run is probably worth a listen if you are a gulf war history buff. A far better book, IMHO, about combat soldiers in Iraq, is House to House, by David Bellavia. It's about mechanized infantry in Fallujia. It is a very powerful first person account of a far longer and, for those involved, intense period of fighting. Far more gripping, one feels far more invested in the people, and it is better narrated.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Daniel on 06-08-12
I never thought a book written in 2003 about the dash to Baghdad could be so damn riveting. No matter what type of military books you read, this one is a stunner. Starts off a bit slow, but by the time it was over I was so enthralled!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful