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The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier's Account of the War in Iraq

The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier's Account of the War in Iraq

Written by John Crawford

Narrated by Patrick Lawlor


The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier's Account of the War in Iraq

Written by John Crawford

Narrated by Patrick Lawlor

ratings:
4/5 (12 ratings)
Length:
5 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jul 1, 2005
ISBN:
9781400171743
Format:
Audiobook

Description

The only book about the war in Iraq by a soldier on the ground-destined to become a classic of war literature.



John Crawford joined the Florida National Guard to pay for his college tuition-it had seemed a small sacrifice to give up one weekend a month and two weeks a year in exchange for a free education. But one semester short of graduating, and newly married, he was called to active duty-to serve in Kuwait, then on the front lines of the invasion of Iraq, and ultimately in Baghdad. While serving in Iraq, Crawford began writing short nonfiction stories, his account of what he and his fellow soldiers experienced in the war. At the urging of a journalist embedded with his unit, he began sending his pieces out of the country via an anonymous Internet e-mail account.



In a voice at once raw and immediate, Crawford's work vividly chronicles the daily life of a young soldier in Iraq-the excitement, the horror, the anger, the tedium, the fear, the camaraderie. All together, the stories slowly uncover something more: the transformation of a group of young college students-innocents-into something entirely different.



In the tradition of Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, this haunting and powerful, brutal but compellingly honest book promises to become the lasting, personal literary account of the United States' involvement in Iraq.



"Lawlor is masterful. Every now and then, you get a narrator who's so good he becomes indistinguishable from the character he's portraying. That would be Lawlor. He manages to convey the grittiness of the country, the gruffness of the soldiers, and Crawford's simmering anger and resentment with seamless ease." -Sandy Bauers, Philadelphia Inquirer



"A tremendous book...incredibly gripping and incredibly well-written"-Jon Stewart, The Daily Show
Publisher:
Released:
Jul 1, 2005
ISBN:
9781400171743
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

John C. Crawford is a former trustee of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. John is also the former director of the Scottish Information Literacy Project, and has published extensively in librarianship and history. He holds BA, MA, PhD, FCLIP and FSA (Scot) qualifications.


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What people think about The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell

3.8
12 ratings / 11 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    decent read
  • (4/5)
    John Crawford's 'sort of memoir' of his extended tour in Iraq in the early days of that war was, for me, maybe an 'okay-plus.' It's called "THE LAST TRUE STORY I'LL EVER TELL and was, I believe, a minor bestseller when it came out a dozen years ago. And Crawford does get it right in his depiction of the war as long periods of unrelieved boredom and exhaustion punctuated by violent encounters and fire fights. Unfortunately the pieces about boredom and mischief seem to predominate here, and there is also some redundancy from one essay to the next, as he tells us, for instance, "Mostly we were guarding gas stations and running patrols." And that's what we get, along with tales of drinking and dangerous hi-jinx, like stealing a motorcycle and side car and taking it for a joy ride through the dangerous night time streets of Baghdad.Crawford has much to say about the outdated crappy gear his Florida National Guard unit had to work with, and how they seemed to just get forgotten in the shuffle as other units rotated in and out of Iraq while his kept getting 'attached' to other regular Army and Marine units. There is a kind of meandering feeling to his narrative, as he skips from one incident to another, steadily becoming, it seems, more disillusioned with the war, his leadership, and the lack of any real mission. And there is no happy ending here, even when he finally does return home to Florida. I had trouble staying interested in Crawford's sketches of life in the war zone. I have read dozens of other accounts of soldiers' and Marines' individual wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this one does not compare favorably. It was one of the very early combatant accounts from Iraq, however, which is probably why it got as much attention as it did. I noticed that the NY Times reviewed it in tandem with another early war memoir by a woman veteran, Kayla Williams' LOVE MY RIFLE MORE THAN YOU. I agree with that reviewer's assessment that the Williams book was better, much better, in fact. But I will recommend Crawford's book as, if nothing more, a workmanlike early artifact of the steady flow of personal narratives which continue to emerge from the current wars. - Tim Bazzett, author of the Cold War memoir, SOLDIER BOY: AT PLAY IN THE ASA
  • (4/5)
    This military memoir offers no embellishments whoever reads it it's up to take a deep look into a deployment of someone who doesn't want to be deployed to begin with. Someone whose unit was to expend one of the longest, if not the longest, deployments to Iraq. Someone who had a first hand view of the deteriorating situation, that's by patrolling Baghdad from day one and into the madness that it was to become as well as the madness that it was to set in the soldiers minds, drug use included ... a madness that followed some of them home.Interesting and crude or is it crude and interesting?
  • (5/5)
    This memoir flies by like fiction, and if you're interested in hearing more about Iraq or the stories coming out of the war, this is an easy flowing read that's well worth the time. Additionally, the writing is superb and the commentary apolitical in nearly every respect--simply, they seem just meant to be stories, however true and however thought-provoking.
  • (3/5)
    This firsthand account of the Iraq War could have been good but ultimately fails to live up to its potential, laregely due to Crawford's flat and sophomoric prose.
  • (2/5)
    I had to read the book to create discussion questions for the book club kit tote in my library's collection. I didn't care much for it. I guess it was an okay description of the everyday life of a soldier in Iraq, but Crawford just doesn't write that well. I couldn't always follow his stories or understand his lingo or what was happening. I guess he never planned to be an author and he did talk about the war from a soldier's perspective, which we probably need more of. I didn't find it very compelling, though. Just seemed like a bunch of kids being jerks lots of the time; suppose that's real, too. You just want them all to be heroes, I guess. And why the heck did they spend all their time "guarding" that gas station?
  • (3/5)
    More a collection of short stories of the author's time in Iraq than a comprehensives account. The recollections ring true and sad. You can flip though this book easily as the writing is casual and light. The book left me for wanting more, kinda like eating cotton candy.
  • (5/5)
    This is both a very difficult and very compelling book.

    I have had this on my shelf for a couple of years. Every now and then I would pick it up and then change my mind, deciding that I wasn't in the right mood for it. I finally decided I would never be in that kind of mood, and I just needed to start it and see what happened.

    From the beginning I found it as upsetting and depressing as I expected. I also found the writing so compelling and raw that I couldn't bail out on it. I also consciously thought that, given what he (and the thousands of others) went through in our name, the very least I could do was to read what he had written.

    John Crawford is a terrific writer, and I hope to read more of his work in the future.
  • (5/5)
    A sad story, excellently written, and a real eye opener on the Iraq war.
  • (3/5)
    Crawford mentions that many of his National Guard unit's soldiers are in it for the College benefits. If his memoir of Baghdad was a freshman English theme, he'd probably get a C. It's mildly interesting reading about the misery of the populace, poor hand-me--down equipment, inept leadership, etc., but don't expect literature.
  • (4/5)
    Crawford was a member of the Florida National Guard and in The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell he documents his time in Iraq. The thing that most stood out to me was how much this book sounded like the Vietnam memoirs I read years ago. If you changed Iraq to Vietnam, desert to jungle, and valium to marijuana, this would almost pass as a book about Vietnam. If I was a better writer I would probably write something about how this shows some grand meaning about the face of war, but I’m not, so I won’t. Crawford tells a different story then any other I’ve read about Iraq; however this might be because of how little I’ve ventured into this area.