The title of Anthony Swofford's urgent, harrowing, and wickedly funny memoir Jarhead refers to the "high-and-tight" haircuts worn by Marines during Gulf War I, but the term gets recycled into many other unflattering incarnations: dope, grunt, thug, outcast, sucker. Many potent emotions are kicked up by Swofford's experiences in the Marine Corps—the fear of death and the unknown, the intense bonds and dysfunction of a platoon, the horrors of combat—but he keeps circling back to abandonment, and the feeling that he and his comrades were left twisting in the wind. Brushing aside the war's dubious purpose, which never really registers in their kill-or-be-killed mentality, the men suffer unrelenting indignities before, during, and after the conflict that brings them together because no one else will have them. During the endless downtime in Saudi Arabia, Swofford has his head smashed through a chalkboard by a drill instructor, suffers incredible heat in full gear during a football game staged for the press corps, and tacks his girlfriend's picture onto the "Wall Of Shame," a space that bitterly commemorates infidelity. Once the war starts, he walks in burning oil fields under petroleum rain, gets a firsthand look at the devastation of airstrikes on his Iraqi counterparts, and witnesses corpses being desecrated, all the while fearing for his own fragile mortality and sanity. And then there's the sour aftermath of returning home, where vital years have slipped away, families have moved on with their lives, and the disconnect between Gulf War veterans and the rest of society magnifies the vets' sense of loneliness and alienation.

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Anthony Swofford born August 12, is an American writer and former U. Marine , best known for his book Jarhead , based heavily on his accounts of various situations encountered in the Persian Gulf War. This memoir was the basis of the film of the same name , directed by Sam Mendes. Swofford was born on August 12, , in Fairfield, California , into a military family. He grew up living on a military base. In his own words, Swofford describes his younger self, before and during his tenure in the U.

Marine Corps, as "a reader and a loner". Terrified of being a failure in a "normal" life, [2] Swofford wanted to join the Marines from an early age, as he saw it as "an entry into manhood". Swofford joined the U. Marine Corps at the age of 18, and shortly after he turned 20 he was deployed to Riyadh , Saudi Arabia , awaiting the start of the Persian Gulf War.

Following the war, Swofford was promoted to corporal. He was uncomfortable with the notion that he was a hero, and deliberately missed the homecoming parade near his base.

After leaving the U. Marine Corps following the end of the war in the Gulf, Swofford at first found it difficult to adapt to civilian life, due to extreme combat-related PTSD. In his own words, it felt "strange to be in a place without having someone telling me to throw my gear in a truck and go somewhere".

Swofford returned to the United States, doing a variety of jobs to pay his way. While attending the American River College , a community college in Sacramento , [5] Swofford was published in and was the-editor-in-chief of the American River Review , an award-winning literary magazine. Swofford committed himself to writing in , at the age of 24, [2] [5] and built on the encouragement he received at college to write Jarhead , which documents his time spent in the Gulf.

He said himself, "I could have written a flattering portrait of myself as a young Marine, but it would have been a much lesser book. Following his time at the University of Iowa, Swofford served as an English professor at Lewis and Clark College , where he taught a class in the school's "Inventing America" program, [2] and St.

Mary's College of California , [10] until he sold the film rights to Jarhead. His first fictional novel, Exit A , was published in January Swofford co-produced and narrated the documentary Semper Fi , [13] is featured in Richard E. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American writer and United States Marine. Biography portal. Combustible Celluloid.

Retrieved Archived from the original on Berichte aus Amerika. Archived from the original on 3 January Guardian Unlimited. Powell's Books. Archived from the original on 18 January Archived from the original on 17 December Internet Movie Database.

The New York Times. PEN American Center. National Public Radio. Archived from the original on 24 December The New York Times Movies. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Contribute Help Community portal Recent changes Upload file. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

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Anthony Swofford

In his New York Times bestselling chronicle of military life, Anthony Swofford weaves his experiences in war with vivid accounts of boot camp, reflections on the mythos of the marines, and remembrances of battles with lovers and family. When the U. He lived in sand for six months; he was punished by boredom and fear; he considered suicide, pulled a gun on a fellow marine, and was targeted by both enemy and friendly fire. As engagement with the Iraqis drew near, he was forced to consider what it means to be an American, a soldier, a son of a soldier, and a man. Get a FREE e-book by joining our mailing list today!


Jarhead : A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles

Two months after his twentieth birthday, he was stationed near Riyadh awaiting the onset of Desert Storm, in what we now call the first Gulf War. A decade after that, he enlisted in that alternative American boot camp, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, whose battle-hardened alumni include Raymond Carver and T Coraghessan Boyle. Seduced by the idea that 'the warrior always fights for a sorry cause. And if he lives, he tells stories', Swofford then got out his old desert maps and, armed with his newly drilled prose, set about recounting the tale of his war. Swofford sifts through his old kit in his cellar, the combat clothes 'bleached by sand and sun and blemished with the petroleum rain that fell from the oil-well fires in Kuwait'.


The killing machine who never actually killed

Jarhead is a Gulf War memoir by author and former U. Marine Anthony Swofford. After leaving military service, the author went on to college and earned a double master's degree in Fine Arts at the University of Iowa. Like most of the troops stationed in the Middle East during the Gulf War, Swofford saw very little actual combat. Swofford's narrative focuses on the physical, mental and emotional struggles of the young Marines. One of the through lines of his first-person account involves the challenge of balancing the art and science and mind-set of the warrior with one's own basic sense of humanity.

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