Baghdad Express: A Gulf War Memoir

Front Cover
Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 203 pages
1 Review
In early summer of 1990, Joel Turnipseed was homeless--kicked out of his college's philosophy program, dumped by his girlfriend. He had been AWOL from his Marine Corps Reserve unit for more than three months, spending his days hanging out in coffee shops reading Plato and Thoreau.

Then Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.

Turnipseed's unit was activated for service in Operation Desert Shield. By January of '91, he was in Saudi Arabia driving tractor-trailers for the Sixth Motor Transport Battalion--the legendary "Baghdad Express." The greatest logistical operation in Marine Corps history, the Baghdad Express hauled truckloads of explosives and ammunition across hundreds of miles of desert. But on the brink of war, Turnipseed's greatest struggles are still within. Armed with an M-16 and a seabag full of philosophy books, he is a wise-ass misfit, an ironic observer with a keen eye for vivid detail, a rebellious Marine alive to the moral ambiguity of his life and his situation.

Developed from Turnipseed's 1997 feature article for GQ Magazine, this innovative memoir--simultaneously terrifying and hilarious, equal parts Catch-22 and Catcher in the Rye--explores both the absurdities of war and the necessity of accepting our flawed world of shadows. With expansive humanity and profane grace, Turnipseed finds the real-world answers to his philosophical questions and reaches the hardest peace for any young man to achieve--with himself.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - TimBazzett - LibraryThing

Hard core marines would probably not approve of this book. Because as a marine, Turnipseed is something less than gung-ho. His approach to the military life is much too casual. Of course he's telling ... Read full review

Baghdad express: a Gulf War memoir

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Humans are multifaceted, yet we tend to view each other in one dimension. We expect a college philosophy major to expound the ideas of Plato and an enlisted marine to focus on more worldly matters ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Norton AFB
5
Footsteps
20
Combat Duty
33
In Country
44
Yusef
55
Nerve Pills
64
Cigarette
70
Nerve Pills Redux
76
Solitude
109
The Dog Pound
112
Black Planet
126
Snow Angels
142
Getting Lost
144
Prisoners of War
156
Reunion
168
Soldiers Tales
183

Friendly Fire
78
Guard Duty
85
Intelligence
100
Semper Fidelis
193
Acknowledgments
202
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

Bibliographic information