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FICTION/Abrams David
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Subjects
Genres
War stories
Published
New York : Black Cat c2012.
Edition
1st ed
Language
English
Physical Description
372 p. ; 21 cm
ISBN
9780802120328
0802120326
Main Author
David Abrams (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

In west Baghdad, while the infantry fights the war on terrorism, a team of public affairs soldiers play computer solitaire and clip toenails in the relative safety of the Forward Operating Base (FOB), waiting for the latest death reports. This is the story of the Fobbits, as they're pejoratively called, and, in particular, Staff Sergeant Chance Gooding Jr., who types up the latest suicide bombing into something palatable for Americans digesting his words over breakfast. It's the story of Lieutenant Colonel Vic Duret, knee-deep in the heat, stench, and gore of combat instead of working on nation rebuilding, who hates those Fobbits in their cushy cubicles avoiding combat. It's the story of incompetent Captain Abe Shrinkle, who has something to prove and becomes a burr in the boot of the U.S. Army. First-novelist Abrams punches up the grittiness of war with the dark, cynical humor that comes from living it (he served as a Fobbit in Iraq), crafting images that will haunt readers long after they pry their grip from the book. Think M.A.S.H. in Iraq. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Former army journalist Abrams offers a comic novel about press officers, clerks, and all noncombat military personnel at a Forward Operating Base (FOB) during the peak of violence in U.S.-occupied Iraq. Staff Sgt. Chance Gooding—while counting the days until his deployment ends—methodically translates combat reports and suicide bomber fatalities into bloodless press-release prose. After several fatal incidents of incompetance, Capt. Abe Shrinkle is transferred in disgrace from leading troops, and exiled to folding towels in the FOB gym. From there, his humiliating downward spiral is unstoppable and ends scandalously in the Australians' off-limits swimming pool. Abrams (with a nod to Catch-22) mocks the clichés of military bureaucracy, yet he frequently employs military jargon and expressions to describe the characters' thoughts and schemes for self-preservation. While the author paints with broad satirical strokes, the book offers a unique behind-the-wire glimpse at life at the FOB and the process of "spinning" a war for public consumption. VERDICT A funny, hard-edged satire about recent history and modern war-making, suitable for adult general fiction readers. [See Prepub Alert, 4/19/12.]—John Cecil, Austin, TX [Page 71]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

‚ úFobbit,‚ ù a pejorative term, is a portmanteau of forward operating base and hobbit and stands for a soldier stationed at an FOB who avoids combat by remaining at base. I have enjoyed Abrams‚ ôs writing in Esquire and am happy to report that this darkly comic novel is a slice of awesome. Set during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the plot is awash with soldiers (and hundreds of pissed-off Iraqi citizens) and hones in on three disparate characters: Sgt. Chance Gooding writes press releases in the public affairs office; there‚ ôs dust on his gun, and he doesn‚ ôt send up flares to communicate, he emails the New York Times. Battalion commander Lt. Col. Vic Duret, prone to migraines, just wants to go home. And then there‚ ôs Capt. Abe Shrinkle, who soils himself at the slightest provocation and is quite possibly ‚ úthe worst officer in the United States Army.‚ ù This ain‚ ôt Hogan‚ ôs Heroes. Like the best writing of M.A.S.H., it is true dark comedy in that it reinforces how unpleasant life can be for soldiers, and how ridiculous, funny, and stupid life can be. And it reminds us how cheap life is; how cheap American lives are. — Douglas Lord, "Books for Dudes", LJ Reviews 7/5/12 (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Abrams's debut is a harrowing satire of the Iraq War and an instant classic. The Fobbits of the title are U.S. Army support personnel, stationed at Baghdad's enclave of desk jobs: Forward Operating Base Triumph. Some of the soldiers, like Lt. Col. Vic Duret, are good officers pushed to the brink. Others, like Capt. Abe Shrinkle, are indecisive blowhards. But the soul of the book is Staff Sgt. Chance Gooding Jr., a public relations NCO who spends his days crafting excruciating press releases and fending off a growing sense of moral bankruptcy. A series of bombings, street battles, and media debacles test all of these men and, although there are exciting combat scenes, the book's most riveting moments are about crafting spin, putting the "Iraqi Face" on the conflict. A sequence in which a press release is drafted and edited and scrutinized, held up for so long that its eventual release is old news, is a pointed vision of losing a public relations war. Abrams, a 20-year Army veteran who served with a public affairs team in Iraq, brings great authority and verisimilitude to his depictions of these attempts to shape the perceptions of the conflict. Abrams's prose is spot-on and often deadpan funny, as when referring to the "warm pennies" smell of a soldier's "undermusk of blood," or when describing one misshapen officer: "skull too big for the stalk of his neck, arms foreshortened like a dinosaur... one word came to mind: thalidomide." This novel nails the comedy and the pathos, the boredom and the dread, crafting the Iraq War's answer to Catch-22. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Associates. (Sept.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

At Foreward Operating Base Triumph, a combat-avoiding staff sergeant named Chance Gooding spends his time composing press releases that spin grim events into statements more palatable to the public.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

At Forward Operating Base Triumph, a combat-avoiding staff sergeant named Chance Gooding spends his time composing press releases that spin grim events into statements more palatable to the public.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A satirical tale set in the chaotic world of Baghdad's Forward Operating Base Triumph traces the daily experiences of men and women soldiers who avoid combat by remaining at the base and spending their days playing video games, watching television and getting acquainted in empty portable toilets. (This book was previously listed in Forecast.) Original. A first novel.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Fobbit \'fä-bit\, noun. Definition: A U.S. soldier stationed at a Forward Operating Base who avoids combat by remaining at the base, esp. during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2011). Pejorative.In the satirical tradition of Catch-22 and M*A*S*H, Fobbit takes us into the chaotic world of Baghdad's Forward Operating Base Triumph. The Forward Operating base, or FOB, is like the back-office of the battlefield – where people eat and sleep, and where a lot of soldiers have what looks suspiciously like a desk job. Male and female soldiers are trying to find an empty Porta Potty in which to get acquainted, grunts are playing Xbox and watching NASCAR between missions, and a lot of the senior staff are more concerned about getting to the chow hall in time for the Friday night all-you-can-eat seafood special than worrying about little things like military strategy.Darkly humorous and based on the author's own experiences in Iraq, Fobbit is a fantastic debut that shows us a behind-the-scenes portrait of the real Iraq war.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

Fobbit \’fä-bit\, noun. Definition: A U.S. soldier stationed at a Forward Operating Base who avoids combat by remaining at the base, esp. during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2011). Pejorative.In the satirical tradition of Catch-22 and M*A*S*H, Fobbit takes us into the chaotic world of Baghdad’s Forward Operating Base Triumph. The Forward Operating base, or FOB, is like the back-office of the battlefield ? where people eat and sleep, and where a lot of soldiers have what looks suspiciously like a desk job. Male and female soldiers are trying to find an empty Porta Potty in which to get acquainted, grunts are playing Xbox and watching NASCAR between missions, and a lot of the senior staff are more concerned about getting to the chow hall in time for the Friday night all-you-can-eat seafood special than worrying about little things like military strategy.Darkly humorous and based on the author's own experiences in Iraq, Fobbit is a fantastic debut that shows us a behind-the-scenes portrait of the real Iraq war.

Review by Publisher Summary 6

Fobbit \’fä-bit\, noun. Definition: A U.S. soldier stationed at a Forward Operating Base who avoids combat by remaining at the base, esp. during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2011). Pejorative.In the satirical tradition of Catch-22 and M*A*S*H, Fobbit takes us into the chaotic world of Baghdad’s Forward Operating Base Triumph. The Forward Operating base, or FOB, is like the back-office of the battlefield – where people eat and sleep, and where a lot of soldiers have what looks suspiciously like a desk job. Male and female soldiers are trying to find an empty Porta Potty in which to get acquainted, grunts are playing Xbox and watching NASCAR between missions, and a lot of the senior staff are more concerned about getting to the chow hall in time for the Friday night all-you-can-eat seafood special than worrying about little things like military strategy.Darkly humorous and based on the author's own experiences in Iraq, Fobbit is a fantastic debut that shows us a behind-the-scenes portrait of the real Iraq war.