Whistles from the graveyard My time behind the camera on war, rage, and restless youth in Afghanistan

Miles Lagoze

Book - 2023

"For readers of Jarhead and Phil Klay, a Marine Combat Cameraman offers a character-rich, unfiltered look at military life in Afghanistan, from a Millennial perspective of soldiers raised with modern media and graphic video games"--

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor New Shelf 958.1047/Lagoze (NEW SHELF) Checked In
Personal narratives American
Personal narratives
New York, NY : One Signal Publishers/Atria 2023.
Main Author
Miles Lagoze (author)
First One Signal Publishers/Atria Books hardcover edition
Physical Description
xxi, 246 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Includes index.
  • Author's Note
  • USMC Rank Structure
  • Preface
  • Chapter 1. I Am Not Who I Say I Am
  • Chapter 2. Laughter (or) Mirth
  • Chapter 3. The Schoolhouse
  • Chapter 4. Sad Bois in Paradise
  • Chapter 5. Standard Operating Procedures
  • Chapter 6. One Shot
  • Chapter 7. The Four Locos
  • Chapter 8. Theater of War
  • Chapter 9. "Nuther Day, Man … Nuther Day"
  • Chapter 10. Observer's Paradox
  • Chapter 11. Erasing the River
  • Chapter 12. Keep Me Safe
  • Chapter 13. Scratching for a Niche
  • Chapter 14. Freedom in Bliss
  • Chapter 15. Learned It from Them
  • Epilogue
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A former Marine Combat Cameraman recounts the hell of battle. After high school, Lagoze arrived at a Marine Corps recruitment office to escape his teenage wasteland. Asked what he wanted to do, he replied, "Combat Camera." That landed him the status of POG, a person other than a grunt, "the worst thing you could be called in the Marines….similar to a desk jockey." What he filmed, officially, earned approval, but for his own purposes, he filmed forbidden things like Marines smoking hash in the field and fighting high--and, far worse, scenes of them mistreating human corpses and living animals. "You're not a Marine until you do what Marines do, which is go to war," writes the author. "Earn your strips. Get your Combat Action Ribbon." War is, of course, hell; even though a fellow videographer assured him that Afghanistan was "a really long, messed-up camping trip," it still felt like the worst place on Earth. Learning just how horrible it was--a realization built up over months in the field in a war "run by eighteen to twenty-three-year-old kids without college degrees and little on their minds besides getting some trigger time"--resulted in a surrealistic documentary, Combat Obscura, that questioned everything, including his own role: "In my head we were still good guys; not 'the' good guys, but still okay." In fact, he concludes in a book that stands up next to Anthony Swofford's Jarhead and Michael Herr's Dispatches, they weren't OK, and they would never be OK again. One sign of the mental toll, notes Lagoze, was the veteran-studded attempted coup of January 6, 2021, which he links directly to foreign interventions that led radicalized young warriors to the steps of the Capitol. Gonzo, ghoulish, and unforgettable: one of the strongest books yet to emerge from America's misadventure in Afghanistan. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.