August 3, 2012

Book Review: House To House By SSG David Bellavia

Normally I focus my reviews on SOF books but having met David in New York on SIRUIS Radio’s “Wilkow Majority” show, I felt compelled to pick up his book when visiting my new publisher and Editor at Simon & Schuster offered it up to me.

While launching my own memoir, The Red Circle, I was becoming very familiar with the SIRIUS radio studios. On one afternoon I shared an elevator ride up to SIRIUS with David Bellavia. We studied each other with the careful looks often exchanged by people who have experienced hardship in life not known by most people, especially in the soft world of NYC where tragedy and hardship is missing a cocktail party Thursday evening at the latest “Roof Top” scene.

David and I had no idea each other was headed to the same studio for Wilkow’s show until we were badge’d up.  Sitting in the waiting room we exchanged intro’s and quickly bonded as most military guys do when they find service and war as a common ground.

I learned he was running for Congress and was on Wilkow’s show to discuss his campaign, and he learned that I had just launched my book.  We ended up doing our spot together on the air with Andrew (a great guy). I walked away from the experience glad to have met David and more glad that guys like him are taking the fight to Washington.

I’ve been asked why we don’t write critical book reviews on this site.  My answer is, “what’s the point?”  Book reviews make it on here because we like the book. It’s rare that you’ll find a scathing and wordy Times-like review on SOFREP because it serves no purpose for our community.  Occasionally you may see a “buyer beware” piece but that’s very rare.  So we recommend books we like and share some of our thoughts with you. After all, would you run out and buy a book we said was shit? Probably not.

House To House By SSG David Bellavia

“Blood flows over my left hand and I lose my grip on his hair. His head snaps back against the floor. In an instant, his fists are pummeling me. I rock from his counterblows. He lands one on my injured jaw and the pain nearly blinds me. He connects with my nose, and blood and snot pour down my throat. I spit blood between my teeth and scream with him. The two of us sound like caged dogs locked in a death match. We are.”

David Bellavia authors one hell of a book. Having served the majority of my career in Special Operations it’s rare that I ever got a glimpse of the harsh combat existence of a US Army infantry Warfighter.  My closest experience to this would have been attending Airborne Jump School at Fort Benning.

You get an often overlooked peek at the young Bellavia as he struggles (as most young men do) with confidence issues after watching helplessly as his family is robbed by druggies.  David then transforms himself from an uncertain, lack of confidence kid and into a seasoned leader of Army infantry men in battle.

His book takes you into the Hell of Iraq and the battle of Fallujah.  You can’t help feel that you’re in the assault train with his guys as they take the fight to the harsh urban streets of Fallujah.  You can expect the usual stories of hometown sacrifice and heroism but also get a rare glimpse of embed journalists and how they are seen from the lens of the Army infantry soldier.

There’s a part in the book where David fights and kills an enemy with his bare hands, it’s intense and gives the uniniated a look at the ugliness of necessary warfare. I could taste the blood in my mouth as I read through this intense scene…crazy shit and brought back my own memories.

It’s a great read.

You can buy it here.

About the Author

is a former U.S. Navy SEAL with combat deployments to Afghanistan, and Iraq. During his last tour he served as the west coast sniper Course Manager at the Naval Special Warfare Center. He is Editor-in-Chief of SOFREP.com, and a New York Times best selling author (The Red Circle & Benghazi: The Definitive Report). His writing has been featured in print, and digital media worldwide. You can follow him on twitter here.

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  • JRomeoWhiskey

    I have read this book and it is outstanding in my opinion.  Well worth reading, David really brings it home.

  • leadpersuasion1

    One of the absolute best books I have ever read. Bellavia will bring you to the streets of Fallujah and simply force you to continue reading. He captivates your attention and makes you realize the reality of what urban combat was like in Iraq. Truly, a must own book I my opinion.

  • Recon6

     @lightfighter  @PONI   Rec'd!  Read an interesting article (naturally I forget it's location!)  that stated a "high" increase in cases of PTSD and related illness, with Older Veterans as they Retire!  Apparently the excessive amount of time one has to reflect on the past it further increases the likelihood of illness,particularly if one was involved in combat or other catastrophic event.  Sadly, I am afraid today's Warriors are in for some difficult days as they have experienced re deployments at an unbelievable pace.  Hopefully the article was b.s.  R6   

  • lightfighter

       " ...than I have ever did ..."  Good Lord I wish there was a way to go back and edit posts. Really my grammar isn't that bad - it's my proof reading that is lazy !

  • lightfighter

     @PONI "  .... They don't live their lives as though 9/11 or simillar is what's important, rather they live like Fashion Week, OWS, or some idiot politician making a fool of themself is what's at the forefront of their mind ..."   I hear you and I have mixed feelings about this.  On a personal level, despite the sorrow, I realize the futility of being stuck or ensnared in that moment and as inappropriate as it is / was, eventually life does go on.     So, there must be a balance between pretending it didn't happen and walking around in sack cloth and ashes. Even very shortly after the event, when the major clean up had begun, it took on a certain level of abstraction or the surreal.   Strangely, I now have a harder time watching the videos / news clips of the events than I have ever did.   I can not even imagine how SSG Bellavia must relate to his extremely intimate experience of his knife fight in Fallujah.