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.
“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.