The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell

The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell

by John Crawford


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In the tradition of Michael Herr's Dispatches, a National Guardsman's account of the war in Iraq.

John Crawford joined the Florida National Guard to pay for his college tuition, willingly exchanging one weekend a month and two weeks a year for a free education. But in Autumn 2002, one semester short of graduating and newly married—in fact, on his honeymoon—he was called to active duty and sent to the front lines in Iraq.

Crawford and his unit spent months upon months patrolling the streets of Baghdad, occupying a hostile city. During the breaks between patrols, Crawford began recording what he and his fellow soldiers witnessed and experienced. Those stories became The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell—a haunting and powerful, compellingly honest book that imparts the on-the-ground reality of waging the war in Iraq, and marks as the introduction of a mighty literary voice forged in the most intense of circumstances.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594482014
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/04/2006
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 514,147
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.61(d)
Lexile: 940L (what's this?)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

John Crawford was newly married and two credits away from completing a B.A. in anthropology at Florida State University when he was sent to Iraq. He thought he was finished with his soldiering days after completing a stint with the Army’s famed 101st Airborne Division, and his National Guard service was little more than an afterthought. Crawford and his National Guard unit crossed into Iraq on the first day of the invasion. Baghdad fell more quickly than anyone had planned, and while most of the soldiers involved with the invasion were sent home, Crawford’s National Guard unit stayed to patrol the city for more than a year. Crawford now lives in Florida, where he is completing his degree and writing. He no longer has any affiliation with the Army.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Potent…Crawford tells tales that bring human dimensions to his situation.” —The New York Times

“A National Guardsman who never expected to see battle writes a shattering account of the war that changed his life.” —People

"Tremendous...An incredibly gripping book, and incredibly well-written. It's a remarkable story...I commend [Crawford] not only for his service, but for the account of it, which is really a wonderful read."Jon Stewart, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

"Harrowing and exquisite."—Time

"Takes its place among the very best tales of men at warit rings with the raw emotional energies of truth and anger and sadness."The New Orleans Times-Picayune

“It's f***ing dynamite… Like Michael Herr in Dispatches, Crawford really has it down. He’s got it nailed.” —Thom Jones, author of The Pugilist at Rest

“Crawford is a wonderfully descriptive writer—and reading this book feels like climbing into a Humvee to patrol Baghdad in 130-degree heat.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

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Last True Story I'll Ever Tell 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Comharafdep More than 1 year ago
I will be very honest, the book is well written, but paints a terrible picture of the American soldier. I do not know if I am reviewing the book or the content of the character of the man who wrote it. But, I will give it a shot. I believe the public has a right to know the good and bad of what happen in Iraq, but the story of a soldier who lied, cheated, stole and did drugs only reflects poorly on all of us. A golden rule, if you get away with it, take it to your grave. I would love a JAG Officer to read this and follow up with the punishment that fits the crimes. I was in Baghdad, March 2004-2005, I did not see soldier dishonoring their service and country, but I have no doubt their were pockets and places where some did. If you want to see the under belly of the US Army, this is a great read. I do not recommend it. There are many great examples of faithful service out there. I recommend you find one of those! The story is gripping and like watching a train wreck. You can not stop reading, because you want to see just how bad it can get. You want to see what is around the next corner, but you really do not want to know. We all have our favorites, this book is not mine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great memoir, different perspective of occupation duty. Really well written, although, in the end I wasn't really sure what the main point was, kind of left me feeling like I had read a fictional book? You'll have to read to understand. Still, I looked forward to reading it everytime, shows there is much more to a soldiers life than fighting, or how many enemies a soldier actually has, physically and emotionally. Thank you for your service, I hope things are well for you Mr. Crawford.
emed0s on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This military memoir offers no embellishments whoever reads it it's up to take a deep look into a deployment of someone who doesn't want to be deployed to begin with. Someone whose unit was to expend one of the longest, if not the longest, deployments to Iraq. Someone who had a first hand view of the deteriorating situation, that's by patrolling Baghdad from day one and into the madness that it was to become as well as the madness that it was to set in the soldiers minds, drug use included ... a madness that followed some of them home.Interesting and crude or is it crude and interesting?
bookmoocher on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This firsthand account of the Iraq War could have been good but ultimately fails to live up to its potential, laregely due to Crawford's flat and sophomoric prose.
ngennaro on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
More a collection of short stories of the author's time in Iraq than a comprehensives account. The recollections ring true and sad. You can flip though this book easily as the writing is casual and light. The book left me for wanting more, kinda like eating cotton candy.
whitewavedarling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This memoir flies by like fiction, and if you're interested in hearing more about Iraq or the stories coming out of the war, this is an easy flowing read that's well worth the time. Additionally, the writing is superb and the commentary apolitical in nearly every respect--simply, they seem just meant to be stories, however true and however thought-provoking.
sgtbigg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Crawford was a member of the Florida National Guard and in The Last True Story I¿ll Ever Tell he documents his time in Iraq. The thing that most stood out to me was how much this book sounded like the Vietnam memoirs I read years ago. If you changed Iraq to Vietnam, desert to jungle, and valium to marijuana, this would almost pass as a book about Vietnam. If I was a better writer I would probably write something about how this shows some grand meaning about the face of war, but I¿m not, so I won¿t. Crawford tells a different story then any other I¿ve read about Iraq; however this might be because of how little I¿ve ventured into this area.
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I never was into reading books, and I chose this as my first real novel of my favorite subject: war. Hearing his story and the images that he seen is one that truly makes one think how different a world is through the eyes of a soldier. The whole way through the book, i never wanted to stop reading, and so it got to me. Now I'm actually buying more stories of war because of this novel. It's a must read book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent book, it really explains the details and information about the war that the news will never clearly describe to the public. It gives indepth perspective about, what the soldiers of are really dealing with, fighting in the war. I recommend this book to all readers, who want to know more about the war.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For a person who has no affiliation with the military, i just grabbed this book without thinking, expand my horizons. I read this book in 3 hours, i just could NOT put it down. It's a very sad story and definitly an eye opener. I STRONGLY reccomend this book to anyone, it puts in perspective just what really goes on in iraq and the hardships our soldiers endure. This just by far is the best book i've read!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an exceptional book. I bought it for my son, who is serving in Iraq. I scanned the first few pages and I was hooked. It gives great insight of what our troops are doing over there and the conditions they are subjected to. A must read for military families and soldiers as well. This book has been passed around the 82nd Airborne.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Incredible story. I read it in one sitting. It is a very human story and it keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very well put together book. John Crawford really lived the life that soldiers do. This book will keep you reading without ever wanting to put the book down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
At the heart of the novel lies the truth about war, about what soldiers are really fighting for. What is that? I read it but I count understand what sldiers are really ighting for
DesperateLands More than 1 year ago
An amazing true story of a National Guards Infantry soldiers experience fighting the war in Iraq. A young man pushed beyond endurance. A savage and compelling work that reveals the true cost of the Iraq adventure, the price paid by young soldiers. I recommend this book to readers to better understand what its like to be a young Infantry soldier in the war in Iraq.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was forced to read this book for two of my college classes this semester, and it is horrible. I'm not a soldier and I will not claim to be omniscient, so I'm not sure if it is factually accurate or not, but the style is poor. The story is rife with swearing and profanity, the Americans are portrayed as callous, trigger-happy idiots with absolutely no respect for the civilians around them, and Crawford seems like a very whiny individual that doesn't want to accept the consequences of his actions. I don't find the story inspirational or enlightening, and I don't think that even the most liberal reader would classify this as 'literature.' It sucked.