Last Exit to BaghdadThe first soldier memoirs and a sweeping history describe a war unlike any we’ve ever known.

Colby Buzzell, author of My War: Killing Time in Iraq, describes the daily mortar shelling of the American base in Mosul, more a nuisance than anything else because the shells are so poorly aimed. Buzzell, the most charming and funny of the memoirists, imagines the Iraqis “doing this illegal deed in a hurry and scared to death the entire time, yelling at each other in Arabic to ‘hurry the fuck up!’ because every time we got called out to try to catch these sons of bitches and turn them into martyrs minutes after they mortared us, they were always gone like the wind.”