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Description - Big Boy Rules by Steve Fainaru

Travelling in Iraq with a group of US security contractors - mercenaries or mercs - a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter reveals in gritty detail the men who live by Big Boy Rules. A parallel army lives on the margins of the Iraq war - nearly 100,000 armed men, invisible yet in plain sight, doing jobs the overstretched and understaffed military can't or won't. The US media call them 'security contractors'. They call themselves 'mercs' and operate under their own rules. Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Steve Fainaru travelled with several groups of security contractors to find out what motivates them to put their lives in danger every day.What emerges is a searing, revealing and sometimes darkly funny look at the men who live and work in the battlefields of Iraq: some are desperate, some are confused and some are just out for a lark. Some disappear into the void that is Iraq and are never seen again. It's not a pretty picture, but it's brutally real and shockingly honest. "Big Boy Rules" is an unforgettable leap into the mayhem of Iraq and the dark recesses of the minds of American policy makers and the warriors they hire.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780306817434
ISBN-10: 0306817438
Format: Hardback
(236mm x 156mm x 28mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Da Capo Press Inc
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 6-Nov-2008
Country of Publication: United States

Book Reviews - Big Boy Rules by Steve Fainaru

US Kirkus Review » Expanding on his Pulitzer Prize - winning series in the Washington Post, Fainaru profiles employees of for-profit companies engaged in the Iraq War.With the all-volunteer army perennially short of personnel, Fainaru writes, more military work is being outsourced. The mercenary companies are primarily concerned with minimizing costs and maximizing profit, in his view, and as a result don't always provide their employees with the best equipment. They don't bother to display much concern for the men either. When one of the soldiers spotlighted here died, no representative of the company attended the funeral. Their employers do assure these soldiers that they aren't subject to the same international, military, U.S., or Iraqi laws that members of the regular military are. "We were always told, from the very beginning, if for some reason something happened and they were trying to prosecute us under Iraqi law, they would put you in the back of a car and sneak you out of the country in the middle of the night," recalls mercenary Chuck Sheppard. When employees of Blackwater USA shot and killed three Iraqi security guards, possibly without provocation, Fainaru depicts American officials conducting a perfunctory investigation and interviewing no eyewitnesses, despite complaints from the Iraqi government. The book's strongest sections describe the mercenaries' cowboy culture and capture scenes at home that reveal the influences shaping their personas. Fainaru takes to heart the old journalistic adage, "show, don't tell," as he portrays men seeking to escape difficult personal circumstances, who crave adventure even if it means losing their lives. The battlefield scenes, by contrast, are adequate, but not as evocative as those in the books of his Post colleague Thomas Ricks (Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006) or New York Times correspondent Dexter Filkins (The Forever War, 2008).An informative, dramatic look at a significant, often unexamined, aspect of contemporary military culture. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Steve Fainaru

Washington Post reporter Steve Fainaru is the winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in international reporting for his coverage of the Iraq war. This is his third book.

Books By Steve Fainaru

League of Denial by Steve Fainaru
Paperback, September 2014
Big Boy Rules by Steve Fainaru
Paperback, October 2009
Duke of Havana by Steve Fainaru
Paperback / softback, March 2001