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Book Notes: Combat and Other Shenanigans

· 2 min read
Kam Lasater
Builder of things

Author: Piers Platt

I bought this book because I went to boarding school with the author. We were in the same dorm freshman year. I generally like to read books/articles/blogs by people I know because it deepens my personal connection with them. In this case I haven't seen Piers since perhaps the late nineties. What was of personal interest to me was the potential "path not traveled" nature of memoir. My life could have unfolded differently and this book describes a type of experience I may have had.

What Makes it Distinct

I think I could spend all of my reading time exclusively on books that fit the mold:

  • Author goes abroad
  • Author has crazy war experiences
  • Author grows
  • Author returns home
  • Author appreciates the little things

In this case the book was not so much about growth as providing the experience of being there to the reader. The quote that has stuck with me was early on when the author was describing his motivation for writing the book. He describes how his friends would ask him what his deployment was like. Piers says he wanted them to understand what it was too hot be able to touch the tanks without gloves and to understand the smell of the place.

The book focuses on all the non-heroic experiences. Basically all the hurry up and wait portions of military life. Essentially if a movie would jump cut to another moment, the boring in between times ended up in the book. I particularly enjoyed the paperwork and compliance requirements to keep the unit on the firing range firing their main guns.

Piers does detail some moments of action. They reinforce the perception that a deployment was a long grind of banality, loud bang, then right back to grinding routine, dirt and stink.


This was a fun quick read. Worth the $5.99 I paid for the eBook on Amazon. I would read another book by Piers, if he writes one.