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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
Mayhem 337: Memoir of a Combat Advisor in Afghanistan by Chad Rickard is a nonfiction narrative that will immensely appeal to fans of military books. It is a record of the author’s experience in combat, fighting the orchestrators of the 9/11 tragedy. Growing up in Central Pennsylvania, Chad never thought of a military career, never imagined jumping out of airplanes with weapons strapped on his body, but after the tragedy of 9/11 he felt compelled to join the army and support his nation in the war against terrorism. In this narrative, a seasoned infantryman and a senior Army NCO shares his experiences fighting the Taliban and the Al Qaeda forces in Eastern Afghanistan.
The author gives readers a first-hand account of combat in very dangerous encounters and in unfamiliar and rough terrain. I loved the way he captures the “incertitude, the addiction that combat became” and the sense of mortality and humanity that permeates the narrative. Deafening gunshots, unsettling silences, the sound of the stampede of feet that scurry in uncertain directions in moments of danger. The narrative is beautiful and the imagery very strong. Mayhem 337: Memoir of a Combat Advisor in Afghanistan offers powerful images of military missions and enables readers to run alongside soldiers engaged in combat. The action is intense and the tension permeates every page of the narrative. The prose is beautiful and the narrative is enriched by streams of consciousness that transport readers into the psyche of the protagonist. It is a page-turner, balanced and deftly written.