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Download Big Boy Rules: America's Mercenaries Fighting in Iraq Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Big Boy Rules: Americas Mercenaries Fighting in Iraq Audiobook, by Steve Fainaru Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (167 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Steve Fainaru Narrator: Patrick Lawlor Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2008 ISBN: 9781400177820
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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 do. The U.S. media call them "security contractors." They call themselves "mercs," and they operate under their own rules. Washington Post reporter Steve Fainaru traveled 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 that Fainaru reveals, but it is brutally real and shockingly honest. Big Boy Rules is an unforgettable leap into the mayhem of Iraq and into the dark recesses of the minds of American policymakers and the warriors they hire. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • This book is consistently engaging and powerfully instructive. The Washington Post
  • “This book is consistently engaging and powerfully instructive.”

    Washington Post

  • “A highly engaging book, among the best written so far on this subject.”

    Library Journal

  • “An informative, dramatic look at a significant, often unexamined, aspect of contemporary military culture.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beau Smith | 12/10/2013

    " A really well done look inside the world of private contractors and the military. Very good reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth Sullivan | 10/6/2013

    " Interesting story about the contractor's in Iraq. Pretty sad all the way around. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 10/6/2013

    " Reading this, I came away with the distinct impression that unregulated usage of hired guns is one of the worst aspects of this era's American military efforts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tree | 4/19/2013

    " Gritty, down to earth inside look behind the secret war going on in Iraq. The book almost absentmindedly touches on Blackwater - probably just added a chapter or two towards the end when it hit the news, but great story about the Crescent Security employees, their kidnapping, and their families. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 3/4/2013

    " Please read this book, even if you never read non-fiction, or treat reading strictly as pure escapism. It is an incredible document of the unrepentant sadness brought about by the war in Iraq. One of the few books I've ever read that has moved me to tears. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Payback | 7/26/2012

    " Interesting... first book I've listened to on the subject of mercenaries in Iraq. I liked that the author was both sympathetic and critical of the people in his story. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tstultz69 | 6/18/2012

    " Not sure what I expected from this book, but it was more than what was delivered. I felt it ragged on the lack of operational guidelines instead of describing the action. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Moominboy | 5/30/2012

    " How it is to be working in Iraq as a Private Military Contractor. Not all of them are blood-thirsty morons, apparently. Another book that proves that the world isn't black and white. They are doing a soldiers' job except without any protection or recognition, but also without oversight. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kyote4me | 10/30/2011

    " One astute reviewer compared this book to Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air," and I feel that this is a just comparison. I agree with many of the 4-5 star reviewers' comments. It certainly made me cry. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Atsushi Takemoto | 9/8/2011

    " like this better than "Hurt Locker" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kaboose | 6/23/2011

    " Even if I've read the book in romanian, it captured my attention just by reading the title. The book focuses more on the people and events rather then on actual warfare, with a big twist in the middle. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dawn | 5/30/2011

    " This is a subject that is very important and will need to be covered in great depth. Unfortunately, this isn't the book to do it. It touches on the huge issues of "private security" in Iraq, but doesn't go very far or deep in any of them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric Arndt | 9/19/2010

    " This was an awesome look at a side of the war most people don't know about. I can't believe some of the stuff that these private security contractors were allowed to do without repercussions! It's pretty scary what our government has allowed to happen in Iraq. Totally messed up! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric | 9/13/2010

    " This was an awesome look at a side of the war most people don't know about. I can't believe some of the stuff that these private security contractors were allowed to do without repercussions! It's pretty scary what our government has allowed to happen in Iraq. Totally messed up! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth | 8/18/2010

    " Interesting story about the contractor's in Iraq. Pretty sad all the way around. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Atsushi | 7/21/2010

    " like this better than "Hurt Locker" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Moominboy | 3/24/2010

    " How it is to be working in Iraq as a Private Military Contractor. Not all of them are blood-thirsty morons, apparently. Another book that proves that the world isn't black and white. They are doing a soldiers' job except without any protection or recognition, but also without oversight. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tree | 9/12/2009

    " Gritty, down to earth inside look behind the secret war going on in Iraq. The book almost absentmindedly touches on Blackwater - probably just added a chapter or two towards the end when it hit the news, but great story about the Crescent Security employees, their kidnapping, and their families. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beau | 4/16/2009

    " A really well done look inside the world of private contractors and the military. Very good reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 12/31/2008

    "
    Please read this book, even if you never read non-fiction, or treat reading strictly as pure escapism. It is an incredible document of the unrepentant sadness brought about by the war in Iraq. One of the few books I've ever read that has moved me to tears. "

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About the Author

Steve Fainaru is an investigative reporter for ESPN. While covering the Iraq war for the Washington Post, he received the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for his investigation into the US military’s reliance on private security contractors. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and son.

About the Narrator

Patrick Lawlor, an AudioFile Earphones Award winner and Audie Award finalist, is also an accomplished stage actor, director, and combat choreographer. He has worked extensively off Broadway and has been an actor and stuntman in both film and television.