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Extended Audio Sample Big Boy Rules: America’s Mercenaries Fighting in Iraq, by Steve Fainaru, Patrick Lawlor 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, Patrick Lawlor Narrator: Patrick Lawlor Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 US 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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